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April 19 , 2008

Ring Resounding

The Recording of Der Ring Des Nibelungen


Nothing in the history of recording approaches Decca’s mammoth venture in producing Wagner’s Ring complete for the first time. It was eight years in the making and this book tells the story of how it was made and the people who made it, written by the man who – as the recording producer – was in charge of the whole project.

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Conducted by the great Georg Solti, Decca’s recording has been voted the best recording ever made. All the celebrated Wagner singers of their age take their places in the story, including Birgit Nilsson, Kirsten Flagstad, Hans Hotter, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Gottlob Frick and Wolfgang Windgassen. The recording was made in Vienna with the Viennese Philharmonic Orchestra, and Culshaw displayed extraordinary dedication to Wagner’s musical requirements and to putting into practice his own belief that a stereo recording could create a ‘theatre of the mind’.

This is the story of how the recording evolved, and how it frequently almost came to grief. More than that, it is the story of how a new medium – recorded opera in stereo – reached fulfilment, and how this ground-breaking recording became seen as the highly influential gold standard for the future.

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