_Composers – Albeniz

Albeniz / Turina – Iberia / Danzas Fantasticas

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

Decca and London Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

  • A huge hall, correct string tone, spacious and open as practically any orchestral recording you can find
  • Listen to the plucked basses – clear, not smeary, with no sacrifice in richness. Take it from us, the guys that play classical recordings by the score, this is hard for a record to do!
  • Ernst Ansermet conducted some of the best sounding records ever made — here are some of the ones we’ve reviewed

The sound of this copy is so transparent, undistorted, three-dimensional and REAL, without any sacrifice in solidity, richness or Tubey Magic, that we knew we had a real winner on our hands as soon as the needle hit the groove.

We were impressed with the fact that it excelled in so many areas of reproduction. The illusion of disappearing speakers is one of the more attractive aspects of the sound here, pulling the listener into the space of the concert hall in an especially engrossing way.

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Albeniz / Suite Espanola / De Burgos – Such a Dynamic Recording

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

Decca and London Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

  • With two Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sides, we guarantee you’ve never heard Suite Espanola sound remotely as good as it does on this amazing London pressing
  • The orchestral power on display is positively breathtaking – few recordings we know of are this DYNAMIC and EXCITING
  • Wilkie’s Decca Tree recording is overflowing with the kind of clear, spacious, realistic sound that can only be found on the best vintage vinyl LPs
  • Performances and sound like no other – De Burgos’s Suite Espanola is practically in a league of its own

Wow, is this record ever DYNAMIC! I would put it right up there with the most dynamic recordings we have played over the course of the last twenty five years. It also has tons of DEPTH. The brass is at the far back of the stage, just exactly where they would be placed in the concert hall, which greatly adds to the realism of the recording.

Note that careful VTA adjustment for a record with this kind of dynamic energy is a must. Having your front end carefully calibrated to this record is the only way to guarantee there is no distortion or shrillness in even the loudest passages.

What to Listen For (WTLF)

Clear castanets.

Big bass drum thwacks.

Crescendos that build to intense climaxes.

We Was Wrong (Already?)

The last time we did this shootout we noted:

The strings may not be quite as sweet as the best earlier Londons, but the trade off is well worth it when you hear a record with this kind of LIFE and so little distortion. Rich strings (or as rich as they can be in 1969, a good ten years after the amazingly Tubey Magical recordings of the ’50s).

This time around we heard plenty of Tubey Magic on our Shootout Winning pressing. Did we find a hotter one than last time? Are we doing a better job of bringing out that quality during playback?  Would this pressing hold its own against another recording made in Kingsway Hall a decade earlier?

Yes. No. Maybe? Who really knows?

We will leave it to the lucky customer who ends up with this killer copy to tell us. (more…)

Albeniz / Turina – Iberia / Danzas Fantasticas – Another Knockout Recording Conducted by Ernst Ansermet

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

Decca and London Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

  • We have some good sounding reissues with condition issues, but they do not win shootouts the way the right originals do
  • A huge hall, correct string tone, spacious and open as practically any orchestral recording you can find
  • Listen to the plucked basses – clear, not smeary, with no sacrifice in richness. Take it from us, the guys that play classical recordings by the score, this is hard for a record to do!
  • Ernst Ansermet conducted some of the best sounding records ever made — here are some of the ones we’ve reviewed

The sound of this copy is so transparent, undistorted, three-dimensional and REAL, without any sacrifice in solidity, richness or Tubey Magic, that we knew we had a real winner on our hands as soon as the needle hit the groove.

We were impressed with the fact that it excelled in so many areas of reproduction. The illusion of disappearing speakers is one of the more attractive aspects of the sound here, pulling the listener into the space of the concert hall in an especially engrossing way.

Victoria Hall

These sessions were recorded in Geneva’s glorious Victoria Hall. Released in 1960, CS 6194 is yet another remarkable disc from the Golden Age of Vacuum Tube Recording.

The gorgeous hall the Suisse Romande recorded in was possibly the best recording venue of its day, perhaps of all time. More amazing sounding recordings were made there than in any other hall we know of. There is a solidity and richness to the sound that goes beyond all the other recordings we have played, yet clarity and transparency are not sacrificed in the least.

It’s as wide, deep and three-dimensional as any, which is of course all to the good, but what makes the sound of these recordings so special is the weight and power of the brass, combined with timbral accuracy of the instruments in every section.

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John Williams / Guitar Concertos – Superb Sound from Columbia in 1977

Another Record We’ve Discovered with (Potentially) Excellent Sound…

and One We Will Probably Never Shootout Again

Some records never justified the time and money required to find Hot Stamper pressings of them.
This is one such album, and the link above will take you to many more.

This Columbia record from 1977 has GLORIOUS Demo Disc Quality sound on its White Hot side one, rivaling the very best orchestral guitar recordings by the likes of Rodrigo, Falla and Albeniz on Golden Age London vinyl we have ever heard.

If I could have only one guitar concerto recording in my collection, there’s a very good chance I would choose this one — that’s of course assuming I could have a copy that sounds as good as this one does on side one. It’s spacious and open and three-dimensional in a way that few classical recordings we play are, and we an awful lot of top quality classical records. 

We would love to find some nice London guitar concerto records to offer our customers, but these days such records are very hard to find and often too expensive for us to buy when we do.

Decca and London Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

We found this one, however, and although it may not be from the Golden Age or on London, it sounds to these ears every bit as good as any guitar concerto record I can remember hearing from that era or that label.

And the music is sublime. I heard this piece at a customer’s home in a very large room with a high ceiling, the speakers pulled well out from the walls. The speakers disappeared, leaving sound that was nothing less than glorious, as big as the room and as natural as any I had heard up until that time. That was about ten years ago. I’ve lusted for a huge dedicated room ever since.

It took us many years to find enough copies of the album to do a shootout. This is the only one with a White Hot side one. It’s by far the best on that side. (more…)

Albeniz / Iberia from 1960 – Amazing on the Original and the Right Reissues Too

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 A Top Quality Reissue (Potentially of Course)

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 A Wonderful Original (On the Right Pressing, Again, Of Course)

James Walker was the producer, Roy Wallace the engineer for these sessions from May of 1960 in Geneva’s glorious sounding Victoria Hall. It’s yet another remarkable Demo Disc from the Golden Age of Vacuum Tube Recording Technology, with the added benefit of mastering using the more modern cutting equipment of the ’70s. (We are of course here referring to the good modern mastering of 30+ years ago, not the bad modern mastering of today.)

The combination of old and new works wonders on this title as you will surely hear for yourself on both of these better than Super Hot sides.

The sound of this copy is so transparent, undistorted, three-dimensional and REAL, without any sacrifice in solidity, richness or Tubey Magic, that we knew we had a real winner on our hands as soon as the needle hit the groove.

We were impressed with the fact that it excelled in so many areas of reproduction. The illusion of disappearing speakers is one of the more attractive aspects of the sound here, pulling the listener into the space of the concert hall in an especially engrossing way.

Side One – Iberia (1-4)

A huge hall, correct string tone, spacious and open as practically any orchestral recording you can find! (more…)

Albeniz / Suite Espanola / De Burgos – Our Shootout Winner from 2006

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

Decca and London Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

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This London LP from 1968 has some of the MOST DYNAMIC SOUND I have ever heard on a classical recording. The sound here is BIGGER and BOLDER than any pressing of this record I’ve ever played. The dynamics are absolutely startling in their power here. To be fair the other copy we have on the site has a more extended top end, which is a shortcoming that this copy has — it’s a bit rolled off in the extreme highs. But that other copy lacks weight, so that the orchestral climaxes are thin and feel strained. (more…)

Albeniz / Falla / Granados / Spain / Reiner

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

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?

The fact that 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. [We happen to love the Reiner Pines of Rome now, by the way.]

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.

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

Decca and London Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

Chopin – Fantasy-Impromptu and More with Philippe Entremont

More of the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

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…)