The Solti Decca Wagner Ring cycle in the big wooden presentation box (Ring 1-22) was like that. In the mid ‘70s it retailed for about £49 – at a time when I earned around £30 a week before tax. There it was, this magnificent edifice – ‘The Greatest Achievement in the History of the Gramophone’ – a set that was truly a dream purchase for virtually all collectors of classical music. I wanted it badly – despite disliking Wagner’s music!
The completion of the Solti/Wagner Decca Ring cycle in the late ‘60s was something of a Watershed. People thought of it as the 8th Wonder of the World. How incredible to be able to buy a complete recording of Wagner’s Ring in first-class stereo sound. It had the field to itself for a number of years. Now, you can buy a Ring cycle for under £20, and there are any number of rival sets – both recent and historical – to tempt you.
To be continued