Wagner - Parsifal (Bayreuth 1953 Live)
Krauss’s Parsifal is another memorable interpretation, on a par with though different from Knappertsbusch in 1951 (now on Naxos). Krauss’s reading is one of the quickest in the Bayreuth annals, but that very pace gives the piece a direct vigour and dramatic consistency not always heard in his coeval’s deeply considered, reverential reading. Krauss imparts a wonderful feeling for the particular texture and tempo needed for each scene, culminating in the cleansing, sustained ecstasy of the work’s close.
Four principals are common to both sets. Ludwig Weber, as Gurnemanz, sings with even more rotund tone and with increased involvement. George London repeats his anguished, strongly voiced Amfortas. Martha Mödl’s Kundry’s individually accented Kundry remains unique, although Waltraud Meier, in more recent performances, is almost her equal, and Uhde is unsurpassed as Klingsor. With Wind- gassen singing Siegfried, Vinay took over from him in the title part and gives a typically expressive performance.
He, Mödl and Uhde make the whole of Act 2 as vivid as any. Greindl is a suitably sonorous Titurel. Throughout chorus and orchestra perform with dedication – try the Act 1 transformation and the succeeding choruses. Altogether this is a traversal of the score among the most satisfying on CD.
Parsifal by Richard Wagner
Performer: Hermann Uhde (Baritone), Eugene Tobin (Tenor), Theo Adam (Bass Baritone),
Rita Streich (Soprano), Ludwig Weber (Bass), Josef Greindl (Bass),
Ramon Vinay (Tenor), Martha Mödl (Soprano), George London (Bass),
Hermann Uhde (Bass Baritone), George London (Bass Baritone), Martha Mödl (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor: Clemens Krauss
Orchestra/Ensemble: Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, Bayreuth Festival Chorus
Written: 1877-1882; Germany
Date of Recording: 1953
Venue: Live Bayreuth
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