- This superb classical release makes its Hot Stamper debut with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound for the Paganini-Kreisler piece one side two
- This copy showed us the balance of clarity and sweetness we were looking for in the violin – not many recordings from this era can do that
- Campoli brings his warmth, feeling, and technical precision to these classical masterpieces
- Some old record collectors (like me) say classical recording quality ain’t what it used to be – here’s the proof
Side two earned a grade of Double Plus (A++) for the third movement of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. The second work on that side, Kreisler’s reworking of the first movement of the Paganini Concerto No. 1, earned Three Pluses. It is hard to fault. Pull up some youtube videos to see just how amazing and exciting it is.
A true Demo Disc Violin Recording.
And better than the original London pressing we had of the recording – the reissue is actually tubier, with none of the dryness you sometimes hear on London discs, and very dynamic.
(We know a thing or two about Decca recordings with dry strings. We delved into the subject here.)
Higher-rez and more present too.
My notes say HTF – Hard To Fault. That’s what it takes to win a shootout around here.
This vintage Decca 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 These Superb Concerto Recordings 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 1957
- 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 Tchaikovsky and Paganini’s Violin Concertos
- 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.
Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto In D Major
1st Movement: Allegro Moderato
2nd Movement: Canzonetta – Andante
3rd Movement: Allegro Vivacissimo
Paganini’s Concerto For Violin And Orchestra In E Flat, No. 1 (In One Movement)
Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto In D Major
The piece was written in Clarens, a Swiss resort on the shores of Lake Geneva, where Tchaikovsky had gone to recover from the depression brought on by his disastrous marriage to Antonina Miliukova. He was working on his Piano Sonata in G major but finding it heavy going. Presently he was joined there by his composition pupil, the violinist Iosif Kotek, who had been in Berlin for violin studies with Joseph Joachim. The two played works for violin and piano together, including a violin-and-piano arrangement of Édouard Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole, which they may have played through the day after Kotek’s arrival. This work may have been the catalyst for the composition of the concerto. Tchaikovsky wrote to his patroness Nadezhda von Meck, “It [the Symphonie espagnole] has a lot of freshness, lightness, of piquant rhythms, of beautiful and excellently harmonized melodies…. He [Lalo], in the same way as Léo Delibes and Bizet, does not strive after profundity, but he carefully avoids routine, seeks out new forms, and thinks more about musical beauty than about observing established traditions, as do the Germans.” Tchaikovsky authority Dr. David Brown writes that Tchaikovsky “might almost have been writing the prescription for the violin concerto he himself was about to compose.”
Tchaikovsky made swift, steady progress on the concerto, as by this point in his rest cure he had regained his inspiration, and the work was completed within a month despite the middle movement getting a complete rewrite (a version of the original movement was preserved as the first of the three pieces for violin and piano, Souvenir d’un lieu cher). Since Tchaikovsky was not a violinist, he sought the advice of Kotek on the completion of the solo part. “How lovingly he’s busying himself with my concerto!” Tchaikovsky wrote to his brother Anatoly on the day he completed the new slow movement. “It goes without saying that I would have been able to do nothing without him. He plays it marvelously.”
Concerto in One Movement after Paganini’s Concerto No. 1
Paganini’s violin concertos contain bright ideas but a poverty of symphonic development, so Kreisler’s imaginative reworking of the first movement of the D major concerto puts the composer in a favourable light — it does not outstay its welcome as is the case with the original. The highlight here is a stunning cadenza. – Adrian Smith at musicweb-international.com