Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen - Wiener Philharmo 4783702

. . . probably no other set in his career was so universally praised as his "Ring" . . . The Solti Ring is so remarkable, so sonically near-perfect, and so viscerally theatrical that it actually puts at least some of the completely staged video versions to shame . . . The care and finesse demonstrated in capturing these performances is nothing short of remarkable (as well evidenced by "The Golden Ring", the brilliant documentary about the recording of "Götterdämmerung" included on this release) . . . there's a purity of technique here that is nothing short of astounding . . . His conducting here is just unbelievably energetic and visceral; it fairly reaches out through the speakers and grabs the listener by the figurative throat, which is not to say that it isn't also gorgeously lyrical and tender when it needs to be . . . Luckily, some very, very wise people at Universal Music Group and Decca realized what an incredible asset they had with these Solti recordings and rather than take the easy (meaning cheap) way out, they have gone the distance to deliver a package that becomes a suitable "home" to what has repeatedly been called the greatest classical recording project of all time . . . The real revelation here is the lossless audio on the Blu-ray Disc . . . I was instantly transported into a fantastic sound world on this audio Blu-ray and found myself lost in a swirling stream of sonic color . . . There is simply no comparing the audio on this Blu-ray to any previous version. It is immaculately clear and precise, with brilliant reproduction through all registers and an astounding sense of clarity. Fidelity is nothing short of superb. The Vienna Philharmonic's commanding brass section is blisteringly represented here, but there's also an almost lascivious quality to the strings in these performances, and it all bursts out of the speakers with gorgeous fluidity and nuance . . . This is quite simply one of the handsomest and most remarkable box sets of classical music since the advent of recorded sound. Decca has done itself proud in memorializing one of its most legendary recording feats. Unlike many oversized box sets, this beautiful compilation deserves its size and it has no wasted material or swag at all. I can't imagine that classical music fans of all stripes won't want this gorgeous achievement in their permanent collections, even if they're not especially fond of "The Ring". A new standard has been set for what a product like this should be and contain. Highly recommended.

. . . a treasure trove . . .

Sir Georg Solti . . . had an extraordinary way of conducting and was an immaculate podium figure . . . the Solti legacy has its pearls . . .

. . . Wagner's mighty "Ring" cycle, performed with heart-stopping drama and power . . . this groundbreaking recording enshrines its own era . . . the result's exciting. "Rheingold" wholly belies its age; the famous effects of producer John Culshaw's soundstage -- the anvils, Donner's thunderclap -- are startlingly immediate, but it's the spacious orchestral textures and the clarity of the voices which are really impressive. "Siegfried" sounds just as good, and the later recordings, especially "Götterdämmerung", are as overwhelming as they were on LP. It's a superb restoration and a convenient new medium . . . All this looks attractive both to enthusiasts and newcomers -- a Wagner "Ring" cycle refreshed for a new generation.

Solti's greatest recording legacy . . .

This first studio-recorded Ring cycle has a special mystique: It caught old-guard singers while they were still good, captured the new generation, and had cameo appearances from superstars such as Kirsten Flagstad and Joan Sutherland -- all under Solti's excitingly nervous baton. The recordings still sound great.

. . . the best digital sound possible . . . [a] monumental achievement . . . it is to [Solti's] Ring that we ultimately turn for confirmation of his greatness. With the release of the high-resolution Blu-ray version, that assessment can be accomplished in greater depth than ever before . . . Solti was the first with the ability to marry musical vision with superior recording technology.

. . . [the set] should thrill the complete Wagnerite.

The unsurpassed quality of singers and orchestra, Solti's astonishing ability to tell a dramatic story in music, the epic scope and sweep of work and performance -- and the sound, as much a wonder for our own time as half a century ago -- make these recordings seem more precious, their combinations of qualities less likely to ever be repeated, with every passing year. This deluxe set . . . contains what Decca claims is the "definitive" edition of the recordings . . . But it contains much more . . . In short, it's everything the serious lover of this work and this recording could want, all in one place, beautifully organized and designed . . . all earlier digital editions suddenly sound muffled . . . This sort of audible improvement, repeated again and again, quickly became indistinguishable from a sense of increased mental space in which all of this glorious music and sound could be more capaciously entertained. Which enters the realm of the imponderable. What needs no pondering is whether or not this is the best sound yet for these historic recordings, or if this set is a fitting tribute to the late Georg Solti on the centennial of his birth. It is both . . . these performances deserve to be heard in the best possible sound. This set delivers it, and much more.

. . . now we hear them in audio better than ever, particularly the Blu Ray edition. Culshaw's imaginative special effects continue to astound, particularly the anvils and thunderbolt in Rheingold, to the delight of audiophiles . . . This is a magnificent set . . . If you are a serious collector, you MUST have this set. I'm sure you will display it proudly as the focal point of your library.

This is probably the most luxuriantly packaged CD album ever released . . . the greatest Wagnerian singers of their time . . . the overwhelming power of the climactic moments is undeniable . . . the prelude to "Das Rheingold" has never sounded like this on any other recording . . . Solti's magisterial approach at moderate tempos overwhelms the listener like no other performance I have ever heard . . . the Vienna Philharmonic is close to unbelievable. I have never heard brass, and especially French horns, play like this in any recording or live concert . . . intoxicating richness of the strings and harps . . . [Solti] captures the grandeur inherent in Wagner's music without dragging it out too far . . . there are probably no other recordings of the "Ring" with a cast that is significantly better than this one . . . [on the recording sound]: the CDs are clearly better than the previous versions . . . [an] impressive presentation . . . [an] excellent recording of Wagner overtures . . . The Blu-ray audio disc will be a treasure for audiophiles . . . I do consider the Solti "Ring" to be the greatest recording project of all time, so I would not be without this elaborate package for what is ultimately a very reasonable price.

With many years from which to choose there is only one recording which for me defines the industry's finest achievement -- the Decca/Solti "Ring" . . . this recording is, in my opinion, monumental.

. . . noch immer "die" Referenzeinspielung in Sachen "Ring", sowohl in künstlerischer wie auch in aufnahmetechnischer Hinsicht. Denn das DECCA-Team hat die damals noch junge Stereophonie optimal genutzt, um Wagners Vorstellungen vom Gesamtkunstwerk akustisch einzufangen . . . die Größe des Dirigenten wird nicht zuletzt daran deutlich, dass sich für den Hörer all die Puzzles zum homogenen Ganzen zusammenschließen -- der große Bogen stellt sich immer ein. Soltis rhythmisch prägnantes und von großer Impulsivität erfülltes Musizieren geht dabei mit dem herrlich schwelgerischen Klang der Wiener Philharmoniker eine geradezu ideale Synthese ein . . . Zum Erfolg von Soltis "Ring" trugen natürlich auch die Sänger bei, die allesamt zur Creme de la Creme der damaligen großen Wagner-Stimmen gehörten . . . Sie alle haben unter Soltis Leitung einen Jahrhundert-"Ring" geschmiedet, auf dem kein Fluch lastet, sondern der gewiss noch weitere 50 Jahre hell glänzen wird.

Kein anderer Ring setzt Wagners Klangeffekte spektakulärer in Szene, hier erklingt das Drama mit Feuer, Donner und Blitz.