Grieg / Peer Gynt / Fjeldstad / LSO – Our Shootout Winner from 2005

More of the music of Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)

More Peer Gynt / Fjeldstad / LSO

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

This is overall the best sounding pressing of the Fjeldstad / LSO we have ever played, with BETTER than Super Hot Stamper sound on both sides. For those of you who know your Londons, when you see the label on this LP you will no doubt be shocked: This is the last pressing in the world that one would expect to sound good. 

Of course we here at Better Records don’t give a sh*t about any such conventional wisdom / collector bias. We like audiophile quality sound and we don’t give a damn where we find it. Up against the competition this copy was superb in practically every way, excelling with orchestral size, weight and energy like virtually no other.

This is to be expected from a recording of its renown. What was not to be expected was the actual pressing that delivered those sonic qualities

We’ve loved the Blueback pressings in the past; this time not so much (too crude and opaque with jello for bass.

Side One

A++ to A+++, better than Super Hot, very clean and clear with an extended top (the kind you hear on very few Golden Age pressings). It’s slightly dry and could use a bit more weight at the start, but about halfway through it becomes fuller, bigger and richer. Great energy too, especially in the final movement. A touch more Tubey Magic and this side would have earned the full Three Pluses.

Side Two

A++ to A+++. Transparent, with good top end extension, as well as space and clarity. No smear, so the textures of the strings and brass are excellent as well. The percussion is especially clear. We had a side that was a bit more Tubey Magical, so we took a half plus off of this copy’s grade.

The last movement has some Wagnerian touches; the sound at the end of this copy is bigger, more clear and more spacious than practically any other we played. The overall sound in the climax is lively and exciting without ever crossing the line into hi-fi-ishness. This is the mark of an exceptionally good record!


Further Reading

We have a number of entries in our original equals better series, in which we debunk the conventional wisdom regarding which are the best sounding pressings for specific artists and titles.

Here are some commentaries on a subject near and dear to all of us, namely Record Collecting.

The entries linked here may help you gain a better understanding of the issues surrounding Hot Stampers.

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.

Wikipedia Commentary and Background

Peer Gynt, Op. 23 is the incidental music to Henrik Ibsen’s 1867 play of the same name, written by the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg in 1875. It premiered along with the play on 24 February 1876 in Christiania (now Oslo).

Later, in 1888 and 1891, Grieg extracted eight movements to make two four-movement suites: Suite No. 1, Op. 46, and Suite No. 2, Op. 55.

Suite No. 1, Op. 46

1. Prelude
2. Morning Mood (Morgenstemning)
3. The Death of Åse (Åses død)
4. Anitra’s Dance (Anitras dans)
5. In the Hall of the Mountain King (I Dovregubbens hall)

Suite No. 2, Op. 55

1. The Abduction of the Bride. Ingrid’s Lament (Bruderovet. Ingrids klage)
2. Arabian Dance (Arabisk dans)
3. Peer Gynt’s Homecoming (Stormy Evening on the Sea) (Peer Gynts hjemfart (Stormfull aften på havet))
4. Solveig’s Song (Solveigs sang)
5. Dance of the Mountain King’s Daughter