Chopin / Fantasy-Impromptu – Entremont

More of the music of Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)

More Classical and Orchestral Recordings

  • A superb Columbia Masterworks pressing with Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout
  • Performed with consummate skill and deep feeling by the legendary Philippe Entremont
  • Side one of this copy blew our minds with its Nearly White Hot Stamper sound – musically and sonically, it is nothing short of amazing.
  • A true undiscovered gem – who knew Columbia could record a piano this well?

The subtitle of the album reads Philippe Entremont Plays Best-Loved Piano Pieces. After hearing this one as well as another exceptionally good sounding copy, we would like to amend that to Philippe Entremont Plays the Hell Out of These Best-Loved Piano Pieces.

Side one of this copy blew our minds with its Nearly White Hot Stamper sound. Musically and sonically this record is nothing short of amazing. Who knew Columbia could record a piano this well? You could play fifty vintage piano recordings and not find one as good as this!

Tchaikovsky, Liszt, Debussy, Gershwin — these shorter pieces and excerpts were composed by those with the greatest gift for melody, men who have produced works that stand the test of time, enchanting audiences over the centuries with works of great beauty and charm.

This vintage Columbia Masterworks pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the Best Sides Of Fantasy-Impromptu Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1966
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We’re Listening For On Fantasy-Impromptu

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Side One

It’s clear and clean and solid, yet big, rich and warm the way a piano really sounds in recital. There is no trace of smear on the transients whatsoever.

The transparency is simply amazing — you are there! There aren’t many solo piano recordings that sound this right. When you hear one, it’s shocking how good it can be.

The extended top results in lovely space and harmonic extension. The dynamic contrasts in these works are captured like few piano recordings we have ever heard.

Side Two

With a huge, rich, open sounding piano. Lovely warm tone too. Though not the best we heard (hence the grade), the sound here is still good enough to beat practically any solo piano record you are likely to own. Let us know if it doesn’t!

Vinyl Condition

Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.

If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Chopin – Fantasie-Impromptu
Liszt – Liebestraum
Debussy – Golliwog’s Cake-Walk
Tchaikovsky – Song Without Words
Daquin – Le Coucou
Debussy – Clair de Lune

Side Two

Rachmaninoff – Prelude
Mendelssohn – Scherzo
Chopin – Nocturne
Albeniz – Sevilla
Gershwin – Prelude No. 2

Artist Biography by Joseph Stevenson

As a pianist Philippe Entremont is recognized for his performances in the early 20th century repertory and music of the Classical era. Yet, he also has performed and recorded the concertos of the major Romantic composers, as well as conducting orchestral works from the same periods.

Entremont’s father was a conductor, who, when Philippe was a boy, was conductor at the Strasbourg Opera. Philippe’s mother was a pianist, who gave him his first lessons. He studied with Marguerite Long, then in 1944 he went to study at the Paris Conservatory with Jean Doyen. At the age of 12, Entremont won the Harriet Cohen Piano Medal. At the Conservatory he won the first prizes in solfège when he was 12, in chamber music when he was 15, and in piano when he was 16.

He made his professional debut in 1951 in Barcelona and began touring in Europe. He made his American debut on January 5, 1953, with the National Orchestral Association, Jacques Barzun conducting. He became particularly well-known for his interpretations of music by such composers as Milhaud, Stravinsky, Jolivet, and Bernstein. He has appeared as a pianist on five continents in practically every major musical center and with the great orchestras for the world. He also appeared in chamber music presentations, frequently with flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal.

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