German musician Joachim Witt counts among the few survivors of the German New Wave that dominated the airwaves in the early '80s: After years of struggling to regain the popularity he found with his hit single "Goldener Reiter" (Golden Rider), he managed to launch a serious comeback in the second half of the '90s with his album Bayreuth 1 and a single called "Die Flut" (The Flood), whose Wagnerian pomp-meets-heavy-guitars aesthetic fit into the Neue Deutsche Härte (new German heaviness) trend spearheaded by Rammstein. …
Joachim Witt became a major star of the German pop scene during the eighties with huge hits such as "Der Goldene Reiter". He was one of the biggest names of the "Neue Deutsche Welle" (New German Wave), of which performers like Nena and Falco were also a part. He made a big comeback at the end of the nineties, when he scored a major hit with "Die Flut", a duet with Peter Heppner, the singer of popular German synth pop group Wolfsheim. Witt's album "Bayreuth 1" (1998) scored platinum in Germany and Austria. "Bayreuth 2" followed two years later. He has collaborated with such artists as Apocalyptica, Oomph!, Angelzoom, Tilo Wolff of Lacrimosa and just recently, German Electropop group Purwien as well.
The first release of the first stereo recording of the work, the historical importance of this set of Wagner's Siegfried is undeniable. Recorded by Decca at the 1955 Bayreuth Festival, this performance directed by Joseph Keilberth was to have been issued as part of the first complete Ring cycle. But persuaded that only a studio recording could do the work justice, Decca decided to shelve Keilberth's performance, a decision that led to Georg Solti recording Siegfried with the Vienna Philharmonic and ultimately to the release of a Ring cycle that many still regard as the finest ever recorded. But aside from its inherent historical value, what's its aesthetic value? While much better than average, Keilberth's Siegfried doesn't challenge the established order.
This recording of a live performance of MEISTERSINGER from Bayreuth 1957 definitely merits five stars. For those of you who don't already know this, Gustav Neidlinger (PeaceBeUponHim) was the undisputed master of Wagner's "howling-and-spitting" villain roles, Alberich and Klingsor, from the early 1950s until the mid 1970s. He sang with unmatched sulfur, cannon-ball density, huge volume, dark tone, and powerful dramatic interpretation. He sang more spontaneously and from-the-gut than most singers. He was the first of his generation to sing these roles with musical line and connected legato, rather than as a series of isolated shouts, grunts, and bellowings. He was typecast for these villainous roles as soon as he set foot on the stage, and almost never performed as a good-guy.