Mozart / Notturno for 4 Orchestras / Maag

This London title has long been a favorite of ours here at Better Records, and this Blueback copy does not disappoint (except in the area of condition, see the notes below).

Side one, much like the amazing Mozart record we listed today, is spacious and three-dimensional like you will not believe. I would rank it in the Top Five Per Cent of all classical recordings in respect of those qualities. You can hear into the soundstage on this pressing like few recordings you own, we guarantee it.

It’s another London winner. You may get tired of me saying it, but it has DEMO QUALITY SOUND as regards its imaging and soundstaging.

The presentation is just right as well. This smaller orchestra does not get lost in a big hall, but instead as the intimacy that’s required for this music, while still giving us some nice space and ambient cues from the hall they’re in.

This music is played at a moderate tempo, so those looking for excitement won’t find much here. These pieces are written to draw you in, not to knock you out, and that they do beautifully.

Side One

A++. String tone and texture is very good, not the best we’ve ever heard but quite good nonetheless.

Side Two

Not quite as good as side one, with a bit more smear to the strings, and not as three-dimensional either. The second work on side two sounds better though, so the grades would be A+ for the first piece and A++ for the second.

I love the fact that on the back of the cover in the upper right hand corner is written the retail price of $5.98. There was a time when you could walk into the record store and buy a record like this for under six bucks! This is an evening’s worth of sublime music for what today would be the equivalent of a Subway sandwich.


Side One

Notturno in D Major
Serenata Notturna in D Major

Side Two

Overture: Lucio Silla
Interludes from King Thamos

This is an Older Classical/Orchestral Review

Most of the older reviews you see are for records that did not go through the shootout process, the revolutionary approach to finding better sounding pressings we started developing in the early 2000s and have since turned into a veritable science.

We found the records you see in these older listings by cleaning and playing a pressing or two of the album, which we then described and priced based on how good the sound and surfaces were. (For out Hot Stamper listings, the Sonic Grades and Vinyl Playgrades are listed separately.)

We were often wrong back in those days, something we have no reason to hide. Audio equipment and record cleaning technologies have come a long way since those darker days, a subject we discuss here.

Currently, 99% (or more!) of the records we sell are cleaned, then auditioned under rigorously controlled conditions, up against a number of other pressings. We award them sonic grades, and then condition check them for surface noise.

As you may imagine, this approach requires a great deal of time, effort and skill, which is why we currently have a highly trained staff of about ten. No individual or business without the aid of such a committed group could possibly dig as deep into the sound of records as we have, and it is unlikely that anyone besides us could ever come along to do the kind of work we do.

The term “Hot Stampers” gets thrown around a lot these days, but to us it means only one thing: a record that has been through the shootout process and found to be of exceptionally high quality.

The result of our labor is the hundreds of titles seen here, every one of which is unique and guaranteed to be the best sounding copy of the album you have ever heard or you get your money back.

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