Bernstein / The Music of Leonard Bernstein – Hot Stampers Revealed!

More Stamper and Pressing Information

More Albums with One Set of Stampers that Consistently Win Shootouts

Looking to pick up a Hot Stamper locally on your own? Easy — all the best Decca and London copies (British only of course) are 1L on both sides.

I suppose it’s only fair to point out that all the worst copies have 1L on both sides, the reason being that all the copies are 1L on both sides, regardless of how they sound.

And here you thought I was actually being helpful. But we are being helpful. We’re sharing with you an important truth.

Stamper numbers only tell a part of the story, and they can be very misleading, in the sense that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. To know what a record sounds like you have to play it.

This is a subject near and dear to us here at Better Records, and has been for many decades. We discuss it at length in a commentary you may have seen on the site called The Book of Hot Stampers.

This London Phase 4 British import has some of the most SPECTACULAR sound I have ever heard reproduced from disc. The sound is so BIG and BOLD that it handily puts to shame 95% or more of all the Golden Age Shaded Dogs, London Bluebacks, Mercury Living Presence’s, EMI’s and Decca’s we’ve ever played. If we had a Classical Top 100 list, this record would belong in a Top Ten taken from it, right near the top judging by what I heard when I played it.

If you have a system with the speed, power, and size to play this record properly (yes, you will need all three and a whole lot more), it’s hard to imagine it would not qualify as the best-sounding orchestral recording you’ve ever heard.

Demo Disc barely begins to do it justice. What sound. What music. What a record!


Side One

Overture to “Candide”
‘Times Square, 1944’ from “On the Town”
Symphonic Suite from the film “On the Waterfront”
Excerpts from “Fancy Free”

Side Two

Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story”

1. Prologue (Allegro Moderato)
2. “Somewhere” (Adagio)
3. Scherzo (Vivace e Leggiero)
4. Mambo (Meno Presto)
5. Cha-Cha (Andantino Con Grazia)
6. Meeting Scene (Meno Mosso)
7. “Cool”, Fugue (Allegretto)
8. Rumble (Molto Allegro)
9. Finale (Adagio)

The musical works well partly because of its potent combination of violent, energetic music, often powered by vibrant rhythms, with more reflective and indeed thoroughly romantic material. There are also elements of Latin American music. But two other qualities mark out this amazing score. First, there’s the brilliant orchestration. Actually that for the Suite is not by Bernstein at all but by two master orchestrators, Irwin Kostal and Sid Ramin, whom he appointed to do the job of converting music composed for a pit-sized band to music designed for a huge symphony orchestra. And there are all those memorable melodies. This is a musical, and like all the best musicals it sends the listener away with the tunes buzzing in the head.

Stephen Pettitt


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