Can You Imagine Getting a Record This Good in the Mail?

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

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The MHS pressing above can have superb sound.

MHS remastered the original 1967 Melodiya tape in 1979, dramatically improving upon the sound of the version that I knew on Angel, which shouldn’t have been too hard as the Angel is not very good.

Wait a minute. Scratch that. MHS didn’t cut the record, an engineer at a mastering house did. Fortunately for us audiophiles, the job fell to none other than Bill Kipper at Masterdisk.

Think what a different audio world it would be if we still had Bill Kipper with us today, along with the amazingly accurate and resolving cutting system he used at Masterdisk. There are no records being produced today that sound remotely as good as this budget subscription disc. Furthermore, to my knowledge no record this good has been cut for more than thirty years. The world is awash in mediocre records.

The likes of Bill Kipper are no longer with us, but we can all be thankful that we still have the records he and so many other talented engineers mastered all those years ago, to enjoy now and far into the future.

Once Masterdisk had done their job, MHS proceeded with theirs, pressing it on quiet vinyl and mailing it out to all their subscribers. Can you imagine getting a record this good in the mail? It boggles the mind.

Of course, record lovers around the world know that Reader’s Digest did something very similar in prior decades, and some of their pressings are superb, but I can’t think of a single one that sounds this good or plays this quietly [I think I could name some now but I probably couldn’t in 2014 when I wrote this review].

For a subscription service record label release, this one raises the bar substantially. Hell, for a recording of the work itself this copy raises the bar. It’s without a doubt the best recording of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard a score of them if not more. [We now prefer the Heifetz on RCA, live and learn.]

The Performance

As good as any on record. Igor Oistrakh, the son of the legendary David Oistrakh (here conducting), turns this one into a real barn burner. Play it against the recordings of Heifetz, Milstein, Campoli, Grumiaux, Szeryng — all our favorites — and any others you may know and we guarantee this one will best them all.

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The original Angel pressing shown above is never better than mediocre in our experience.


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