_Composers – Chopin

Various / Heart of the Piano Concerto – Rubinstein – Reviewed in 2008

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Various / Heart of the Piano Concerto

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

This is an EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD SOUNDING Shaded Dog pressing with fairly quiet vinyl. What’s surprising about this is how transparent and low distortion it is. Just as with Destination Stereo (LSC 2307), the excerpts here frequently sound better than they do on the original complete performances. Rubinstein’s piano is solid and clear sounding, which is rarely the case, especially for his Beethoven concertos. Those almost never sound good, but the excerpt here for Concerto #3 is excellent. 

Chopin – Scherzo #2 – Auer – Direct to Disc

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More Scherzo #2 – Auer

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

This is an IMMACULATE RCA Direct-to-Disc LP with SUPERB SOUND! This recording is every bit as good as the famous RCA Beethoven Direct Disc and ten times as rare. You will have a very hard time finding a better sounding solo piano recording.  [Or so we thought in 2008.]

Offenbach & Chopin / Gaite Parisienne & Les Sylphides – Reverse Your Polarity

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Reverse Your Polarity

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

Amazing in every way! The top end of this record is clear, clean and correct. No other copy sounded like this one on the first side. When you hear all the percussion instruments — the tambourines, triangles, wood blocks and what-have-you — you know instantly that they sound RIGHT.

The overall sound is very different from many of the other recordings of the work that we have offered in the past. Rather than smooth, rich and sweet, the sound here is big and bold and clear like nothing we have ever played.

This is Front Row Center sound for those whose systems can reproduce it!

And this is truly a top performance by Fistoulari and the Royal Philharmonic. I know of none better. For music and sound this is the one!

Side One

The Triple Plus sound makes this THE Gaite Parisienne to Own.

If you have a hot copy of LSC 1817 consider yourself very fortunate. If your copy of LSC 1817 has never thrilled you, then this pressing will beat the pants off it, as it is pretty darn THRILLING. Even if you do have a great 1817 I would still put this up against it and expect it to win the shootout.

It’s clear, clean and above all, TRANSPARENT. This is a claim no modern remastered record, in our opinion, can make. The energy is spectacular on this side. Not only that, but listen to the bite of the brass — that’s some high-rez sound! (more…)

Chopin, Rachmaninoff et al. / Richter – Reviewed in 2011

More of the music of Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) 

Chopin, Rachmaninoff et al. / Richter 

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

This collection of WONDERFUL solo piano works, here performed by one of our favorite pianists. Sviatoslav Richter, has SUPERB Living Stereo sound, earning a Super Hot Stamper sonic grade on side one. On this White Dog original pressing the piano is present and clear, with no smear whatsoever. Although the sound is big and rich, without more weight to the piano — the kind you rarely hear outside of a live event — we could not award the full Three Pluses. In practically every other way the sound was Hard To Fault (HTF).  (more…)

Rachmaninoff & Liszt / Favorite Classics for Piano / Pennario – Reviewed in 2014

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Favorite Classics for Piano / Pennario

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

White Hot Stamper sound on side two of this solo piano recording. It’s big, rich and above all REAL sounding, with natural studio space. The legendary soloist Leonard Pennario is presented here at the height of his powers. Superb choice of material, from Clair De Lune to Liebestraum to the Hungarian Rhapsody No . 2.

On the rare Stereo pressing of course — we want to hear all that studio space reproduced, just as your two ears would have heard it (more or less). (more…)

Chopin / The Mazurkas / Rubinstein / 3 LP Box Set – Reviewed in 2004

More of the music of Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) 

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

There’s some wonderful music and wonderful sound in here. The stamper should be the same with better vinyl. Side 2, Cuts 3, 4 & 5 are gorgeous! This music has so much soul, and shows Rubinstein at his greatest. Brailowsky on Columbia is also fabulous. You can’t go wrong with either one. A beautiful set that belongs in your collection. Chopin’s music is sublime, as anyone who saw The Pianist knows full well. 

I had the opportunity to hear Lincoln Mayorga himself perform these works from memory in a church not far from here. I am no expert on these works but I thought he played them about as well as they could be played.

Chopin / The Chopin Scherzos / Rubinstein – Reviewed in 2008

More of the music of Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) 

More The Chopin Scherzos / Rubinstein 

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

This is an RCA Living Stereo reissue LP with EXCELLENT SOUND. The strengths of this particular LP are not hard to hear: super quiet vinyl, which no original would have, and super transparent mids and highs, again something that no original (in our experience) has ever had. 

Like most of Rubinstein’s records on RCA, there is no real weight to the piano, but at least on this pressing the smear and noise common to practically every original is GONE!

Lovely music too. 

Philippe Entremont – The Chopin I Love

More of the music of Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) 

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

This is an undiscovered Columbia gem from 1970. Both musically and sonically this record is superb. Who knew Columbia could record a piano this well? You could play fifty vintage piano recordings and not find one as good as this! We know, we’ve played plenty, including a number of Entremont’s Columbia records that don’t sound too good to us. Maybe we need to find a Hot Stamper of some of the weaker titles, but it hasn’t happened yet. A word of advice: avoid the piano concertos. We have yet to hear a good one. Those steely Columbia strings are far from our idea of good sound.

These solo piano pieces are performed with consummate skill and deep feeling by the legendary Phillipe Entremont. His liner notes are beautifully written and insightful as well — well worth reading.

Fortunately this record has no strings, just a solid, clear piano in a big hall. (more…)

Brahms, Handel, Chopin – Lincoln Mayorga, Pianist – Reverse Your Polarity!

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More Direct to Disc recordings

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This IMMACULATE Sheffield Direct-to-Disc LP with Very Little Sign Of Play (VLSOP) is one of the best Sheffields. Lincoln Mayorga is an accomplished classical pianist: this is arguably his best work. (I had a chance to see him perform at a recital of Chopin’s works early in 2010 and he played superbly — for close to two hours without the aid of sheet music I might add.) 

You might want to try reversing the phase when playing this LP; it definitely helps the sound, a subject we discuss below.

This is another one of the Pressings We’ve Discovered with Reversed Polarity.

Reversing the absolute phase on this record recently was quite interesting. The sound of the piano itself was already very good. With the phase reversed what really changed with the sense of space surrounding it, which immediately became much more palpable. The piano, though tonally similar to the way it sounded with the phase left alone, came to life more — more solid and punchy and percussive.

How do you change the absolute phase you ask? You must either switch the positive and negative at the speaker, the amp, or at the head shell leads, or you must have a switch that inverts phase on your preamp or phono stage. (The EAR 324p we use has just such a switch and let me tell you, it comes in very handy in situations like these.) If you can’t do any of those, or are unwilling to do any of those, this record will still sound good. It just won’t sound as good.

Chopin – Fantasy-Impromptu and More with Philippe Entremont

More Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)

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

The subtitle of the album reads Philippe Entremont Plays Best-Loved Piano Pieces.

After hearing this one as well as another exceptionally good sounding copy, we would like to amend that to Philippe Entremont Plays the Hell Out of These Best-Loved Piano Pieces.

Truly this is an undiscovered gem from Columbia in 1966. (more…)