- With two INCREDIBLE Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sides, this vintage British EMI import pressing could not be beat
- Tons of energy, loads of detail and texture, superb transparency and excellent clarity – the very definition of DEMO DISC sound
- The best sides were always the biggest, clearest and most three-dimensional, assuming they were able to retain the rich, natural, balanced tonality that is inherently key to a good record, or a great one in this case
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.
The Golden Age tape from 1961 has been mastered brilliantly with “modern” mastering equipment from 1967, 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.
You can be pretty sure of two things when you hear a record of this quality: one, the original won’t sound as good, having been cut on much cruder equipment.
[Note that in 2022 we would no longer make such a bold statement. We would require a number of originals to play in order to come to that conclusion, and since there is no early London pressing, only the pricey and hard to get hold of Decca, we never had any intention of going down that road.]
And two, no modern recutting of the tapes by the likes of Speakers Corner for example could begin to capture this kind of naturalistic sound. I have never heard a Heavy Vinyl pressing begin to do what this record is doing. This STS may be a London budget reissue pressing, but it was mastered by Decca, pressed in England on high quality vinyl, using fairly fresh tapes, and mastered about as well as a record can be mastered. The sound is REAL and BELIEVABLE.
When have you ever heard a modern remastering with this kind of depth and width to the soundstage? I have yet to have the pleasure and I’ve played scores of them, close to a hundred I would guess [this was written in 2012 and we have played a great many more than a hundred as of 2022].
We used to carry all that Heavy Vinyl back in the day and I played them and reviewed them as they came out, rejecting a good 80% right from the get go. None, not one, ever sounded like this.
Our Pricing from 2012
$175 for a reissue might seem to be a stretch, but we know an amazing record when we hear one, and we know that the next copy that comes along is very unlikely to sound as good as this one does. That’s simply “regression toward the mean,” a reality we have learned to respect.
We don’t sell our records based on their reputations. We sell them based on the sound inscribed in their grooves, and these are some mighty fine grooves on side two. A+++ White Hot Stamper Can’t Be Beat grooves!
A+++, even more open than the copy we thought was White Hot, with fuller vocals and more 3-D sound than we had any right to expect.
A True Demo Disc, that’s for sure.
- With excellent Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides, this original UK import pressing of these wonderful classical works will be hard to beat
- These sides are doing pretty much everything right – they’re rich, clear, undistorted, open, spacious, and has depth and transparency to rival the best recordings you may have heard
- Soriano’s piano is especially clear, solid, and present throughout Danzas Fantásticas, with practically no trace of vintage analog tube smear
- With STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades throughout, this vintage Decca pressing of these sublime classical works could not be beat
- Powerful energy, loads of detail and texture, superb transparency and excellent clarity – the very definition of DEMO DISC sound
- Richer, fuller and more Tubey Magical than other copies, with breathy vocals and rosiny, smooth strings
- We discovered to our surprise that the right reissues can sound just as good as the best early pressings – plenty of early LPs just sound like old records, which simply means that having a clean original is no guarantee of anything in the crazy world of records
- This link will take you to more of our Favorite Orchestral Performances with Top Quality Sound
- There are about 100 orchestral recordings we’ve awarded the honor of having the Best Performances with Demo Disc Sound, and this superb LP certainly deserve a place on that list
- You’ll find STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) Living Stereo sound throughout this vintage (but not original) RCA pressing of these wonderful classical compositions
- The rich, textured sheen of the strings the RCA engineers achieved in the ’50s and ’60s is a joy to hear throughout these pieces
- This is something the Heavy Vinyl crowd will never experience, because that sound just does not exist on modern remastered records, certainly not the way it does on the best vintage pressings
- The Tubey Magical richness is off the charts on this copy – if you want to know what kind of sound wins shootouts around these parts, this pressing will show you
- To see more of the best orchestral recordings with top quality sound we’ve done shootouts for, click here
- If you’re a fan of Rachmaninoff and/or Rubinstein, this Living Stereo from 1960 belongs in your collection.
- The complete list of titles from 1960 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.
Until we heard the right later pressings, we had always been disappointed with this TAS List recording, wondering what all the fuss was about. The original Shaded Dog pressings we had played left a lot to be desired. Like many of the old records we audition, it badly lacked both highs and lows, our definition of boxy sound.
Well, now we know. The early Shaded Dog pressings have consistently worse sound than the reissues we are offering here.
We never offered the record in Hot Stamper form because we didn’t think the sound of the originals was all that impressive, TAS List or no TAS List.
Mystery solved, and truly Hot Stampers have now been made available to the discriminating audiophile.
Harry’s list, as was so often the case, did not provide the information needed to find the pressing that captured all the qualities of the recording the way this one does.
Did Harry have a good later pressing? Did he have an original and simply liked it more than we did? We’ll never know.
This copy from years ago was 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 [now years 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 prompts the question — why is no one exploring, discovering and then bringing to light the exceptional qualities of these wonderful vintage recordings (besides your humble writer of course)?
HP has passed on. Who today is fit to carry his mantle into the coming world of audio?
Looking around I find very few prospects. None in fact. But then again, I’m not looking very hard.
I could care less what any of these people have to say about the sound quality of the records they play.
They all seem to like records that don’t sound very good to us, so why put any faith in their reviews for other records?
Reviewer malpractice? We’ve been writing about it for more than 25 years.
Spain has been an audiophile favorite for a very long time. Everybody should know it by now, what with both Chesky and Classic Records having remastered 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 resulting products of their efforts turned out to be.
No doubt Analogue Productions will see fit to ruin the recording the way they ruined Scheherazade.
This has never been one of the best Living Stereo titles in our experience. The highest grade I would give it would probably be a B.
“Our experience” is the key phrase in the above sentence. I can’t say there aren’t amazing sounding pressings of the album, it’s simply the case that we have never played one.
If I saw one for cheap I would of course pick it up, but in the modern world of records, that is very unlikely indeed.
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.
The piano is clean and clear, the strings are rich and textured.
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).
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.
- Outstanding Double Plus (A+++) sound throughout this RCA Shaded Dog pressing in Living Stereo – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- These sides are doing pretty much everything right – they’re rich, clear, undistorted, open, spacious, and have depth and transparency to rival the best recordings you may have heard
- The music flows from the speakers effortlessly. You are there.
- This record will have you asking why so few Living Stereo pressings actually do what this one does. The more critical listeners among you will recognize that this is a very special copy indeed. Everyone else will just enjoy the hell out of it.
- If you’re a fan of orchestral showpieces such as these, this Living Stereo from 1959 belongs in your collection.
- The complete list of titles from 1959 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.
Years ago we wrote:
This copy was so good it almost left me speechless. 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. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I found out just 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 prompts the question — why is no one exploring, discovering and then bringing to light the exceptional qualities of these wonderful vintage recordings (besides those of us here, of course)?
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…)