Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra

Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen

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AllMusic Review by James Leonard

Although not the most controversial of postwar Bayreuth Rings -- Georg Solti and Peter Hall's retro-Romantic Ring with naked Rhine maidens wins that prize -- Pierre Boulez and Patrice Chéreau's post-industrial revolution Ring as metaphor for the decline and fall of capitalism is certainly the second most controversial postwar Bayreuth Ring. But more controversial than Chéreau's dramatic conception was Boulez's musical execution. With startlingly clear textures, spectacularly bright colors, and stunningly light tempos, Boulez' obtains a Wagner sound like no other. And for those with ears to hear, it works. Wagner's music doesn't have to be murky to be metaphysical or massive to be overwhelmingly moving and Boulez gets playing from the too-often turgid Bayreuth Festival Orchestra that makes the music crackle and blaze with musical and dramatic meaning. But perhaps most surprisingly, the best thing about this Ring is the singing, or, rather, the singing-acting. From Donald McIntyre's bigger than life but deeply human Wotan to Gwyneth Jones heartbreakingly beautiful Brünnhilde, the leads are magnificently convincing both as singers and as actors. And while Peter Hoffmann's Siegmund and Manfred Jung's Siegfried were less well received at the time, their performances, while perhaps too earnest, are still quite effective in their roles. Philips' 1981 sound is very live -- much of the stage action is plainly audible -- but this only adds to the verisimilitude of the recording. While not for everybody, the Boulez Ring has to be heard by anyone who loves the work.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Das Rheingold (The Rhine Gold), opera, WWV 86a
1 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:57 Amazon
2 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:27 Amazon
3 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:00 Amazon
4 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:16 Amazon
5 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:59 Amazon
6 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 01:50 Amazon
7 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:48 Amazon
8 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:03 Amazon
9 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:56 Amazon
10 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 07:06 Amazon
11 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 01:44 Amazon
12 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:44 Amazon
13 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:51 Amazon
14 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 04:29 Amazon
15 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 04:50 Amazon
16 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:04 Amazon
17 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 01:47 Amazon
18 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 04:10 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Das Rheingold (The Rhine Gold), opera, WWV 86a
1 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:52 Amazon
2 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:38 Amazon
3 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 04:41 Amazon
4 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 04:59 Amazon
5 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:16 Amazon
6 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:40 Amazon
7 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:34 Amazon
8 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:26 Amazon
9 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 04:24 Amazon
10 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 04:13 Amazon
11 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:48 Amazon
12 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:44 Amazon
13 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:17 Amazon
14 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:28 Amazon
15 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:12 Amazon
16 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:25 Amazon
17 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:42 Amazon
18 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:22 Amazon
19 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 04:44 Amazon
20 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:25 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), opera, WWV 86b
1 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:32 Amazon
2 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:40 Amazon
3 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 09:06 Amazon
4 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 04:44 Amazon
5 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:52 Amazon
6 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:49 Amazon
7 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:15 Amazon
8 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 06:47 Amazon
9 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:24 Amazon
10 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 09:32 Amazon
11 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:18 Amazon
12 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 04:35 Amazon
13 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:21 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 6

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Siegfried, opera, WWV 86c
1 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:51 Amazon
2 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:43 Amazon
3 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:33 Amazon
4 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 04:39 Amazon
5 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:00 Amazon
6 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:45 Amazon
7 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:40 Amazon
8 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:12 Amazon
9 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:33 Amazon
10 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:31 Amazon
11 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:03 Amazon
12 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:11 Amazon
13 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 01:56 Amazon
14 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 04:06 Amazon
15 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 04:45 Amazon
16 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:19 Amazon
17 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 07:11 Amazon
18 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:02 Amazon
19 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:52 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 7

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Siegfried, opera, WWV 86c
1 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:35 Amazon
2 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:13 Amazon
3 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 06:14 Amazon
4 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:12 Amazon
5 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:54 Amazon
6 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:41 Amazon
7 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:33 Amazon
8 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 01:27 Amazon
9 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:44 Amazon
10 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:16 Amazon
11 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:08 Amazon
12 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 01:40 Amazon
13 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:22 Amazon
14 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:23 Amazon
15 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:09 Amazon
16 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 04:57 Amazon
17 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:04 Amazon
18 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:51 Amazon
19 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 06:35 Amazon
20 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 04:00 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 8

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Siegfried, opera, WWV 86c
1 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:07 Amazon
2 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:02 Amazon
3 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 09:47 Amazon
4 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:28 Amazon
5 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 00:59 Amazon
6 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:36 Amazon
7 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:35 Amazon
8 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:48 Amazon
9 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:05 Amazon
10 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:51 Amazon
11 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 06:42 Amazon
12 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:25 Amazon
13 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:58 Amazon
14 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 07:55 Amazon
15 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 11:15 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 11

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Die Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), opera, WWV 86d
1 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:03 Amazon
2 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 07:42 Amazon
3 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 01:54 Amazon
4 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 04:36 Amazon
5 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 08:27 Amazon
6 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 00:59 Amazon
7 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:30 Amazon
8 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:16 Amazon
9 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 06:57 Amazon
10 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 07:25 Amazon
11 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 07:32 Amazon
12 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:51 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 12

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Die Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), opera, WWV 86d
1 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 06:47 Amazon
2 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 06:04 Amazon
3 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 05:44 Amazon
4 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 04:05 Amazon
5 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:21 Amazon
6 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 08:48 Amazon
7 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:23 Amazon
8 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 06:21 Amazon
9 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 07:06 Amazon
10 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:11 Amazon
11 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 08:17 Amazon
12 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 03:49 Amazon
13 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 02:05 Amazon
14 Pierre Boulez / Bayreuth Festival Orchestra 04:00 Amazon
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