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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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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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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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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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