_Composers – Brahms

Brahms / Violin Concerto / Szeryng / Dorati – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

More of the music of Johannes Brahms 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

These later Mercury stampers are wonderful: gorgeous woodwinds, a large, full-bodied orchestra and of course a Tubey Magical violin to die for. Both sides earned SUPERB Super Hot Stamper grades (but for very different reasons). The exciting sound is matched by an equally exciting performance by Dorati. Dorati and the LSO pull out all the stops; they’re staking out a position as to just how powerfully and emotionally this work ought to be performed.

The opening is so dramatic — in the style of the First Brahms Symphony — that it’s hard to imagine there is any recording medium that can capture it without a fair amount of dynamic compression. This vintage pressing suffers from a relatively (in our experience) small amount of congestion and shrillness at the opening and elsewhere.

I find it hard to believe that any attempt to record the work would not encounter quite a lot of difficulty with the prodigious dynamic power of the piece. (more…)

Brahms / Hungarian Dances / Dvorak / Slavonic Dances – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

More of the music of Johannes Brahms 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

The London pressing of this music used to be on the TAS List but appears to have been dropped at some point over the years. Not that I would notice what comes and goes on HP’s list, as I do not hold it in as high a regard as most audiophiles I have met over the years. For some reason there were those who tended to think it definitive or consistent. I can assure you it is neither.

The Brahms here (side one) is nothing special on this copy, but the Dvorak is SUPERB, sounding much better than the other Bluebacks we played and the Stereo Treasury copies as well. With Reiner at the helm both sides are lively and fun. (more…)

Brahms / Sonata in D Minor / Laredo – Reviewed in 2007

More of the music of Johannes Brahms 

More Sonata in D Minor / Laredo 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND for this incredibly rare Living Stereo violin record.

This is the first copy I’ve ever seen. Side one, the Brahms Sonata, has very good sound and is played beautifully. When I dropped the needle on side two I went “Wow!” (more…)

The Heifetz-Piatigorsky Concerts

More of the music of Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

The Heifetz-Piatigorsky Concerts

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This is one of the pressings we’ve discovered with Reversed Polarity.

This IMMACULATE set has dry, edgy, screechy sound — until you reverse your absolute phase! Then it sounds pretty good! It certainly will never win any awards, but it’s practically unlistenable without the phase reversed. 

Now I can’t say that’s true for all six sides. I play graded all six sides — they range from M- to slightly worse, about as quiet as these Soria pressings ever are — but I only reversed the phase on side one after dropping the needle on the other sides and suffering through the brittle sound. (more…)

Brahms / Trio & Beethoven / Sonata for Horn and Piano – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

More of the music of Johannes Brahms 

More Trio & Beethoven / Sonata for Horn and Piano 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

This is an exceptionally good sounding chamber record on the RCA White Dog label, especially on side two, which earned a sonic grade of A++ to A+++. Side two has the Beethoven work for horn and piano, and it sounds about as real and natural as a chamber recording can. Side one is not quite up to the same sonic standards, but is quite good nevertheless, earning a very respectable grade of A+ to A++.

This title is so rare I had literally never seen one in my 25+ years as a dealer in audiophile-oriented recordings. The other bit of good news is that the vinyl is unusually quiet, playing as it does mostly Mint Minus. How many early RCA pressings can make such a claim? No more than five per cent I would think, if that. (more…)

Brahms and Dvorak / Serenades / Kertesz – Reviewed in 2011

More of the music of Johannes Brahms 

More of the music of Antonin Dvorak 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

This London Whiteback LP (CS 6594) has Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, which is where the Dvorak Serenade for 10 wind instruments, cello and bass can be found. It has lovely space and depth, with dead on tonality and lots of Tubey Magic.

If you love the sound of wind instruments (and who doesn’t? British Band Classics springs immediately to mind as one of the most enjoyable classical recordings I own), then this just may be the classical chamber recording for you. (more…)

Elgar / Enigma Variations / Monteux / LSO – Reviewed in 2005

More Elgar

More Enigma Variations / Monteux / LSO – 2005

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

Near Demo quality. Outstanding sound. One of the best Enigma Variations around. The Brahms on the second side is also a treat. Better than the LSC if my experience from many years ago still holds up. 

See more recordings engineered by Kenneth Wilkinson
See more recordings made in Kingsway Hall

Brahms & Dvorak / Hungarian & Slavonic Dances / Reiner – Reviewed in 2010

More of the music of Johannes Brahms 

More Hungarian & Slavonic Dances / Reiner 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

GOOD SOUND and QUIET VINYL on both sides of this British Stereo Treasury pressing — this one beat out some of our Blueback pressings! This one gives you more extension both up top and down low than the typical pressing. It’s not the most impressive record in the world, but it’s a nice step up from most copies out there and the vinyl is quiet. (more…)

Brahms / Piano Concerto #2 – Van Cliburn / Reiner / CSO – Reviewed in 2005

More of the music of Johannes Brahms 

More Piano Concerto #2 – Van Cliburn / Reiner / CSO 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

This White Dog pressing is the best sounding copy I’ve ever heard, much better than the earlier pressings! The piano doesn”t break up like it does on those, especially in the second movement. Finally the piano sounds right – solid and with the correct overtones. It goes without saying that this is an exceptionally good performance as well. One of the best of the Cliburn recordings.

Brahms / Piano Concerto No. 2 / Gilels / Reiner – Reviewed in 2010

More of the music of Johannes Brahms 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

This is one of the pressings we’ve discovered with Reversed Polarity

This Very Nice Plum Label Victrola has excellent sound — sweet and spacious — but only if you reverse your absolute phase. The vinyl is quiet and, most importantly, this is arguably the greatest performance of all time. The LSC might be a tad better overall; they’re so darn rare it’s hard to know.