Mussorgsky et al. / Night On Bare Mountain CS 6785 / Solti – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

More of the music of Modest Mussorgsky

Night On Bare Mountain CS 6785 / Solti

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

Released as Romantic Russia by Decca in 1967, this London can also be found with a different cover and a different catalog number, CS 6503.

DEMO QUALITY SOUND on side one — in some ways. Don’t go looking for the Tubey Magic of an earlier era. What you get instead is super-low distortion, full-bandwidth sound with deep powerful bass and more transparency than most later Londons.

Solti is clearly the man for this music! He’s on fire with this fiery material. THIS is the way you want to hear Russian Orchestral Showpieces — played with verve and dynamically ALIVE. 

Side One

Glinka: Russlan and Ludmilla – Overture

A+ to A++. The showpiece to end all showpieces! The work is performed with a speed and precision that will make your jaw drop. Mine does, every time we hear it.

Lively, rich and clear, but somewhat two-dimensional and clearly multi-miked. Solti Londons are rarely this good it should be pointed out; most of them are much to thick and opaque to bother with.

A touch of smear can be heard here too, but all things considered, close to the best we played. Mussorgsky: Night On Bald Mountain

A++, BIG and dynamic as all get out! Not as smeary and more 3-D. Not our favorite performance but a very good one and one of the best sounding that we know of.

Side Two

Borodin: Prince Igor – Polovtsian Dances

A+ to A++. Huge scope — depth and width like you will not believe, perfect for this music. The voices in the chorus are clearly separated out and so big and rich! This side is open and sweet in the best Golden Age tradition. Smooth like live music — there’s no phony top here, unlike the MoFi, which is nothing but phony sound from top to bottom. What a joke they played on the audiophiles of the day.

And now it goes for big money on ebay because some clueless audiophile web pundit put it on his list of great recordings. Can you imagine having a list of great recordings that includes a MoFi pressing? That one entry renders the list risible, and the fact that no one has called this person on it is a sure sign that there are still audiophiles out there who simply cannot or will not learn to listen for themselves.

Not all the weight we would want and some veiling are all that hold this side back from A++.

The Polovtsian Dances on side two sound as dynamic and powerful as any we have heard.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Glinka: Russlan and Ludmilla – Overture
Mussorgsky: Khovanshchina – Prelude
Mussorgsky: Night On Bald Mountain

Side Two

Borodin: Prince Igor – Overture
Borodin: Prince Igor – Polovtsian Dances