Listen to a Sample:
Herbert von Karajan’s approach to Wagner has always been controversial, but this early performance finds him in vigorous shape. His approach is not as probing or detailed as it would become later in his career, but it also is mostly free of bombast and self-indulgence. His cast is lead by Bernd Aldenhoff, a stalwart, not particularly introspective Siegfried, who delivers powerfully throughout, though he is occasionally taking wild swings at pitch. Sigurd Björling sounds truly as old and powerful as the mountains as a beaten-down Wotan, and Astrid Varnay arises to greet the sun in fine voice. I appreciate Paul Kuen’s attempts to actually sing, rather than cackle, the role of Mime, but do not find myself churlish to wonder how much better his performance would be if he was not constantly sharp. The sound is Monaural but very clear.