Philips 835220/24 AY
Wagner: „Parsifal“ – Jess Thomas, George London, Martti Talvela, Hans Hotter, Irene Dalis, Gustav Neidlinger and other soloists, Chorus and Orchestra of the Bayreuth Festival conducted by Hans Knappertsbusch
Dielo sa musí v každom predvedení znovuzrodiť. — Dejiny Umenia, TN
By the end of the evening, anyone who has sat on the hard chairs in Bayreuth to be immersed in Wagner’s surging waves knows that this hardship has been well worth it. The special acoustics of the Festspielhaus (for the building of which Wagner bled the Bavarian King Ludwig II like the Knights of the Grail bled Amfortas) are not purely a delight for pilgrims to the Grüner Hügel: record collectors will instantly recognise why music recorded in Bayreuth is not simply labelled ‚Live Recording‘ but presented as an ‚Original Recording‘.
And indeed, the artistic excellence of the present „Parsifal“ also contributes to the myths surrounding the Festival. Jess Thomas portrays the title role ideally, singing with an intense, heroic sound and clear articulation. George London, who personally suffered tragedy, creates a monument for himself as the wounded Amfortas, while Hans Hotter sings with the powerful baritone of an erudite but by no means antiquated Gurnemanz.
No less legendary is Hans Knappertsbusch’s musical direction: a ‚high priest‘ of slower tempos, his conducting was miraculously never felt to be sluggish. Gurnemanz’s mystic words „Zum Raum wird hier die Zeit“ (Time here becomes space) take on a programmatic meaning for both the music and sound of this recording.
Recording: July and August 1962 at Festspielhaus Bayreuth, Germany, by Volker Straus
Production: Hans Lauterslager