Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen / Solti

Release Date: 6/9/2015
Label: Decca
Catalog Number: B002330102
Composer: Richard Wagner
Conductor: Sir Georg Solti
Number of Discs: 17

Physical Format:

CD
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Notes and Editorial Reviews
Solti's Ring remastered is also available on one Blu-ray Audio disc with complete libretto

This set includes Wagner's Ring Cycle on 14 CDs plus Deryck Cooke's An Introduction to Der Ring Des Nibelungen on CDs 15 & 16, a booklet with introductions to each opera by producer John Culshaw along with synopses and session photographs, and a CD-ROM of the complete libretto.

Decca’s landmark recording of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen is the most celebrated classical recording in history. The combination of Sir Georg Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic with an international cast of the greatest Wagnerian singers resulted in the definitive recording. Now presented in a 17-disc box in the definitive high-bit-depth transfer at a very affordable price.

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Robert Levine already reviewed the super-duper uber-deluxe Solti Ring box, with so much extra stuff in it that the performance of the actual opera was almost beside the point. For many listeners, this set will be preferable, not least because it contains the remastered, best-sounding edition of the recording and only costs about $40. You still get plenty of bonus material nonetheless. There’s a nice booklet with notes to each opera by producer John Culshaw, two discs containing Deryck Cooke’s excellent analysis of Wagner’s Leitmotiv system with musical examples, and a CD-ROM with English and French translations of the librettos plus the actual musical examples from Cooke’s talk (alongside a transcript of same).

In short, this is all the Ring that most people will ever need. I can only second Bob’s recommendation of the performance as the reference recording. There may be other versions as well or better sung, especially those live Bayreuth sets from the 1950s. In stereo, I personally retain a preference for Böhm’s recording for his scorcher of a Walküre. You still get Birgit Nilsson’s Brünnhilde, but Leonie Rysanek’s Sieglinde was an iconic role (remember “The Scream?”) and Böhm’s conducting is simply as exciting as hell–even if the Bayreuth orchestra sounds a touch screechy at times. But this is all very much a question of personal taste. For the total package: great singing, playing, sonics, and yes, conducting; Solti’s still the standard, and the packaging is a bargain.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
1. Der Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Wagner
Performer: Wolfgang Windgassen (Tenor), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Baritone), Hans Hotter (Baritone), Birgit Nilsson (Soprano), Kirsten Flagstad (Soprano)
Conductor: Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1853-1874 ; Germany
2. Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner
Performer: Jean Madeira (Mezzo Soprano), Hetty Plümacher (Alto), Ira Malaniuk (Alto), Waldemar Kmentt (Tenor), Gustav Neidlinger (Bass Baritone), George London (Bass Baritone), Eberhard Wächter (Baritone), Kirsten Flagstad (Soprano), Claire Watson (Soprano), Oda Balsborg (Soprano), Kurt Böhme (Bass), Walter Kreppel (Bass), Paul Kuen (Tenor), Set Svanholm (Tenor)
Conductor: Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1854 ; Germany
3. Siegfried by Richard Wagner
Performer: Wolfgang Windgassen (Tenor), Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Hans Hotter (Baritone), Birgit Nilsson (Soprano), Gerhard Stolze (Tenor), Kurt Böhme (Bass), Gustav Neidlinger (Bass Baritone), Marga Höffgen (Alto)
Conductor: Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1871 ; Germany
4. Götterdämmerung by Richard Wagner
Performer: Helen Watts (Alto), Birgit Nilsson (Soprano), Lucia Popp (Soprano), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano), Gustav Neidlinger (Bass Baritone), Dame Gwyneth Jones (Soprano), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Baritone), Anita Välkki (Soprano), Claire Watson (Soprano), Wolfgang Windgassen (Tenor), Gottlob Frick (Bass), Maureen Guy (Mezzo Soprano), Grace Hoffman (Alto)
Conductor: Sir Georg Solti
Period: Romantic
Written: 1871-1874 ; Germany
5. Die Walküre by Richard Wagner
Performer: Helga Dernesch (Soprano), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano), Brigitte Fassbaender (Mezzo Soprano), Gottlob Frick (Bass), Vera Schlosser (Soprano), Berit Lindholm (Soprano), Marilyn Tyler (Soprano), Birgit Nilsson (Soprano), Hans Hotter (Baritone), James King (Tenor), Claudia Hellmann (Mezzo Soprano), Régine Crespin (Soprano), Vera Little (Alto), Helen Watts (Alto)
Conductor: Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1856 ; Germany
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