Ring Resounding: The Recording of Der Ring Des Nibelungen

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Random House, Oct 18, 2012 - Music - 288 pages
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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.

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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About the author (2012)

John Culshaw joined Decca after the war as a studio assistant and went on to become recording manager and then musical director. He pioneered the use of stereo for recording opera, his aim being to involve the listener in the drama and so make the opera come alive. He produced over twenty operas after the advent of stereo.

John Culshaw was working on the last chapters of his autobiography, Putting the Record Straight, when he died, in 1980, from a rare form of hepatitis.

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