Wagner: Die Walküre (Excerpts) - Välkki, Robinson, Watson, Kozub; Solti. London, 1964
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This recording presents a tantalizing glimpse of some artists who despite their brilliance, never gained entry to the elite group of singers who dominated the recording studios in the 1960s. Anita Välkki, as Brünnhilde, at first comes across a little monochromatic, but she warms up as the evening proceeds culminating in an impassioned plea to Wotan to spare her the humiliation of being at the mercy of any normal man who may happen upon her. Ernst Kozub was steps away from being the Siegfried on Solti’s legendary Ring Cycle. Sadly this never came to pass. He is heard to brilliant effect in a few brief excerpts from Act I of Die Walküre. Claire Watson offers a tantalizing glimpse of her Sieglinde and is particularly radiant during her “O hehrste Wunder” outburst in Act III. The real revelation is the Wotan of Forbes Robinson. Robinson’s career never really made it past the confines of the English channel, but he managed to make himself indispensable in many bass roles at Covent Garden. My sense was that the tessitura of Wotan could possibly stretch him too far, but he proved me wrong, delivering a Wotan that has a profundo quality as well as complete vocal security. Georg Solti paces the performance well creating moments that are sensitive and transparent as well as intense and impassioned. The assortment of Valkyries assembled for this performance is likely one of the most glittering ever captured on recording, including Marie Collier, Gwyneth Jones and Josephine Veasey. The sound is very good although there is some initial static at the beginning of the Act III portion.