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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
https://www.soltiring.com/



Commemorating the 25th anniversary of Sir Georg Solti’s death (5 September), Decca Classics is proud to announce a new high-definition transfer of the original master tapes of his most celebrated recording: the first stereo studio production of Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle, twice voted “The greatest recording of all time”.

Recorded in Vienna between 1958 and 1965, and masterminded by Decca’s pioneering producer John Culshaw, this recording has always been regarded as the perfect marriage of art and technology and boasted a cast including Birgit Nilsson, Hans Hotter and Kirsten Flagstad. These new transfers of the 38 original stereo master tapes have been made at 24 bit/192kHz resolution, allowing greater detail and dynamic range than ever before. The transfers have allowed the original recording to be remastered for Dolby Atmos; the spatial audio technology which recreates a multi-dimensional experience true to Culshaw’s vision of a “theatre of the mind”.

Dominic Fyfe, Decca Classics Label Director and Audio Producer of this reissue, says: “Back in 1966 producer John Culshaw expressed the hope that this Ring would set a benchmark for years to come. Half a century later it is still the artistic and technical gold standard. Culshaw was above all an iconoclast and a visionary who rejoiced in new technology. I have no doubt he would approve of our efforts to utilise Dolby Atmos and the latest suite of remastering tools to make this new HD transfer the most immersive and vivid yet.”

The remastered Ring will be available in the most extensive suite ever of deluxe physical and digital products including:
• The first vinyl releases of the recording in 30 years. Half-speed mastered at Abbey Road Studios and pressed on 180g audiophile vinyl.
• The first international release of the recording on Hybrid SACDs, allowing listeners to hear the enhanced resolution of these new transfers and playable on all CD players
• The first and only complete Wagner Ring cycle available in Dolby Atmos

The physical products will be accompanied by lavish booklets including facsimiles of the original conductor and producer scores, rare session photographs, newly discovered curios and full libretti. The four operas of the Ring cycle will be released in instalments between November 2022 and May 2023, with The Golden Ring, a selection of the greatest scenes from the cycle, released on 30 September 2022.
 

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Didn’t Decca claim the master tapes were too deteriorated when they remastered the Solti Ring in 2012? Did they miraculously un-deteriorate?
I have the Blu-ray Audio version on 1 Blu-ray disc. The sound is fantastic. I don’t think I need more - unless they come out with a new Blu-ray with a vid of the libretto!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Didn’t Decca claim the master tapes were too deteriorated when they remastered the Solti Ring in 2012? Did they miraculously un-deteriorate?
I was wondering the same thing myself. Here is the blurb from the official website;
For this 2022 edition we have utilised a completely new set of high-definition 24bit/192kHz transfers of the original two-track stereo master tapes. Almost every tape box is marked “Edited & Passed: JC” where John Culshaw personally initialled each reel as passed for production. These transfers were made as part of Universal Music’s preservation project at the Arvato facility in Gütersloh, Germany. Overseen by Andrew Wedman, formerly of Emil Berliner Studios, the tapes were aligned and played on Studer A820 machines coupled with Weiss analogue to digital converters and a proprietary workstation to record the output.

Working with 38 reels of original mastertapes –some up to 65 years old and spanning seven years of recording–there were inevitably instances where some individual tapes needed edit repairs or suffered oxide shedding. Tapes in poor condition were baked for ten hours at 55°C to restore their integrity. The playback alignment was greatly helped by the fact that the first tape reel in each opera has an announcement from engineer James Brown or, in the case of Die Walküre Culshaw himself, with left/right identifiers and a series of tones to ensure the correct calibration of the tape head. Decca’s 1950s Ampex-designed AME noise reduction circuit –a precursor of the Dolby circuitry to reduce tape hiss –was not deployed such that we could use the very latest noise reduction software at the remastering stage.

The result is a set of HD transfers which are like photographic RAW files with little or no processing to create as pure a starting point as possible before remastering.

The Decca Ring has always been about the sound. Our endeavour with this new transfer of the original master tapes has been to do the best by Solti, by Culshaw and his chief engineer Gordon Parry, and ultimately by Wagner. “Here is the greatest achievement in gramophone history yet”, wrote Alec Robertson in Gramophone in 1965.

Now it is time to deliver Solti’s Ring to the new generation of Wagnerians and introduce this remastered recording in a sumptuous series of definitive editions.
 
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Hmmm. I'd like to know how they managed the Dolby Atmos rendering...could be interesting. Will the Valkyrie fly over my head? The Blu Ray is excellent, but an Atmos disk will be interesting.
 
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Just give us the FLAC files to download for a fee, please. Does anybody younger than 70 care about the pomp and circumstance of physical media anymore? "180g audiophile vinyl"... "lavish booklets"... they are pushing horse carriages when the world has moved on to automobiles. :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Funny how the marketing materials says "The first all-new transfer in over twenty-five years". That's like throwing their own previous remasters under the bus...
 

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Just give us the FLAC files to download for a fee, please. Does anybody younger than 70 care about the pomp and circumstance of physical media anymore? "180g audiophile vinyl"... "lavish booklets"... they are pushing horse carriages when the world has moved on to automobiles. :rolleyes:
I've seen bookstores selling pop music on vinyl. It's back in style now. Though I agree (CDs are fine, but no need for anything more exotic)... but I see no reason to shell out money for a new remastering of a recording I already have in good stereo sound.
 

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Just give us the FLAC files to download for a fee, please. Does anybody younger than 70 care about the pomp and circumstance of physical media anymore? "180g audiophile vinyl"... "lavish booklets"... they are pushing horse carriages when the world has moved on to automobiles. :rolleyes:
I'm increasingly sympathetic to this, somewhat to my surprise. Although I'm over 70 and retain an affection for physical media - and remember some LPs nostalgically - I've never had much affection for the CD. It was a great invention for saving space, but it rarely equals the aesthetic value of the LP, and the microscopic print of opera librettos is offputting at best. A desire to strip down my possessions in old age has prompted the shrinking of my CD collection, and I now listen to music largely online. A new edition of the Solti Ring will no doubt please a limited audience, and that's all any product needs to do. I won't be part of that audience,
 

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There's a certain point where you have to wonder if for most ears the difference is going to be audible or at least worth the expense.
Exactly. At the moment, I see no reason to buy this recording a fourth time. But I'll wait until I read reviews from someone reliable - if there really is a significant improvement, I might be willing to shell out for Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, the only two parts of this Ring that I ever listen to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
FYI, the highlights disc "The Golden Ring" can already be found on streaming services (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.), although it doesn't officially launch until Sep. 30th.
 

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My brain doesn't always work but I thought the Ring from Bayreuth with Varnay in the early 50's ( 53???) was the first stereo Ring. It was the first "something".
Presumably the first stereo one was the live performance conducted by Keilbetth that Culshaw’s Decca team recorded in Bayreuth in 1955 - Culshaw suppressed it because he wanted his studio Ring to succeed.

I think Testament finally issued it in the 2000s?
 

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Presumably the first stereo one was the live performance conducted by Keilbetth that Culshaw’s Decca team recorded in Bayreuth in 1955 - Culshaw suppressed it because he wanted his studio Ring to succeed.

I think Testament finally issued it in the 2000s?
Correct. It was issued in 2005 or 2006 (phonographic copyright 2006), fifty years after it was recorded. Peter Andry, one of the original producers for the project, wrote a note for the liner of Testament's release, which was pretty neat.
 

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I have read that Culshaw wanted to record a Ring. Therefore two Rings were recorded live in stereo. The sound quality was judged to be unsatisfactory. That is why it was decided to record a Ring in the studio after all.
 
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