This shootout, conducted back in 2012, was our first for the album.
This White Hot Stamper pressing has DEMO QUALITY sound of the HIGHEST ORDER on fairly quiet vinyl no less. We’ve long considered the album one of the greatest of all the Decca / London recordings, but this pressing takes the sound beyond even our high expectations.
There is simply nothing in the sound to fault. Where is the slightly dry and midrangy quality in the upper strings that so many Londons from this era suffer from? It’s nowhere to be found on this side one. (If you have a rich sounding cartridge, perhaps with that little dip in the upper midrange that so many moving coils have these days, you will not notice this tonality issue nearly as much as we do.)
And it’s not as though our stereo was hiding that quality, because some of it creeps into the sound on this very side two (which is why it earned a slightly lower grade of A++).
Big, rich and dynamic, this is the sound of LIVE MUSIC, and it can be yours, to enjoy for years to come — if you’ve got the stereo to play it and the time to listen to it.
The powerful lower strings and brass are gorgeous. Ansermet and the Suisse Romande get that sound better than any performers I know. You will see my raves on record after record of theirs produced during this era. No doubt the world renowned Victoria Hall they recorded in is key. One can assume Decca engineers use similar techniques for their recordings regardless of the artists involved. The only real variable should be the hall.
Ansermet’s recordings with the Suisse Romande exhibit a richness in the lower registers that is unique in my experience. His Pictures At Exhibition has phenomenally powerful brass, the best I’ve ever heard. The same is true for his Night On Bald Mountain. Neither performance does much for me — they’re both too slow — but the sound is out of this world. Like it is here.
A+++, big, rich and lively, yet clear, transparent and spacious. The brass is shockingly dynamic and powerful. I defy you to find better brass on a record than can be found on this side one. I can’t recall hearing it, and we play the best sounding Golden Age classical recordings by the score week after week.
A++, a bit wider, with lovely sheen to the strings, but tonally a bit thinner and drier than it should be. Still, awfully good in comparison to the better classical records we put up every week, just not competitive with this amazing side one.
If you’re looking for Demonstration Quality Sound, look no further. This side one has it in spades.
Speakers Corner did a heavy vinyl reissue of this title, which is reasonably good, but like all reissues it lacks the weight found on this original. I remember it being a little flat and bright. I haven’t played it in years so I could easily be wrong. The glorious sound I hear on this pressing is not the kind of thing one hears on 180 gram records by Speakers Corner or anybody else. They do a good job some of the time, but none of their records can compete with the real thing when it’s mastered and pressed properly, as it has been here.
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