‘Der Ring des Nibelungen’ by Richard Wagner (TMR 47)

Even a foreign invasion couldn’t stop this recording

J.P. Williams
2 min readJun 7, 2023
German composer Richard Wagner with his daughter Eva, 1867. Author unknown. Public domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

One recording of Richard Wagner’s tetralogy of music-dramas Der Ring des Nibelungen (composed 1848–1874) was a “small miracle,” according to liner notes by Kurt Malisch. During recording sessions in Nuremberg in 1968, the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia, causing members of the Czech Philharmonic to rush home before borders closed. When absences were noted, the producers turned to members of local orchestras, and somehow, under the direction of Hans Swarowsky and with singers doubling roles, they pulled it off. The result eventually found its way into the world as a 14-CD¹ budget collection from Profil in 2013. The sound is clear and intimate with enhancive acoustical idiosyncrasies such as the extra blast in the tubas in scene three of The Rhinegold. Sure, I have Ring releases with bigger names, but this is one of my favorites.

[1] Yes, I did listen to all 14 discs just for this review.

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