Bizet / Symphony in C Major / Ansermet

More of the music of Georges Bizet (1838-1875)

More music conducted by Ernest Ansermet

This London pressing of Ansermet’s 1961 recording has SUPERB Super Hot Stamper sound on BOTH sides. The Symphony in C, which takes up the whole of side one, is BIG and LIVELY, which is just the kind of sound that makes us swoon here at Better Records. Live music IS big and lively, so why shouldn’t the best records be? The bottom end has real power on this copy, the way live music does.

We like our recordings to have as many Live Music qualities as possible, and those qualities really come through on a record such as this when reproduced on the full-range speaker system we use.

It’s precisely this kind of big, rich sound that makes audiophiles prize Decca-London recordings above those of virtually any other label, and here, unlike in so many areas of audio, we are fully in agreement.

The second movement has a sublimely gorgeous oboe part you must hear. The whole side is wonderfully spacious, with real depth. The sound of the 1961 tape must be truly magical. If you don’t know why we revere the Golden Age of Classical Recordings — 1954 to 1969 or so — buy this record.

Side One

A++. Mid-hall perspective, with tremendous depth and width to the stage. Quite a lively performance from Ansermet and the Suisse Romande too. If you love to hear sweetly textured strings in a large-scale orchestral recording, this should be just the record for you! A bit less congestion in the loudest passages and this side would have been White Hot. Still, so rich and big it’s almost not worth faulting.

Side Two

A++ again, very big and open in a fairly reverberant hall — the reproduction of three-dimensional space is really something on this side. The overall sound is tonally a bit dark, so we took points off for that and ended up at A++.

And the music on this side is a lot of fun!

This is a superb Romantic composition in every way. Bizet wrote music that belongs in any serious music collection; there’s certainly a great deal more to his canon than Carmen.

Wikipedia Commentary and Background

The Symphony in C is an early work by the French composer Georges Bizet. According to Grove’s Dictionary, the symphony “reveals an extraordinarily accomplished talent for an 17-year-old student, in melodic invention, thematic handling and orchestration.”

Bizet started work on the symphony on 29 October 1855, four days after turning 17, and finished it roughly a month later. It was written while he was studying at the Paris Conservatoire under the composer Charles Gounod, and was evidently a student assignment. Bizet showed no apparent interest in having it performed or published, and while he used certain material from the symphony in later works, the piece was never played in his lifetime.

There is no mention of the work in Bizet’s letters, and it was unknown to his earlier biographers. His widow, Geneviève Halévy (1849–1926), gave the manuscript to Reynaldo Hahn, who left it along with other papers to the archives of the conservatory library, where it was found in 1933 by Jean Chantavoine.Soon thereafter, Bizet’s first British biographer Douglas Charles Parker (1885–1970) showed the manuscript to the conductor Felix Weingartner, who led the first performance in Basel, Switzerland on 26 February 1935.

The symphony was immediately hailed as a youthful masterpiece on a par with Felix Mendelssohn’s overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, written at about the same age, and quickly became part of the standard Romantic repertoire.

Within a short time of its publication, the work had been widely performed. The musicologist John W. Klein, who attended its London premiere, found the work “enchanting” and “charming,” a view that has been generally echoed since.

Although a student assignment, many musicologists find the symphony shows a precocious grasp of harmonic language and design, a sophistication which has invited comparisons with Haydn, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Rossini, and Beethoven.


Side One

Symphony In C Major –

First Movement: Allegro
Second Movement: Adagio
Third Movement: Allegro Vivace
Fourth Movement: Allegro Vivace

Side Two

Jeux D’Enfants-Petite Suite D’Orchestre –

Marche (Trompette Et Tambour)
Berceuse (La Poupée)
Impromptu (La Toupie)
Duo (Petit Mari, Petite Femme)
Galop (Le Bal)

La Jolie Fille De Perth-Suite –

Prélude; Sérénade; Marche; Danse Bohémienne

This is an Older Classical/Orchestral Review

Most of the older reviews you see are for records that did not go through the shootout process, the revolutionary approach to finding better sounding pressings we developed in the early 2000s and have since turned into a fine art.

We found the records you see in these older listings by cleaning and playing a pressing or two of the album, which we then described and priced based on how good the sound and surfaces were. (For out Hot Stamper listings, the Sonic Grades and Vinyl Playgrades are listed separately.)

We were often wrong back in those days, something we have no reason to hide. Audio equipment and record cleaning technologies have come a long way since those darker days, a subject we discuss here.

Currently, 99% (or more!) of the records we sell are cleaned, then auditioned under rigorously controlled conditions, up against a number of other pressings. We award them sonic grades, and then condition check them for surface noise.

As you may imagine, this approach requires a great deal of time, effort and skill, which is why we currently have a highly trained staff of about ten. No individual or business without the aid of such a committed group could possibly dig as deep into the sound of records as we have, and it is unlikely that anyone besides us could ever come along to do the kind of work we do.

The term “Hot Stampers” gets thrown around a lot these days, but to us it means only one thing: a record that has been through the shootout process and found to be of exceptionally high quality.

The result of our labor is the hundreds of titles seen here, every one of which is unique and guaranteed to be the best sounding copy of the album you have ever heard or you get your money back.

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Basic Concepts and Realities Explained

Important Lessons We Learned from Record Experiments 

More Classical and Orchestral Commentaries and Reviews

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