Gilbert and Sullivan / Overtures / Ward – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

More Gilbert & Sullivan

More Overtures / Ward 2011

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

SUPERB sound on BOTH sides, with side two earning our coveted White Hot Stamper sonic grade for the kind of rich, sweet Living Stereo sound that we audiophiles love. The sound is nothing short of amazing on the White Hot side. This is a Top Shaded Dog in every way.   

That lovely texture on the strings tells you that the pressing itself is partly responsible for the superb sound — the lack of smear being a pressing issue, not a mastering or recording one. For naturalness, this one earns a score of ten out of ten.

This is an incredibly good sounding side, clearly the best side two of the three copies we played in our recent shootout and by far the best I have ever heard this music sound (only natural when you take into account the continuously improving stereo and room).

The hall is HUGE: spacious and open as any you will hear, but not at the expense of richness or fullness. The orchestra is solid and full-bodied, yet the woodwinds and flutes soar above the other sections, so breathy and clear. How did the Decca (recording) and RCA (mastering) engineers succeed so brilliantly where so many others have failed, failed right up to this very day?

Who knows? It’s still a mystery that has not been explained, to my satisfaction anyway.

No Smear

That lovely texture on the strings tells you that the pressing itself is partly responsible for the superb sound — the lack of smear being a pressing issue, not a mastering or recording one.

For naturalness, this one earns a score of ten out of ten.

Side One

Almost as good, with Super Hot Stamper A++ sound. We noticed all the same lovely qualities we heard on side two, but a bit of hardness crept into the sound from time to time, along with a subtle lack of warmth in the strings, so we docked this side one plus and graded it Super Hot.

It’s tonally correct, with a very wide and deep stage. Even with these minor flaws it’s still a Demo Disc of the highest order.

Essential Music – And No Singing

The music of Gilbert and Sullivan belongs in any serious classical collection. This is without a doubt the best way to get the most Gilbert and Sullivan music with the best sound. And no singing.

If for some reason you don’t have a good recording of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Overtures, you are really missing out. This is some of the most wonderful music ever composed. It’s the kind of music that will immediately put you in a good mood. Here the Overtures are played to perfection. For music and sound, this one is hard to fault.

As the liner notes say, “…immense charm, good-natured energy and the ‘rightness’ that announces the influence of a superb musical command.”.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

The Mikado
The Yeomen of the Guard
Ruddigore

Side Two

Iolanthe
H.M.S. Pinafore
The Pirates of Penzance