The bleeding edge of the 1957 Kempe Ring
After a missed visit by the UPS carrier and a late-evening visit to the local UPS facility, I have the Testament release of Rudolf Kempe's 1957 Covent Garden Ring. I have a final tomorrow in my criminal law class, so I really don't have the time or the inclination to sink my teeth deeply into this set.
My first impressions, however, are that this isn't a bad set. The 1957-vintage mono sound isn't terrible. Indeed, it sounds marginally better than the Orfeo release of Knappertsbusch's 1956 Bayreuth Ring. It's reasonably detailed and clear, though there is some hiss, so if that bothers you, then you really should consider something else.
The vocal and orchestral contributions? They definitely sound like a Golden Age cast and an orchestra directed by Rudolf Kempe. I don't know too much about the staging for the performances whence this set comes, so some of the balance issues remain mysterious to me. Not having Kempe's Rheingold excerpts from Les Introuvables du Ring, I cannot make much of a comparison, but if this set spurs some interest, maybe EMI will put that back out (much like they did with the Hotter/Nilsson/L.Ludwig Walküre scenes).
More as I have the time to develop it.