Wagner Heroes
McCracken; Goerne; Krause; King; Schöffler
Catalogue No.

This is a 50-year retrospective (1950–2000) of great Wagner singing on Decca and Deutsche Grammophon featuring twelve extracts from eight operas (including all four operas of the ‘Ring’ cycle) with nine great singers. Wagner’s knowledge of heroes derived from two sources: the myths of ancient Greece and the sagas and poetry of northern Europe. In both traditions, heroes possess god-like attributes which set them apart from non-heroic mortals and reinforce the view that they are superhuman. They often have gods as parents or grandparents. But Wagner humanises his heroes, most notably Siegmund (sung inimitably by Jon Vickers in the legendary Decca recording of ‘Die Walküre’ with Erich Leinsdorf) and the naïve Siegfried (with Wolfgang Windgassen singing both the ‘Siegfried’ and ‘Götterdämmerung’ Siegfrieds). Other great heldentenors represented on this collection include James King and James McCracken. Celebrated bass-baritones are also represented here: Paul Schöffler (singing Wotan’s Farewell from a rare 1950 recording), Ernst Haefliger (as the Dutchman) and most recently, Matthias Goerne (Wolfram). The insightful notes are provided by Wagner scholar Peter Bassett and a photo gallery of the singers is also included.


Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg:
Morgenlich leuchtend im rosigen Schein

Hör’ an, Wolfram! … Inbrunst im Herzen
James McCracken

Blick’ ich umher
Matthias Goerne

Wie Todesahnung … O du, mein holder Abendstern

Der fliegende Holländer:
Die Frist ist um
Tom Krause

Der fliegende Holländer:
Mit Gewitter und Sturm
Ernst Haefliger

Allmächt’ger Vater
James King

Das Rheingold:
Abendlich strahlt der Sonne Auge
David Ward

Notung! Notung! Neidliches Schwert

Brünnhilde, heilige Braut!
Wolfgang Windgassen

Die Walküre:
Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond
Jon Vickers

Leb’ wohl, du kühnes, herrliches Kind!
Paul Schöffler

Dietfried Bernet
Ferenc Fricsay
Reginald Goodall
Manfred Honeck

Erich Leinsdorf
Ferdinand Leitner
Leopold Ludwig
Rudolf Moralt
Argeo Quadri

Recording information

Recording Producers: John Mordler (James McCracken); Michael Haas (Matthias Goerne); Christopher Raeburn (Tom Krause, David Ward); Wolfgang Lohse (Ernst Haefliger); unknown (James King); Heinz Reinicke (Wolfgang Windgassen); Erik Smith (Jon Vickers); Victor Olof (Paul Schöffler)
Balance Engineers: James Lock, Colin Moorfoot (James McCracken); Philip Siney (Matthias Goerne); James Lock (Tom Krause); Heinrich Keilholz, Alfred Steinke (Ernst Haefliger); Gordon Parry, James Lock (James King); Kenneth Wilkinson (David Ward, Jon Vickers); Harald Baudis (Wolfgang Windgassen); Cyril Windebank (Paul Schöffler)
Recording Locations: Sofiensaal, Vienna, Austria, 20–23 April 1965 (James McCracken), 15–16, 18–19 May 1967 (Tom Krause), April 1966/March 1967 (James King); Berwaldhallen, Stockholm, Sweden, 2–9 May 2000 (Matthias Goerne); Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany, 24 October 1952 (Ernst Haefliger); Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 26–27 February 1968 (David Ward); Residenzsaal, Munich, Germany, 11 February 1956 (Wolfgang Windgassen); Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London, UK, September 1961 (Jon Vickers); Groβer Saal, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria, 14–15 September 1950 (Paul Schöffler)