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  • Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Ring Cycle)
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Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Ring Cycle) Box set


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Audio CD, Box set, October 14, 1997
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$121.00
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Frequently Bought Together

Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Ring Cycle) + Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung + Introduction to Der Ring Des Nibelungen
Price for all three: $164.19

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Product Details

  • Performer: Vienna State Opera Choir, Kirsten Flagstad, Paul Kuen, George London, Jean Madeira, et al.
  • Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Sir Georg Solti
  • Audio CD (October 14, 1997)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 14
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0000042H4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,893 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Originally intended by London to celebrate Sir Georg Solti's 85th birthday, this new release of Solti's complete Ring Cycle at mid-price is an eloquent eulogy to his greatness. Solti was the first to record the entire Ring Cycle, and even now, three decades after, it remains the standard by which all others are judged. Birgit Nilsson, Kirsten Flagstad and a young Joan Sutherland star. $167.00 list price.

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Modern storage media (CD/DVD) offer both high fidelity and great reliability in the playback of music. Yet only a bit more than a generation ago, the possibilities inherent in the long-playing record inspired John Culshaw, a young producer for Decca, to attempt the most ambitious recording project ever contemplated up to that time--a complete studio recording of the Ring. Though other Rings were issued after this landmark enterprise, none have equaled the Decca Ring in popularity. There are those who prefer live performances, or who feel that the sound and theatrical effects in this recording are overdone; nonetheless this remains the benchmark Ring, as shown by its seemingly endless rerelease schedule. The Ring effort was high profile at the time and helped nail down Sir Georg Solti's status as a "superstar" conductor and authoritative interpreter of the Wagnerian repertory. Another key contributor to the success of the project was the uniform excellence in the casting. Definitive performances given include Neidlinger's nietzschean Alberich, Stolze's whining Mime, Boehme's rumbling Fafnir, along with Nilsson in her prime-more a force of nature than a human voice. The care lavished on the capture of the music was unmatched at the time of the recording, and still leaves this as one of the best sounding Rings even today, when the oldest part (Rheingold) has reached its 40th anniversary. --Christian C. Rix

Customer Reviews

For being the first complete recording of The Ring in history, it still holds it's place as the best cycle one can buy.
Jon Brodersen
Nienstedt and Burmeister are not on the level of the Hunding or Fricka for Solti or Karajan, but Nilsson's Brunnhilde and Adam's great Wotan make up for that.
person
I have read much about Wagner's desire to fuse music and drama in a way that is completely organic, and feel very sympathetic to it.
Michael Paull

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

223 of 233 people found the following review helpful By Stephen McLeod on May 28, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I have three complete RINGs on CD, this one and two live recordings from Bayreuth (Bohm '67 and Clemens Kraus '53). I also have two complete RINGS on laser disc, both from Bayreuth (the Chereau and Kupfer productions) and one on VHS (Met-Levine). One day I'm sure I'll have more. Since I have only heard bits of what appears to be this set's main competition (Karajan), I can't make a reliable comparison. Also, insofar as this review compares sets, it does just that. I take no position here as to whether one might mix and match. That said, if I had to choose a Desert Island RING, I'd choose this one for a number of reasons. (If anyone wants to donate their Karajan set, my email is on my profile page...)
The foremost reason is the quality of the singing. For my money, there is not a cast that is more consistently thrilling. I'm not saying that different choices could have been made in some of the series (e.g., for all its sentimental and historical value, Fricka was not Flagstad's greatest role, nor was Flagstad the perfect Fricka). It's just that, on the whole, the principles, are the best ensemble on record, and, especially in Gotterdammerung, sang better here than on practically anything else they ever recorded.
Nilsson is... well, not only is she one of the two or three greatest dramatic sopranos on record, she is so clearly focused here, so thoroughly transcendent. Hers was a voice that was entirely convincing as a god-become-mortal. Windgassen is the finest Siegfried on stereo - and his silky, lyrical, yet completely heroic tenor is better than any other recorded Siegfried, and maybe better than anything else even *he* ever recorded.
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90 of 94 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on August 17, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Ever since the reopening of the Bayreuth Festival in 1951, the operatic world has been blessed with many Ring recordings that are brimming with life and searing in interpretation. The work is certainly the most ambitious and fascinating musical epic ever set on paper, and due to its intricate music and magnificent and poetic text, it has influenced the way music making has been done ever since the Master presented it to the world in 1876. Now, 130 years after that first Ring cycle, the market abounds with hordes of Ring recordings raging from magnificent to deplorable, and with the cost of having to contain such a grand epic in recordable media for the listener to enjoy at home, the pricetags for these Rings are always going to be astounding.

A Ring cycle in the recording studio, of course, is no longer a foreseeable possibility today. The recent Tristan by EMI alone took a good month in the recoring studio, and with the increasingly high wages in the musician's union and the expensive fees needed to pay competent and artistic Wagnerian singers, another Ring in the studio would probably be a Herculean task at best. And, to add to that, the world is sorely lackiing of hochdramatische sopranos, true heldentenors, and great bass-baritones to sing the parts of the cycle's most difficult roles--Brunnhilde, Siegfried, and Wotan. The dearth of these species of voices, plus the scarcity of conductors who can masterfully lead an orchestra into playing one of the most complicated scores ever written in the true Wagnerian style, makes these matters more complicated. In my opinion, only Christian Thielemann can possibly execute this vision effectively today.
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 9, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I own a number of recordings of this work: this one, one conducted by Karajan, and a very bad recording with Flagstad from a live performance from La Scala. This one tops the list all the time. Though I enjoy the Karajan version, there are things he does which I think are completely wrong, even if they are tradition. Wagner wrote certain crudities into the score (like the steerhorns in Gotterdammerung) and hearing them played by the mellow and very musical trombones removes the ruggedness Wagner was looking for. Solti, on the other hand, tried to be faithful to Wagner, even by using the crude and unmusical steerhorns. The result was electrifying. One of the things that make this RING better than most all other version is the fact it was recorded not to make music, but to make drama. Other recordings are faithful to the music, but the real drama is lost.
Some critics disapprove of some of the "sound affects" that were used in this recording. True, hitting a piece of railroad track with a hammer to give us the impressive sound of Donner's hammer in Das Rhinegold may be over the top, but it adds super great theatre to the work, and I think it is what Wagner would have approved of, since we were meant to hear that hammer (and after all, it is the hammer of a god, shouldn't it have more of a ring than a mortal blow would?).
The sound affects while Siegfried is forging his sword only add to the tension of the scene. We are not just hearing great singing, we are hearing great drama. All the forging sounds are written into the score (Wagner even indicates where large heavy hammers are to hit the anvil, and when small ones are) and for once we actually hear them clearly. In performance, they usually fade into nothing.
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