_Composers – Mahler

Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with Solti on Decca/London

More Music Conducted by Georg Solti

Reviews and Commentaries for the Recordings of Kenneth Wilkinson

Deep bass; rich, smooth strings, lots of lovely hall space – this copy was right up there with the best we heard, and clearly won the shootout for side two. You will hear immediately why this side two could not be beat – it’s wonderful. (more…)

Mahler – A Decent Speakers Corner Reissue from 1996

More of the Music of Gustav Mahler

More Music Conducted by Georg Solti

Sonic Grade: B?

Probably one of the better Speakers Corner Decca reissues.

It was recorded in Kingsway Hall early in 1964, so it already had a lot going for it.

We haven’t played a copy of this reissue in years, but back in the day (1996 or thereabouts) we liked it, so let’s call it a “B” with the caveat that the older the review, the more likely we are to have changed our minds.

Obviously we can’t be sure we would still like it, and it’s very unlikely we would like it as much as we used to, but it’s probably a good reissue at the price, assuming the price is around $30.

As the years went by, we started to notice more and more problems with these pressings, and some time in the early 2000s we wrote about them in a commentary we called: The sonic signature of the modern Heavy Vinyl Classical Reissue in Four Words: Diffuse, Washed Out, Veiled, and Vague.


FURTHER READING

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What to Listen For on Classical Records

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Mahler / Das Lied Von Der Erde / Solti / CSO – Reviewed in 2006

More of the music of Gustav Mahler

More Music Conducted by Georg Solti

This Minty Decca pressing from 1972 sounds WONDERFUL — another Kenneth Wilkinson / Gordon Parry triumph. 

This recording is part of the Solti Decca Silver Jubilee, celebrating the 25th year of Solti’s collaboration with Decca.

(He started in 1947!) The Beethoven 9th on the TAS List, one of the all time great Beethoven recordings, is also part of that series. Judging by those two records, it appears that Decca still had their act together in 1972, long after other labels were producing garbage.

[As of about 2020 we have come to realize that the version of the Ninth Solti recorded for Decca in 1972 is nothing special. It suffers from the kind of opacity we discuss here. We Was Wrong, sorry!]

Mahler / Symphony #2 / Walter – Never Heard One with Good Sound

More of the music of Gustav Mahler

This is a Minty looking Columbia 6 Eye stereo LP with No Sign of Play (NSOP). The sound is not very good however. 

Mahler / Symphony #4 / Reiner – Reviewed in 2007

More of the music of Gustav Mahler

This Mahler work is very accessible and enjoyable. Lovely, smooth, sweet string tone. This, along with the 1st Symphony, are my favorites.  

Comparing the Classic Reissue with the white dog above reveals that Bernie Grundman got the tonal balance right (not a common occurrence), but the magic of the RCA string tone has mysteriously been replaced by the thick, glossy strings you might expect on a Phillips record.

Consider that the same effect could probably be achieved if you were to buy a Crown amplifier and hook it up to your speakers. I had a Crown DC-300A in 1973 and I don’t want it back.

Mahler / Symphony #1 / Haitink – Reviewed in 2006

One of Our Favorite Performances with Top Quality Sound

This IMMACULATE looking Philips Dutch Import LP is the best sounding version of this music I’ve ever heard and one of the all time great performances as well.

The Solti on 180g Decca is a good record. This is a great one. 

Mahler / Symphony No. 1 / Solti – Reviewed in 2010

More Music Conducted by Georg Solti

The sound is AMAZING on this minty Decca Black and Silver LP.

Guaranteed to trounce the Decca 180g pressing from 1996 (which is not a bad record by the way) or your money back.