Classical – Large Orchestral Works

Grieg / Peer Gynt / Fjeldstad

More of the music of Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)

More Peer Gynt / Fjeldstad

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

One of the greatest records in the London catalog. As you may have read elsewhere on the site, the Londons to me have the best overall sound of any Golden Age label. As good as RCA and Mercury were, the Londons are more consistently sweet, tonally correct, dynamic and natural sounding. This is a perfect example.  

Amazing DEMO QUALITY SOUND. This is the best sounding copy of this record I have ever heard! Side two is astonishingly good: there’s nothing like it.

Gilbert & Sullivan Overtures / Ward

More Gilbert & Sullivan

More Overtures / Ward 2008

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

DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND on side one!  

If you like records that are ALIVE, with music that JUMPS out of the speakers, this LP is for you. You will have a hard time finding a better sounding record.

The first 10 seconds of side one is all you need to hear to know you are in the presence of LIVING STEREO SOUND AT ITS BEST. (more…)

Tchaikovsky on Vinyl – These Didn’t Make the Grade

More Tchaikovsky

More of that Didn’t Make the Grade

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These are just some of the recordings of the music of Tchaikovsky that we’ve auditioned and found wanting. Without going into specifics we’ll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place on our site, in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.  

Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.    

Delibes / Sylvia and Coppelia / Rignold – Reviewed in 2008

More of the music of Leo Delibes (1836-1891) 

More Sylvia and Coppelia / Rignold 

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

DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND. This record was thoroughly enjoyed by its previous owner and I know why: it’s great! This title is also extremely rare for some reason. One of the top five Vics. Look for a clean one; you won’t be disappointed. 

[This is a very old commentary so take it for what it’s worth.]

Our Favorite Tchaikovsky 1812 – The Alwyn Performance on Decca

More Peter llyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

1812 / Marche Slave / Alwyn

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

A BEYOND White Hot Quadruple Plus side one – hear Tchaikovsky’s 1812 in Demo Disc sound. This is the most exciting and beautifully played 1812 we know of, with the best sound ever to boot on this copy. This is an exceptional Decca remastering of a superb Golden Age recording on very good vinyl.

The WHOMP FACTOR on this side one has to be heard to be believed. If you’ve got the woofers for it this record is going to rock your world!

Strings Are Key

The lower strings are rich and surrounded by lovely hall space. This is not a sound one hears on record often enough and it is glorious when a pressing as good as this one can make that sound clear to you. (more…)

Debussy / Images Pour Orchestre / Argenta

More of the music of Claude Debussy 

More Images Pour Orchestre / Argenta 

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

Presenting Super Hot Stamper sound on side two of this Stereo Treasury LP, which is where this superbly performed, wonderul sounding Iberia can be found. Although lacking in orchestral weight, from about 200 cycles up this copy is perfection. In its own way — especially on systems with not a lot of firepower down low — this side two qualifies as a Demo Disc. 

Argenta is the man for this music; he brings out the folky quality in the work. We much prefer Argenta’s performance to Reiner’s on LSC 2222, which was one of the early releases from Classic Records as well, poorly remastered of course and best avoided. The Classic may be on Harry’s list — sad but true — but that certainly has no bearing on the fact that it’s not a very good record. This STS LP will show you exactly what’s missing from that Heavy Vinyl pressing. (more…)

Delibes / Coppelia & Sylvia / Ansermet – London Vs. Decca, Again

More of the music of Leo Delibes (1836-1891) 

More Coppelia & Sylvia / Ansermet 

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

Once again, the right Decca reissue blows the doors off the original we played. This has lately become a pattern, but keep in mind it’s a pattern that’s reliable less than half the time, if memory is any guide. Many of the Decca reissues we’ve played over the last few years have failed badly in a head to head with their earlier-mastered and -pressed counterparts. But the ones that beat all comers are the ones that stick in our minds and show up on our site. Clearly a case of confirmation bias, but at least we know something about our own biases. 

Record collectors and record collecting audiophiles will tell you it shouldn’t happen, but fools like us, who refuse to accept the prognostications of those supposedly “in the know,” have done the work and come up with the experimental data that’s proven them wrong again and again.

Sort of. We had one, and only one, pressing of the original London (CS 6185), and boy was it a mess — crude as crude can be. It sounded just like an “old record” — we’ve played them by the thousands, so we know that sound fairly well at this stage of the game — not the Decca engineered and mastered vintage collectible we know it to be. (more…)

Beethoven / Symphony #4 / Monteux

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven 

More Beethoven / Symphony #4 / Monteux 

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

BOTH sides of this early Plum Label Victrola pressing earned a Super Hot Stamper sonic grade, with the kind of string tone only found on the best of the Living Stereo releases and other top quality Golden Age recordings. Here is the kind of sound that Classic Records could not ignore, even though it was only ever made available as part of RCA’s budget reissue series, Victrola. Don’t let its budget status fool you — this pressing puts to shame most of what came out on the full price Living Stereo label.

And Monteux is once again superb. (This week we also listed his Tchaikovsky 6th recording with the Boston Symphony. Two finer records have rarely made it to the site on the same day. And both budget releases to boot.)

We played a large group of Beethoven’s symphonies this week and this was clearly one of the best, if not THE best. Well recorded Beethoven is hard to come by. The box sets we played were mediocre at best, and that left us with only a handful of clean early pressings. These records just aren’t out there like they used to be. (more…)

Albeniz / Falla / Granados / Spain / Reiner

More of the music of Isaac Albeniz 

More Albeniz / Falla / Granados / Spain / Reiner 

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

Spain has been an audiophile favorite for a very long time. Everybody should know it by now, what with both Chesky and Classic Records remastering it in the ’90s, dismally of course, as neither of these companies showed the slightest sense that they understood how lackluster, if not downright awful, the products of their efforts turned out.

No doubt Analogue Productions will see fit to ruin the recording the way they ruined Scheherazade. (more…)

TAS List Thoughts on Albeniz – Where on The List Is This Record?

More of the music of Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909) 

More TAS List Thoughts on Albeniz 

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Another nail in the coffin for HP’s TAS List. The fact that questionable entries such as Reiner’s Pines of Rome make the cut, and an amazing recording such as this doesn’t, should tell you everything you need to know concerning the value of such an incomplete list.

This is truly DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND! Records simply do not get any more spacious, open, transparent, rich and sweet.

Our Hot Stamper Classical Pressings will be dramatically more transparent, open, clear and just plain REAL sounding, because these are all the areas in which heavy vinyl pressings tend to fall short in in our experience.


Further Reading

Check out our new section: The Better Records Hall of Fame for Orchestral Music.

We have a section for all the Classical Records we have reviewed on the site to date.

We also have a section for all the Heavy Vinyl Classical Records we have reviewed on the site.

We have a number of Commentaries specifically addressing issues we’ve encountered when playing classical recordings.