The Royal Ballet – Gala Performances – Ansermet – Our Shootout Winner from 2005

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

This is a QUIET RCA Soria Shaded Dog Box Set with some of the BEST SOUND I HAVE EVER HEARD for this music on Disc One. This is truly DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND if what you are demonstrating is not the merely Hi-Fi, but the relaxed beauty and naturalness of what many consider to be the finest example of Living Stereo Magic brought to the greatest performances of ballet music ever committed to tape.

Allow me to paraphrase some commentary from another Shaded Dog (8972307) we currently have up on the site: 

This record shows off Living Stereo sound at its best. The full range of colors of the orchestra are here presented with remarkable clarity, dynamic contrast, spaciousness, sweetness, and timbral accuracy. If you want to demonstrate to a novice listener why modern recordings are unsatisfactory, all you have to do is play this record for them. No CD ever sounded like this.

I don’t think the RCA engineers can cut this record any better — it has all the Living Stereo magic one could ask for, as well as the bass and dynamics that are missing from so many other vintage Golden Age records. This is pretty much as good as it gets, folks.

All of which is true. The interesting thing about the Royal Gala Ballet Box is how FEW of them sound as good as their press would have you think. And the little shootout we conducted for this set was more evidence of this very fact.

A friend of mine found another copy of the second record, along with a complete set of two LPs, booklet and box. That second record, comprising sides three and four, was MUD. The sides three and four that are part of this collection are wonderful. The same stampers, the same pressing era, and sound that is night and day different.

Of course I’m picking the better of the two LPs for this set, but which one came with the Hot sides one and four? There’s no reason to believe it was the good sounding sides two and three. Face it, there’s no way to know. So the next Ballet Box you buy may have one good sounding record and one bad one. Or two bad ones. (Now you know why we shootout so few double albums. They’re twice as much work!)

To paraphrase another listing: I didn’t expect just how AMAZING SOUNDING this copy was going to be. And how quiet! This copy takes this album to another level — I had no idea it could sound like this. There is magic on this pressing that is simply not fully realized on the other copies. Without a doubt this is one of the best sounding Living Stereo records I have ever played.

All, again, true. Not only were sides one and four quiet, they were superb sounding. Sides two and three however are another story. The good sounding LP with sides two and three has major condition problems. One side is about Ex++, with quite a few marks that play, moderately for the most part. The other side is a bit quieter, about Mint Minus Minus, with only an occassional mark that might interrupt the flow of music for more than a few seconds.

$2000 for One Album?

That’s what they sell for, and more. We have sold this set for $2000 before ourselves, and more than a few for close to it ($1600 + $1800 as I recall). You might want to look at this as one super-quiet, amazing sounding LP, with an added bonus album that has problems. You won’t find better sound on any classical album we have in stock, that I can assure you.

The Box Isn’t Perfect Either

There is some wear to the slipcase presentation box. I would rate it about a 7, maybe 7+. The booklet is very nice, at least 8+ and maybe 9.

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