Lalo / Tchaikovsky – Symphonie Espagnole / Serenade Melancolique / Kogan

More of the Music of Edouard Lalo (1823-1892)

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

  • This wonderful classical recording finally makes its Hot Stamper debut here with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
  • This is some Demo Disc sound as long as long as you can reverse your polarity – if you can’t do that, don’t buy this record, because it won’t sound right
  • Here is sound that is both tubey and real, with much more space and a much bigger and more realistic presentation of the hall than any performance of the music you have ever heard
  • “The Symphonie Espagnole is one of Lalo’s two most often played works, the other being his Cello Concerto in D minor.”

My notes for side one read:

  • Big and Lively! Rich and Balanced.
  • Violin surrounded by lots of space.
  • Exciting performance.

The Lalo on side two is clear and spacious but could use a bit more warmth. The Tchaikovsky piece that finishes out the side is richer and smoother than the Lalo. Listen for it!

This vintage import 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 Symphonie Espagnole 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 1960
  • 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 Symphonie Espagnole and Serenade Melancolique

  • 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.
  • 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

Symphonie Espagnole, Lalo

Allegro Non Troppo
Scherzando (Allegro Molto)
Intermezzo (Allegro Non Troppo)

Side Two

Symphonie Espagnole, Lalo (continued)

Rondo (Allegro)
Serenade Mélancolique, Tchaikovsky

Symphonie Espagnole

The Symphonie Espagnole in D minor, Op. 21, is a work for violin and orchestra by Édouard Lalo. The work was written in 1874 for violinist Pablo Sarasate, and premiered in Paris on February 7, 1875.

Although called a “Spanish Symphony” (see also Sinfonia Concertante), it is considered a violin concerto by musicians today. The piece has Spanish motifs throughout, and launched a period when Spanish-themed music came into vogue. (Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen premiered a month after the Symphonie Espagnole.)

The Symphonie Espagnole is one of Lalo’s two most often played works, the other being his Cello Concerto in D minor.

The Symphonie Espagnole had some influence on the genesis of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major. In March 1878, Tchaikovsky was staying at Nadezhda von Meck’s estate at Clarens, Switzerland, while recovering from the breakdown of his disastrous marriage and his subsequent suicide attempt. His favourite pupil (and allegedly his lover), the violinist Losif Kotek, shortly arrived from Berlin with a lot of new music for violin. His collection included the Symphonie Espagnole, which he and Tchaikovsky played through to great delight. This gave Tchaikovsky the idea of writing a violin concerto, and he immediately set aside his current work on a piano sonata and started on the concerto on 17 March. With Kotek’s technical help, the concerto was finished by 11 April.


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