"Because these recordings are not only good for their time, but will be listened to as long as Wagner is loved, only the best transfers will do; so it is essential to get the Naxos for the Siegfried Idyll."
"This generously filled, artistically rewarding and historically fascinating disc contains all German conductor Karl Muck's electrical commercial Wagner recordings (1927-1929). Producer/restorer Mark Obert-Thorn has done a magnificent job transferring the music to CD with minimal surface noise and surprising clarity. There is enough depth and detail in the sonic image to give us an excellent appreciation of the pre-Furtw„ngler tradition of Wagner interpretation that held sway in Wilhelmine Germany from the Franco-Prussian War to WW II.
The orchestral playing combines Prussian earnestness and grandeur with instrumental luxuriousness. Spiritual pride takes the place of sentiment, and there is no trace of lasciviousness or neurosis. Even after 70 years it is clear that the Berlin State Opera Orchestra was a stunningly disciplined group with top-notch talent (magical strings in the Siegfried Idyll, etc.). The results are exhilarating, a must for any Wagner enthusiast."
"The work of transfer engineer Mark Obert-Thorn on these ancient recordings is nothing short of miraculous. This sound here is akin to circa 1950 mono, and the performances have a spaciousness, structural integrity, and nobility that elevate them above the routine. Muck occupies an interpretive place midway between the emotional and spiritual generosity of a Furtwangler and the intensity of a Toscanini; these are straightforward, stylish readings enlivened with little personal touches that bring the music to life. Here's a rare chance to hear Wagner from a conductor who grew up when this music was excitingly new."