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by John Culshaw
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  • Author:
    John Culshaw
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    Limelight Editions (June 1, 1987)
  • Pages:
    276 pages
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FREE shipping on qualifying offers. Recounts the first recording of Wagner's complete Ring cycle over a seven-year period, describes the technical difficulties of the project.

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John Culshaw's writing is smooth, insightful, and easily readable to layman and professional musician alike. Along with the video of "The Golden Ring" and the recordings of Solti's conducting and the Vienna Philharmonic's playing, it's apparent that no recording of Wagner (or any other composer) will surpass these almost 60 year-old recordings. Ring Resounding is the kind of book that leaves you feeling a little bereft when it comes to an end. An absolutely apt title: both the recording and the book resound indeed.

John Culshaw’s most popular book is Ring Resounding. Ring Resounding by. John Culshaw. Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Books for People with Print Disabilities. Internet Archive Books.

Published by The Viking Press, New York.

Nothing in the history of recording approaches Decca's mammoth venture in producing Wagner's Ring complete for the first time

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

Published: 18/10/2012. In listening to the Decca Ring one immediately senses it to be one of the greatest achievements ever made by a record company; in reading Mr Culshaw's book, one knows WHY it is". Scotsman.

Published: 18/10/2012. 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.

For the English comedian and impressionist, see Jon Culshaw. John Culshaw in his BBC years. John Royds Culshaw OBE (28 May 1924 – 27 April 1980) was a pioneering English classical record producer for Decca Records

Recounts the first recording of Wagner's complete Ring cycle over a seven-year period, describes the technical difficulties of the project, and describes the contributions of the major participants

I mean, if you are purchasing these books, as I did, used for approx 15 dollars, you have made a great deal, I really think you will agree. This is because getting Shaws book in some other printing would not give you the illustrations that come with the time-life set, and especially wouldnt give you the massive, profusely illustrated biography of Wagner, which is probably the highlight of this boxed set- the many pictures in the biography are fantastic, they really seem to bring to life Wagners life and times in a way no other biography of him has probably ever done. The biography is about 3 times bigger than the Shaw book, and there is also another book about recording the ring-cycle. It is an awesome set
I was in elementary and junior high school when the legendary first-ever recording of Wagner's Ring Cycle was being set down and released. I did not get interested in opera until junior high and did not have access to the recordings until later, but in the meantime I did find and read this fascinating book, and have read it several times in the meantime.
Culshaw begins by giving some background: the earlier attempts on the part of Decca/London to record and issue a Ring the "easy" way (by going to Bayreuth and taking one down, which they tried in both 1951 and 1955); their ultimately successful attempt to snag Kirsten Flagstad, who had retired from recording, into the Rheingold cast; and the early attempts at creating stereo productions for the phonograph which finally jelled when they got around to recording Das Rheingold.
There are many, many fascinating stories within the main fabric of the tale, and it would take a review much longer than 1,000 words to even mention all of them. For example, although the reasons had to do mostly with the technical quality of the recording, this first-ever Das Rheingold captured the imagination of the opera-buying public in a way that nobody could have imagined or expected, despite the doubts of the competition and the lack of interest on the part of the Wagner cognoscenti. Another story is that of Kirsten Flagstad's tragically deteriorating health which ultimately prevented her from participating in any of the other operas, despite the glimmers of hope that kept flickering and the constantly changing plans Decca/London made to accommodate her. The story of the young unknown tenor who was supposed to be the ideal Siegfried except that he was unwilling to take the time to learn the role is a study in frustration. On the lighter side are the tale of the horse the producers brought into the studio to surprise Nilsson during the recording of Gotterdammerung, and the story of Regine Crespin's kicking James King in the shin during the recording of the Walkure Act I love duet.
Culshaw has a definite way with words and thus has the ability to allow the reader to feel the tension, time pressures and catharses involved in the recording sessions. One example of this is his description of Decca/London's attempt to record an acceptable Rheingold prelude--in the middle of the night yet!--given that the first half of the piece could not be edited because of the way it is written, and so had to be recorded without mistake; the tension here is almost palpable. It is in areas such as this where Culshaw is at his strongest.
Unfortunately, sometimes Culshaw fails to understand the power of his pen and as a result the book also has its weak and even offensive areas, usually centered around the author's own prejudices. For example, he dismisses the 1951 Bayreuth Gotterdammerung, which Decca/London almost issued but did not, as an inferior performance except for the Brunnhilde and the Hagen. However, this performance was finally issued a year or two ago on the Testament label and in the opinion of many immediately jumped to near the top of the list of contenders for best-ever recording of the work. What could Culshaw have been thinking when he wrote his cavalier dismissal of the recording? And if the Gotterdammerung *had* been originally issued rather than the legendary Parsifal from the same year, would Culshaw then have said that the Parsifal was no good? Given a glaring error in judgment such as this one, I have difficulty trusting Culshaw's objectivity in other areas. And even given his bias in favor of the German repertoire as opposed to the Italian, his words to the effect that no *real* conductor has ever shown any interest in Bellini are at best unprofessional if indeed not irresponsible, as Serafin and Berntein provided contemporary evidence to the contrary, while others such as Levine would come along later to prove Culshaw wrong yet again.
Another drawback to the book is that Culshaw can be incredibly condescending. The conclusion to the tale about the man who owned a rare steerhorn and came to Vienna during the Walkure sessions to help Decca/London get the relevant passages on tape is not only condescending but just plain mean. Likewise Culshaw makes the comment that he wouldn't expect anybody who hasn't been exposed to the pressures involved in recording music such as the Ring to understand the necessity of briefly lowering the temperature with the horse episode; such a comment assumes that Culshaw is writing to people who are unsophisticated if not worse.
These drawbacks aside, however, Ring Resounding is really an excellent read, and gives a wonderful idea of the joys and struggles involved in recording an opera. I'm sorry to see that it has gone out of print and hope to see it back soon. I want to edit if it does return, though...
I have read many books in my lifetime and this one ranks among the top three. For those readers who are unfamiliar about the world of opera, this book would still rank among the best. This is the story of the quest of recording Wagner's complete Ring Cycle on LP records. At first glance, this would seem simple. But when one considers that in order to record this massive work, the producers at Decca (London) Records had to ask, beg and coerce some of the finest operatic singers in the world to take on some demanding roles to achieve the goal of Decca Records. Kirsten Fladstad was convinced to take a minor role in Das Reingold while others such as Joan Sutherland were asked to take a somewhat insignifigant role as the Songbird in Siegfried.
This book transcends the world of opera and places the reader in a position which anyone who is facing a somewhat insurmountable obstacle at work or anywhere else for that matter must face and conquer. It took seven years to complete this recording of the Ring, and what makes the recording special is that it is and will always be the standard by which all other Ring Cycles will be judged. John Culshaw, the author and Producer of this work, seemed to, as if by his own brand of magic,take the reader to the recording studio at the Sofiensaal in Vienna, and made the reader feel as though they were part of this 20th Century Drama. This is a must read book.
Rose Of Winds
Along with Walter Legg, John Culshaw is probably the most influencial classical producer of the analog recording era. His works on operas of Britten and Wagner are the finest of the London/Decca catalog. This book is a documentary account of the famous Solti Ring Cycle. Through Culshaw's eyes, readers will experience the difficulties and innovations involved in completing this masterpiece. For anyone who is familiar with the recording, this book will definitely enhance the listener's listening experience. This book is indeed a rare to find item. I found a copy of it in a bookstore cafe in Baltimore and have yet to see another copy anywhere. Snatch it without hesitation if you ever see one.
This book came as an insert into the Package of the Ring(Solti). Purchased the set back in 1976, at Westwood/LA'sTower Records. Clerk said,"Wanna see people's heads turn?" And cranked up the concludng portion of the Immola-tion scene for me...on the PA......THAT decided for me notjust which version of the Ringto buy, but just how beautifu-lly and faithfully this recor-ding really IS to Wagner's very precise original direc-tions...I take it out every sooften to remind myself of just how much we opera-lovers oweto the pioneering work doneby Mr. Culshaw and his team ofauditory/sound engineers forEMI/London Recordings.Indeed, I daresay it is due invery large part to their pain-staking work that full-length recordings of Bach, Mozart,Verdi, for that matter, ANYopera, oratorio, or longer-length piece, could have beenrecorded, let alone attempted,at all, or have sold enoughcopies to justify furtherpioneering works.I am in debt, as are we all, to this pioneer in music!