_Composers – Falla

Rodgers – Slaughter on Tenth Avenue with Arthur Fiedler in Living Stereo

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This record is so good on side two it almost left me speechless. How is this title not on the TAS List? Why is it not one of the most sought-after recordings in the RCA canon?

Beats the hell out of me. But wait just one minute. Until a month ago I surely had no idea how good this record could sound, so how can I criticize others for not appreciating a record I had never taken the time to appreciate myself?

Which more than anything else simply begs the question — why is no one exploring, discovering and then elucidating for the record loving public the wonderful qualities of these vintage recordings (besides your humble writer of course)?

HP has passed on; who is fit to carry his mantle into the coming world of audio? Looking around I find very few prospects.

But I digress.

Side Two

White Hot and simply amazing on every level. Rich, clear, undistorted, open, spacious, with depth and transparency like few recordings you may have heard, the music flows from the speakers effortlessly. You are there.

The loudest brass and string sections of the music are never brash or shrill, something that no other side could manage.

Side One

My notes read: The Big Living Stereo Sound, and man is it ever! The players are arrayed on a huge stage, with transparency that lets you hear all the way to the back of the hall.

This record will have you asking why so few Living Stereo pressings actually do what this one does. The more critical listener will recognize that this is a very special copy indeed. Everyone else will just enjoy the hell out of it. (more…)

Falla / Three-Cornered Hat / Argenta (CS 6050) – This Copy Sure Was a Letdown

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Sonic Grade: F

This London original pressing with 1K/1K stampers was so bright, dry, and shrill I could hardly stand to listen to it for more than the half minute it took to realize it was not going to get any better. It’s bad enough to go right into our Hall of Shame.

The copy we had back in 2010 was a very good sounding record, or so we thought. Maybe we were wrong! You can read all about it below.

Falla’s Three-Cornered Hat is positively WONDERFUL on this copy (A++), and the Sinfonia Sevillana by Turina on side two is every bit as good! The second suite on side one is particularly lovely — check out how rich and full the sound is. Side two has a HUGE soundstage, as wide as they come. The sound is very rich and full of audiophile colors — this is the kind of record that you’re going to love playing for your audio pals!

Argenta brings the authentic Spanish flavor out in these works. Like so many audiophile reviewers over the years, you may find these performances definitive.

The strings on the first side are a bit dry to start, kind of like the sound many of you will recognize from Mercury’s classical records. Still, there’s much to like about the sound and you’ll have a very hard time finding a copy that’s any better. Most pressings do not have such an extended top end, and that quality here really brings this music to life. (more…)

Falla / Three-Cornered Hat / Argenta (CS 6050) – Reviewed in 2010

More of the music of Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)

More Three-Cornered Hat / Argenta (CS 6050)

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

Falla’s Three-Cornered Hat is positively WONDERFUL on this copy (A++), and the Sinfonia Sevillana by Turina on side two is every bit as good! The second suite on side one is particularly lovely — check out how rich and full the sound is. Side two has a HUGE soundstage, as wide as they come. The sound is very rich and full of audiophile colors — this is the kind of record that you’re going to love playing for your audio pals!  

Argenta brings the authentic Spanish flavor out in these works. Like so many audiophile reviewers over the years, you may find these performances definitive.

The strings on the first side are a bit dry to start,  like the sound many of you will recognize from Mercury’s classical records. Still, there’s much to like about the sound and you’ll have a very hard time finding a copy that’s any better. Most pressings do not have such an extended top end, and that quality here really brings this music to life. (more…)

Ravel, Falla, Weber & Berlioz – Alborado…, Bolero, more – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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Side two here has a SUPERB sounding Bolero, and an EVEN BETTER Alborado del Gracioso, possibly the best we have ever heard. True A Triple Plus sound.

As you probably know, Bolero is very hard to find on vinyl properly performed with audiophile quality sound. The sound of Bolero here is excellent: very natural, not harsh at the end where the trombones comes in, and the not too compressed. (This is probably the biggest problem with most recordings of the work. Compression makes the quieter parts ravishingly open and clear, and positively ruins the climax with distorted compressor overload.) 

Alborado… has some of the best sound we have heard on London. It’s spacious, dynamic and clear. With an extended top end the strings and horns sound harmonically correct. The orchestra from top to bottom is tonally correct as well. (more…)

Falla / Nights In the Gardens of Spain/ Argenta – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

More of the music of Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)

More Nights In the Gardens of Spain/ Argenta

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

DEMO QUALITY SOUND from 1959 on this famous TAS List Super Disc recording. This copy of CS 6046 has an especially good Falla side, with Super Hot Stamper sound and fairly quiet vinyl. The Rodrigo side is no slouch either, earning a grade of A+, although it could certainly use more top end (which was the case last time we did a shootout with this title as I recall). 

The Falla side is amazingly natural sounding; the string tone is Right On The Money, something that cannot be said of most vintage Living Stereos and Mercury pressings.

The overall sound is rich, sweet and tubey magical. The hall is spacious, with superb depth, allowing your speakers to simply disappear and an orchestra to appear in their place. (more…)

Falla / El Amor Brujo & El Retablo de Maese Pedro / Argenta – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

More of the music of Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)

El Amor Brujo & El Retablo de Maese Pedro / Argenta

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

The famous Ansermet recording of El Retablo de Maese Pedro (Master Peter’s Puppet Show) has been mastered on this London Stereo Treasury Import LP to near PERFECTION. This is High Fidelity Audiophile Demo Disc Quality Gold, with bells, drums, voices, trumpets, strings, woodwinds and more, all sounding so real it will take your breath away. This Golden Age tape has been mastered brilliantly with “modern” mastering equipment (from the mid-’60s, not the low-rez junk they’re forced to make do with these days), giving you, the listener, sound that only the best of both worlds can offer.   (more…)

Falla / Three Cornered Hat (Complete Ballet) / Ansermet

More of the music of Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)

Three Cornered Hat (Complete Ballet)

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

This London is energetic, dynamic, spacious, transparent, rich and sweet. James Walker was the producer, Roy Wallace the engineer for these 1961 sessions in Geneva’s glorious Victoria Hall. It’s yet another remarkable disc from the Golden Age of Vacuum Tube Recording Technology.  (more…)

Chabrier / Espana & more / Bernstein

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

The Chabrier side of this 360 label record has SUPER HOT STAMPER sound, which is positively SHOCKING for a Columbia recording. Dry, shrill and lean, most Columbia pressings don’t last ten seconds on our turntable these days — but this one sure did! Played it all the way through as a matter of fact. (We love Espana. Who doesn’t?)

Is it as rich and tubey magical as the best Londons, RCAs and Vanguards from the Golden Age? No, not really — that would be a bit much to expect. It does have some of that sound, and that alone is remarkable considering how few Columbia pressings have any at all. (more…)

Falla / El Retablo de Maese Pedro / Argenta – Reviewed in 2007

More of the music of Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)

More El Retablo de Maese Pedro / Argenta

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

DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND!

The Falla work here is demonstration quality. It’s the reason people love this record.

Grieg / Piano Concerto / Rubinstein – Reviewed in 2010

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This Shaded Dog pressing has exceptionally lively and dynamic sound on side two, which earned an A++ grade and plays quietly to boot! The sound is BIG and BOLD enough to fill up your listening room and then some. Side one is strong as well earning an A+ grade and also playing quietly. The piano is clean and clear, and the strings are rich and textured, It’s practically impossible to find a Rubinstein record that plays Mint Minus, but this one does! And his performance of this wonderful work is superb, as is his performance of the shorter coupling works on side two (which actually have the best sound here). 

Living Stereo MAGIC. This is wonderfully recorded music. It has a very natural orchestral perspective and superb string tone. It also boasts a correctly-sized piano, which is quite unusual for Rubinstein’s recordings.  (more…)