A decent enough Speakers Corner Decca.
The Heavy Vinyl reissue of this title is not bad, but like a number of reissues, it lacks the bottom end weight found on the early London pressings.
(Classic Records pressings rarely had that problem. Just the opposite in fact. The bass was boosted most of the time, especially the deep bass, but for some reason the lower strings are never rich the way the best vintage pressings can be.)
Since I haven’t played it in years, there is some chance that I could be wrong. I have never had trouble admitting to the possibility, a fact that makes us practically unique in the world of audiophile reviewers.
The glorious sound I hear on the best London pressings is not the kind of thing I hear on 180 gram records by Speakers Corner, or anybody else for that matter.
They do a good job some of the time, but none of their records can compete with a vintage pressing when that vintage pressing is mastered and pressed properly.
The best pressings of this UK London Stereo Treasury from the Seventies will beat the pants off of it. That ought to tell you something, right?
A budget reissue that is clearly superior to the best that modern mastering has to offer?
It happens all the time. It’s the rule, not the exception.
The second symphony is a work that audiophiles should love. It shares many qualities with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, which you will surely recognize.
It also has some lovely passages that remind me of the Tale of The Tsar Saltan, another work by the same composer.
If you like exotic and colorfully orchestrated symphonic sound, you will be hard-pressed to find better.
Here, Ansermet and the orchestra he founded and led for a half-century imbue the Borodin Second, and especially the scherzo and andante, with uncommon grace, perhaps drawn from Ansermet’s vast experience as a ballet conductor. In any event, Ansermet and others prove that a careful, reticent, well-played performance need not be boring.”
The sonic signature of the modern Heavy Vinyl Classical Reissue in Four Words: Diffuse, Washed Out, Veiled, and Vague.
Here are some of our reviews and commentaries concerning the many Heavy Vinyl pressings we’ve played over the years, well over 200 at this stage of the game. Feel free to pick your poison.
One final note of honesty. Even as recently as the early 2000s we were still somewhat impressed with many of the better Heavy Vinyl pressings. If we had never made the progress we’ve worked so hard to make over the course of the last twenty plus years, perhaps we would find more merit in the Heavy Vinyl reissues so many audiophiles seem to prefer.
We’ll never know of course; that’s a bell that can be unrung. We did the work, we can’t undo it, and the system that resulted from it is merciless in revealing the truth — that these newer pressings are second-rate at best and much more often than not third-rate or worse.
Setting higher standards — no, being able to set higher standards — in our minds is a clear mark of progress. We know that many of our customers see things the same way.