Liszt / The Music of Franz Liszt / Fiedler – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

More Franz Liszt’s music



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

The rich, textured, rosin-on-the-bow lower strings on this record are to die for. Find me a modern record that sounds like this and I will eat it, and by “modern record” we hasten to include both modern recordings and modern remasterings of older recordings. NO ONE alive today can make a record that sound even remotely like this.  

To call it a lost art is to understand something that few vinyl-loving audiophiles appear to have grasped since the advent of the Modern Reissue, which is simply this: they don’t sound as good.

After twenty years of trying and literally hundreds of failed examples, they have yet to make a record as powerful and life-like as this Shaded Dog from fifty-plus years ago.

Fortunately for the both of us, we are not trying to make a record that sounds the way this one does, we’re just trying to find it, and folks, we found the hell out of this one.

Side One

A+++, HUGE and rich, with Tubey Magic to die for. The stage is as wide and deep as any you have heard, the strings rosiny and tonally correct, without a trace of shrillness or smear. For a true Golden Age classic, remarkably there is barely a hint of compression.

The second piece will no doubt bring to mind the music of Wagner, and it is a Hi-Fi Spectacular of the highest order. And great fun!

Side Two

A++ to A+++. The first piece, Les Preludes, has all the same wonderful qualities as heard on side one, but a trace of shrillness and hardness creeps in during some of the louder passages. Few Golden Age recordings do not have this characteristic, but here it is quite moderate.

The Rakoczy March is better sounding — so good that it would be graded White Hot were it on its own. The horns and percussion are less compressed, and therefore much more lively, making this exciting piece of music, in Fiedler’s hands, as exciting as I have ever heard it performed.

A good pressing can do that, and this is a very good pressing indeed!

Further Reading

We have a number of entries in our Classical Commentary series.

You can find your very own Hot Stamper pressings by using the techniques we lay out in Hot Stamper Shootouts — The Four Pillars of Success.

And finally we’ll throw in this old warhorse discussing How to Become an Expert Listener, subtitled Hard Work and Challenges Can Really Pay Off.

Because in audio, much like the rest of life, hard work and challenges really do pay off.


Side One

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2

Side Two

Les Preludes
Rakoczy March