Presenting THE sleeper Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto record of the century.
The Musical Heritage Society (MHS) remastered the original 1967 Melodiya tape in 1979, dramatically improving upon the sound of the version that I knew on Angel, which shouldn’t have been too hard as the Angel is not very good.
Wait a minute. Scratch that. MHS didn’t cut the record, an engineer at a mastering house they contracted out the work to did. Fortunately for us audiophiles, the job fell to none other than the legendary Bill Kipper at Masterdisk.
Once Masterdisk had done their job, MHS proceeded with theirs, pressing it on quiet vinyl and mailing it out to all their subscribers. Can you imagine getting a record this good in the mail? It boggles the mind. Of course Reader’s Digest did something very similar in prior decades, and some of their pressings are superb, but I can’t think of a single one that sounds this good or plays this quietly. For a subscription service record label release, this one raises the bar substantially. Hell, for a recording of the work itself this copy raises the bar. It’s without a doubt the best recording of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard a score of them if not more.
Think what a different audio world it would be if we still had Bill Kipper with us today, along with the amazingly accurate and resolving cutting system he used at Masterdisk. There are no records being produced today that sound remotely as good as this budget subscription disc. Furthermore, to my knowledge no record this good has been cut for more than thirty years.
The world is awash in mediocre records and there doesn’t seem to be a damn thing we can do about it. (Of course it’s important to keep in mind that the world has always been awash in mediocre records. If the average record – modern or vintage – sounds good to you, you definitely have a much more forgiving system than we do.)
The likes of Bill Kipper are no longer with us, but we can all be thankful that we can still find the records he and so many talented others mastered years ago, to enjoy now and far into the future.