Mastodon New remastering of Keilberth's stereo Flying Dutchman 1955, Bayreuth - The Wagnerian

New remastering of Keilberth's stereo Flying Dutchman 1955, Bayreuth

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday 17 June 2011 | 9:20:00 pm

This is a "press release" and thus I cannot vouch for it's accuracy. However, I will say that I have the Testament release and have played that against the sample given here just a few minutes ago: The new remastered Pristine Classical certainly - to my dull old none audiophile ears (I heard my first ring cycle on Medium Wave and I still enjoy mono recordings) - sounds much "brighter" and "cleaner" than the Testament release,  but download the sample and check for yourself. And if you are naturally suspicious of downloading,  you can go to the website and listen to the sample there. It is certainly cheaper than the Testament and if you have not taken the plunge and bought this yet perhaps now is the time.  Anyway, if nothing else,  it's an excuse to revisit this performance.

New release today:

Keilberth's magnificent stereo Flying Dutchman

Brilliant, dramatic new stereo remastering of this 1955 Bayreuth classic

"Keilberth seemed on high in 1955 ... his reading moves with
electrifying concentration from scene to scene. Keilberth achieves a
greater unanimity of approach from his players and absolutely superb
singing from the chorus"  (The Gramophone, 2006)

WAGNER Der Fliegende Holl nder
Recorded 1955
Producer and Audio Restoration Engineer: Andrew Rose

Astrid Varnay - Senta
Hermann Uhde - The Dutchman
Rudolf Lustig - Erik
Ludwig Weber - Daland
Elisabeth Sch rtel - Mary
Josef Traxel - The Steersman
Bayreuth Festival Chorus and Orchestra
Wilhelm Pitz - chorus master

Joseph Keilberth - conductor

Score and libretto included in all downloads

Web page:

Short Notes
Surely it was Keilberth's year at Bayreuth in 1955. Not only did he
produce one of the great Ring Cycles of all time, but also this classic
stereo recording of The Flying Dutchman.

We preferred the relatively rare 1970s stereo Decca LPs to the more
recent stereo CD issue, so took them as the starting point for this
dramatic and thrilling 32-bit XR remastering of Keilberth's live
triumph. The result is essential for any Wagner fan!

Notes on the transfers:

I came to transfer this recording almost by accident - I had taken
delivery of a new stereo LP replay cartridge and, having fitted it to my
tonearm, picked up the nearest stereo record to hand, which happened to
be the first disc of the three issued by Decca in the mid-1970s which
make up this recording. Having been duly astonished by the sound quality
I was hearing from the LP, I decided to record a short section for
comparison to the existing CD issue of the same recording, and found the
Decca LPs to be far more to my liking, with much more life to them than
the rather dead and flat (by comparison) 2006 CD transfer.

As a result I ended up transferring the entire opera from my near-mint
pressings and set about the minimal work required to remove occasional
clicks, before applying 32-bit XR remastering technology to the
transfer. This served to further enhance the already fabulous sound of
the LPs. Meanwhile a US correspondent and Wagner aficionado contacted me
to point out that the original mono LP issue of the recording had
included fanfares and theatre bells which were omitted from later
releases but added wonderfully to the atmosphere of a Bayreuth Festival
production. As a result these were provided by him, and have now been
added to the recording as it was originally released (this first track
now presented in Ambient Stereo), prior to the start of the full stereo

Andrew Rose

Review from 2006 CD reissue review
"Keilberth's 1955 Ring has received rave reviews - can his Dutchman be
as good? This enthralling performance has always been a highly
recommended version. Its stereo incarnation was available only briefly
on LP: when it was issued on CD by Teldec it appeared only in mono...
As with the Ring, Keilberth seemed on high in 1955; once again his
reading moves with electrifying concentration from scene to scene.
Keilberth had rehearsed Wolfgang Wagner's new production but
Knappertsbuch conducted the first three performances (you can hear how
different, more pawky his approach is from Keilberth's in various
reissues, none in stereo, taken from a Bavarian Radio broadcast).
Keilberth achieves a greater unanimity of approach from his players and
absolutely superb singing from the chorus (trained by the remarkable
Wilhelm Pitz). The orchestra, perhaps because they knew they were being
recorded, play their hearts out to create a fusion of notes and rhythm
that is really thrilling from start to finish.
The singers are no less inspired. Uhde gives a supreme interpretation of
the tortured, yearning Dutchman, on a par with that of Hans Hotter and
more evenly sung. His firm, compact, grainy tone is used with his
customary artistry to convey the character's longing for salvation,
total elation in the love duet, and desperation when he thinks Senta has
betrayed him. Phrase after phrase etches itself in the mind in this
unmissable portrayal. Incredibly Vamay, who was also Br nnhilde in 1955,
brings to Senta a tireless dedication and vision to match Uhde's hero.
She fines her large voice down to the more intimate needs of Senta, and
only once or twice do the most taxing passages, as her final outburst,
slightly strain her resources.
Ludwig Weber's earthy, experienced Daland is another rewarding
interpretation. Lustig, who took over Erik from Wmdgassen, makes rather
a throaty sound in the manner of earlier German Reldentenors, but he has
all the notes and conveys the character's understandable frustrations.
The Mary is admirable. All seem under the spell of the work and the
conductor in a reading that now has the stereo sound it so richly deserves."
Printed in Gramophone, October 2006 (slightly cut - read full review at

MP3 Sample Act 3 - Opening section: