- Amazing Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the first side 0for the Citizen Kane Suite!) and Double Plus (A++) on the second; one of the best copies to hit the site in many years
- The brass is huge on Citizen Kane, with accurate timbre – side two offers rich strings and a powerful, weighty piano for the Concerto Macabre
- By far the single best Bernard Herrmann disc we know of – A Must Own for any serious audiophile
- After playing records for 50+ years this is still some of the most emotionally moving music I’ve ever heard
Presenting two insanely good sides back to back on this domestic RCA pressing. Both sides have tons of energy, loads of detail and texture, superb transparency and excellent clarity. This is the very definition of DEMO DISC sound.
The Citizen Kane Suite on this album is to die for — BIG, BOLD, DYNAMIC sound like few records you own. It’s real desert island disc for me. (The CD by the way is actually quite good. I have it in the car and play it often.)
The Concerto Macabre for Piano and Orchestra (from “Hangover Square”) is superbly well recorded and a brilliant piece of music as well.
Taxing the Limits
An orchestral dreadnought such as this requires mastering and pressing of the highest quality. The music by its very nature taxes the limits of LP playback itself, with deep bass notes; incredible dynamics from every area of the stage; masses of strings playing at the top of their registers with abandon; huge drums; powerful brass effects — every sound an orchestra can produce is found on this record, and then some.
You will hear plenty of sounds that defy description, that’s for sure. Some of the time I can hardly imagine what instrument or group of instruments could possibly be making some of these sounds.
Size and Space
One of the qualities that we don’t talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record’s presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small — they don’t extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don’t seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center.
Other copies — my notes for these copies often read “BIG and BOLD” — create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They’re not brighter, they’re not more aggressive, they’re not hyped-up in any way, they’re just bigger and clearer.
We often have to go back and downgrade the copies that we were initially impressed with in light of such a standout pressing. Who knew the recording could be that huge, spacious and three dimensional? We sure didn’t, not until we played the copy that had those qualities, and that copy might have been number 8 or 9 in the rotation.
Think about it: if you had only seven copies, you might not have ever gotten to hear a copy that sounded that open and clear. And how many even dedicated audiophiles would have more than one of two clean British original copies with which to do a shootout? These records are expensive and hard to come by in good shape. Believe us, we know whereof we speak when it comes to getting hold of original British pressings of Classic Rock albums.
One further point needs to be made: most of the time these very special pressings just plain rock harder. When you hear a copy do what this copy can, it’s an entirely different – and dare I say unforgettable — listening experience.
The four page illustrated booklet included with the album is wonderfully informative. The print is quite small, so there’s plenty to chew on for those who love the music of Bernard Herrmann, the man who single-handedly changed the course of soundtrack music forever.
What Are You Selling?
Record dealers that sell records based on their reputation — and that means pretty much all of them — are selling the hype. If they haven’t played the record, they can’t tell you what it sounds like, TAS List or no TAS List. The catalog number may be right, but finding the sound that lives up to the description can only be done one way: by playing the record.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful originals.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.
The Death Hunt (from “On Dangerous Ground”)
Theme & Variations (Breakfast Montage);
Aria from Salammbô (Kiri Te Kanawa, soprano);
Rosebud & Finale (from “Citizen Kane”)
The Undersea Forest;
Homecoming (from “Beneath the 12 Mile Reef”)
Concerto Macabre for Piano and Orchestra (from “Hangover Square”)
Prelude: The Riverboat;
Abduction of the Bakuba Boy;
Lonni Bound By Ropes;
Departure (from “White Witch Doctor”)