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Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen Box set


Price: £36.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen + Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung: A Companion + Wagner: An Introduction to Der Ring des Nibelungen
Price For All Three: £65.24

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Product details

  • Performer: George London, Kirsten Flagstad, Set Svanholm, Paul Kuen
  • Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna State Opera Chorus
  • Conductor: Sir Georg Solti
  • Composer: Richard Wagner
  • Audio CD (6 Oct. 1997)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 14
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0000042H4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,289 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

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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 equalled 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 re-release 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 fortieth anniversary. --Christian C. Rix

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Klingsor Tristan VINE VOICE on 17 Jun. 2005
Format: Audio CD
Of the 15 or so complete Rings + numerous recordings of the separate operas that sit on my shelves, this was the first I acquired, originally bought as the sets were issued. So is it just because these were the performances from which I learnt my Ring that this is the version I still return to most often? Krauss is probably the best available performance, but the sound is fragile and friable. Windgassen and Nilsson are both more exciting in the live environment of Bohm's recording, but I'd like to shoot that prompter. Goodall is full, for me, of memories in the theatre and provides the best large-scale symphonic view, but his orchestra is good rather than great. Boulez is, as always, refreshing and elucidating, but let down by the quality of his singers.
So I keep coming back to Solti. Not perfect by any means, but still the best combination of sound, performance, interpretation and production you'll find. The casting is top-notch and often inspired - from Flagstad's first glorious Fricka in Rheingold to Fischer-Dieskau's flawed and vulnerable Gunther (he once famously described Gotterdammerung as 'a family tragedy'). Rhinemaidens, Valkyries and Norns include many a future Brunnhilde and the like - the Waldvogel is no less than Joan Sutherland!
Solti's conducting, much hailed at the time of release, has come in for increasing criticism over the years. Yes, he can be a bit hard-driven: yes, he can be too episodic: yes, he can pile pilion on ossa at some of the climaxes (though not as much as in the theatre). But he undoubtedly has a vision of the whole work which he sticks to. And he does draw the most glorious sounds and playing from the Vienna Philharmonic.
And then there's the contribution of John Culshaw and his team.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. S. CROWE TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Jan. 2012
Format: Audio CD
So much has been written about this epic set in the last 50 years that there is very little anyone can add. Those of us who first encountered these ground breaking recordings in the era of vinyl LP will remember the excitement as each instalment was released. No sooner had the Solti cycle been completed with Die Walkure, than the Karajan cycle was under way commencing with the same work. The critical phrases most common then were "Ecstatic Dynamism" for Solti, and "Lyrical Cosmos " for Karajan-make of that what you will, but it's not a bad description.
For me, the Ecstatic Dynamism won the day, and even after all these years, though many fine Ring Cycles have become available, none sounds better than this one. I would say that for anyone exploring this musical colossus, there are 2 essential sets-Solti and Bohm. The Keilberth Ring is more for connoisseurs as the sound is amazing for its age, and the performances no less amazing, but it must still be classed as "historic"-and expensive.

The set has never sounded as marvellous as in this latest 20 bit re-mastering, which necessitated using some different "takes" in the restoration as the original master tapes had perished in places.
The main point I wish to make is to confound the criticism that the balance is artificial. I was lucky enough to attend a cycle under Runnicles in the Vienna State Opera in 2000, and have been to individual performances under various conductors since.
The sound is UNCANNILY true to what one hears in good seats in the First Tier of that great house-yes, the singers do occasionally get swamped by the orchestra (though not Gabrielle Schnaut's Brunnhilde!), but if I close my eyes while listening to the recordings, I can happily imagine I am in a live performance.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Redfearn TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Jun. 2002
Format: Audio CD
Believe it or not, I first heard this version during the mid 1960s. At that time, I knew that this version was way ahead of its time, in production and performance. And now for the wonders of advance technology, digital recording, it sounds even better. Culshaw and Solti combined to produce a monumental work in performance and sound exactly as Wagner would have wanted. Hence the sound effects, and the wonderful atmosphere it generates. The singing is superb. Birgit Nilsson is a brilliant Brunnhilde, ably supported by Wolfgang Windgasson as Siegfried. In a way, I am glad this version still exists allowing a new generation of listeners an opportunity of experiencing this production. All others since have been good in their own way, but this surpasses all of them and will probably never be beaten for style and quality. Still sounds wonderful despite the fact that The Rhinegold was first recorded more than 40 years ago. Everybody who loves Opera should listen to this.
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Oct. 2002
Format: Audio CD
This DECCA recording is still the standard by which all other Ring's should be compared. The first time I heard it 10 years ago it made the hairs on my neck stand on end. Solti and Culshaw created a truly dramatic interpretation, and its power is undiminished after countless listenings. Among the countless highlights for me are the preludes, such as the prelude to Act III of Siegfried; you can hear Wotan's desperation as he rides. The use of steerhorns in Gotterdammerung conveys perfectly the sense of impending doom for the wedding party. The performances are outstanding, especially Wolfgang Windgassen as Siegfried, who was a last minute stand-in after the preferred tenor showed no interest in singing! The background to this recording is as remarkable as the performances themselves. Stolze was extremely ill during Seigfried; there was an orhcestra revolt; Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music was recorded by completely drunken orchestra players; Birgit Nilsson refused to do Gotterdammerung at first; etc, etc. These are some of the reasons why I love this recording. Out of adversity comes great art. That is not to say this Ring is not flawed. Technically, it is superb considering its age, but I find Solti's tempo is hurried in parts where it should not be hurried, whereas other conductors such as the Met's Levine draw out the power of some motives by controlling their tempo (e.g. the Curse motive). Solti's main success is Gotterdammerung, from start to finish that music drama has not been bettered by anyone. So turn off the phone, draw the curtains, press play and get ready to be involved in a great story told with great music by great players.
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