Remastered version of Sir Georg Solti’s Ring Cycle to be released

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To commemorate 25 years since the death of Sir Georg Solti, a remastered version of his Ring Cycle is set for release in four instalments.

The Hungarian-British composer, who died on September 5 1997 at the age of 84, won 31 Grammy awards during his career, making him the artist to have won the most Grammy awards in any genre.

Music label Decca Classics have announced a new remastered version of the Ring Cycle (Der Ring des Nibelungen), composed by Richard Wagner, which has been made possible by an intricate restoration project to preserve the master tapes of the recording.

Eamonn Andrews and Sir Georg Solti.
Sir Georg Solti with radio presenter Eamonn Andrews at a party to celebrate the conductor’s 75th birthday in Covent Garden (PA)

The record has sold millions of copies and famously sound tracked the tense helicopter scene in 1979 film Apocalypse Now.

The four operas of the remastered version 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 September 30 2022.

The master tape recordings, which have been stored in the vaults of Universal Music since the recording sessions took place in Vienna in the 1950s and 60s, have been expertly processed to high-definition digital audio using cutting-edge audio technology.

Where sections of tape had deteriorated, they were been baked in a specialised oven for 10 hours at 55C to restore their integrity.

These new high-definition transfers of the 38 original master tapes have been made at 24 bit/192kHz resolution which allows greater detail and dynamic range than ever heard previously.

Sharing their excitement at the remastered version, co-presidents of Decca Label Group, Tom Lewis and Laura Monks, said: “This is the Citizen Kane of classical recording and this new version is mind-blowing, especially when you listen in surround sound.

“What makes it even more tantalising is the thought that the engineers were able to return to the original tapes just before they disintegrated beyond use.

“A final opportunity to return to an original masterpiece before losing it forever.”

The release is also the first and only complete Wagner Ring Cycle available in Dolby Atmos, cutting-edge surround sound audio technology, thereby creating a more immersive listening experience, as was the intention of the late classic record producer for Decca Records, John Culshaw.

Decca Classics label director and the audio producer of the Ring Cycle reissue Dominic Fyfe said: “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.”

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