The Decca Boys

The story of the first two post-war decades, 1945-1965, when Decca led the recording world, culminating in the first-ever complete version in stereo of Wagner's Ring Cycle under Sir Georg Solti.

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
01From Ffrr To Lp20041107

In the first of four programmes, Humphrey Burton traces the technological developments from Full Frequency Range Recording to the long playing record, with contributions from the producers and engineers, The Decca Boys.

02From Mono To Stereo20041114

Humphrey Burton continues the story of the back-room boys at the Decca Record Company during the heady days of the 50's when experimental techinques of recording in stereo allowed for "stage movement" in opera recordings.

The singers jostled for the best mike positions and one diva was heard to complain bitterly that the other had "pooshed" her out of the way.

03Sonic Stage20041121

With the coming of stereo long playing records, the dream of recording Wagner's Ring cycle was now a practical reality.

But the technique of recording in stereo had to be polished and the entire operatic catalogue developed virtually from scratch.

Taking the year 1958, Humphrey Burton traces several key opera recordings: Verdi's La Forza del Destino, Puccini's Fanciulla del West, Britten's Peter Grimes and at long last Wagner's Das Rheingold.

04 LASTThe Ring Achieved20041128

Decca's project of recording Wagner's Ring cycle hung fire for several years in the early 1960s because of a world shortage of heroic tenors.

Meanwhile the Decca Boys were coping with Herbert von Karajan and recording Britten's War Requiem.

The Ring cycle finally got back on track in 1962.

Humphrey Burton ends with examples of the technical wizardry the Decca Boys used in the final music drama of the Ring, Götterdämmerung.