Massenet / Le Cid / Martinon – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Jules Massenet (1842—1912)

Hot Stamper Classical and Orchestral Imports on Decca & London

Superb Super Hot Stamper sound for Les Patineurs, and the Le Cid is just a step behind at A+ to A++. We had a copy of the famous Greeensleeves pressing for our shootout, along with a number of Londons, and this Stereo Treasury had the highest overall sonic grades of all of them. The original Blueback pressing — true, we only had the one, so take it for what it’s worth — was a complete disaster: shrill, with no top or bottom to speak of.

Both these pieces are audiophile Must Own Demonstration pieces, full of depth, ambience, and wonderfully correct instrumental timbres, especially from the woodwinds. Add explosive dynamics and deep bass and you have yourself a genuine audiophile recording.  

Side One – Les Patineurs

A++, so much richer sounding than the other copies we played. Big size and scope, good texture to the strings, and lower strings that are rich and textured in best tradition of vintage Deccas and RCAs.

Side Two – Le Cid

A+ to A++ just shy of Super Hot Stamper sound. A slightly leaner tonal balance than is heard on side one, but super clear and three-dimensional because of it, which means you hear deep into this one like you won’t believe.

The sound is lively and there is virtually no smear on any of the instruments, both rare qualities that are found on only the best Golden Age recordings (especially the lack of smear; not many vintage recordings do not have tube-induced smear to some degree).

Le Cid

I. Castillane
2. Andalouse
3. Aragonaise
4. Aubade
5. Catalane
6. Madrikrne
7. Navarraise