Had I paid good money to buy this pressing in the hopes of hearing the supremely talented Yehudi Menuhin of 1961 tear it up on Paganini’s legendary first two concertos, I can tell you one thing: I would be pissed.
Where is the outrage in the audiophile community over this kind of trash? I have yet to see it. I suspect I will grow quite a bit older and quite a bit greyer before anyone else notices just how bad this record sounds. I hope I’m proven wrong.
Screechy, bright, shrill, thin and harsh, it’s hard to imagine worse sound from this piece of Heavy Vinyl trash.
NO warmth. NO sweetness. NO richness. NO Tubey Magic. In other words, NO trace of the original’s (or the early reissue’s) analog sound. I may own at most one or two classical CDs that sound this bad, and I own quite a few. I have to wonder how records this awful get released. Then again, the Heavy Vinyl Buyer of today is not known for his discrimination; if he were Sundazed and Analogue Productions would have gone out of business many years ago.(more…)
Experimenting with the VTA for this record we found a precise point where it all came together, far beyond whatever expectations we might have had at the time, which revealed a violin floating between the speakers, an effect that as audiophiles we appreciate for the magic trick that it is.
The sound of the wood of the instrument became so clear, the harmonic textures so natural, it was quite a shock to hear a good record somehow become an amazing one. All it took was a few moments of experimentation.
With the right VTA setting we immediately heard more harmonic detail, with no sacrifice in richness. That’s the clearest sign that your setup is right, or very close to it. (more…)
A superb UK pressing with a Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) side one, mated to a very good sounding side two – exceptionally QUIET vinyl too
Two of the truly great virtuoso/romantic violin concertos, boasting superb 1961 EMI Golden Age Analog Sound
The complete first Violin Concerto on this vintage LP has killer sound, right up there with our Shootout Winner from the last go around
It’s simply bigger, more transparent, less distorted, more three-dimensional and more REAL than most others
The best balance of orchestra and soloist we know of for both works, with sound to rival the greatest concerto recordings we’ve played
Another remarkable Demo Disc from the Golden Age of Vacuum Tube Recording Technology, in this case 1961, 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 40 years ago, not the bad modern mastering of today.)
This combination of old and new works wonders on this title as you will surely hear for yourself on this wonderful copy.
The sound of the best copies is transparent, undistorted, three-dimensional and REAL, without any sacrifice in solidity, richness or Tubey Magic. 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.(more…)
These sublime concertos are correct and live sounding throughout with both sides earning outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades
This copy showed that it had the balance of clarity and sweetness we were looking for in the tone of the violin, and the orchestra sounds amazing – so rich and full-bodied
Both works are performed with skill and passion by the incomparable Michael Rabin
This record puts most of the TAS Super Discs to shame, and it’s on a budget reissue label. Hey Harry, how about them apples!?
The AMAZING Michael Rabin is the principal violinist. His playing of these exceptionally difficult pieces is legendary. Recorded by Capitol in the late ’50s, his fiery performance is breathtaking, with the kind of energy, excitement and technical proficiency that is second to none in our experience.
There’s a very good chance that you have NEVER heard a better sounding violin concerto record than this one. It’s clearly superior to most of the pressings that audiophiles would hold dear; we’ve played them by the score. The fact that it’s on a budget label reissue label, to my mind, is the icing on the cake. (There’s a valuable lesson here to be learned if only more audiophiles will make the effort to learn it.)
There are two recordings of the Paganini Concerto No.1 we like currently; this one, and the Menuhin on EMI. We prefer Rabin’s sound and performance, but the EMI engineers managed to record their orchestra with slightly more natural fidelity. Both are of course superb. (We love the mono recording Ricci did for London in the mid-’50s but the sound and surface quality are not competitive with the two recordings above.)
This original Capitol record with Michael Rabin is ONE OF THE VERY BEST VIOLIN RECORDINGS we have ever played here at Better Records. The sound is OUT OF THIS WORLD! The immediacy of the violin tone is unbelievable — Rabin is in the room with you throughout the entirety of the record in a way that few recordings in our experience could hope to equal.
What more can we say, other than the music is every bit as good as the sound. If you love the Classical Romantic period, and who doesn’t, these selections will have you in a world of sound and music rarely matched by anything but the best in live performance.
Another TAS List Oversight
This is another record that is not on the TAS List, but would certainly take top honors in a head to head shootout with any of the violin works to be found there.(more…)
A nearly White Hot side two with the complete Saint-Saens work
Side two has explosive dynamics and near-perfect violin reproduction
Side one has the first movement of the Paganini Concerto No. 1
A Mohr/Layton Living Stereo Shaded Dog pressing from 1962
Side Two – Paganini – 2nd / 3rd Movements / Saint-Saens – Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso
A++ to A+++, nearly White Hot. Big and lively, and so involving. Huge space, great dynamics, so immediate and engrossing.
It’s one of the best sounding violin-led orchestral recordings we have played in recent memory, and we’ve played them by the hundreds and hundreds. (Practice makes perfect as they say.)
Side two of this copy easily puts most of the TAS Super Discs to shame. I would venture to say that there’s a very good chance that you have NEVER heard a violin-led orchestral recording as good as this one (that is, unless you own some of our White Hot Stamper violin records).
Side One – Paganini – Concerto No. 1 – First Movement(more…)
This exceptionally rare early London pressing features Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER and includes a wonderful performance of the Saint-Saens Violin Concerto No. 3
This is a spectacular recording – it’s big, clear, rich, dynamic, transparent and energetic, and is guaranteed to put to shame any Heavy Vinyl pressing of orchestral music you own
Campoli brings his warmth, feeling, and technical precision to these classical masterpieces
The Decca engineers captured the correct amount of detail in the bowing and fingering – it’s not overdone as it is in so many records that many audiophiles prefer, with the mics much too close to the strings
This is a WONDERFUL sounding violin concerto recording. It has TUBEY MAGIC as well as MUSIC to die for. What”s most interesting about the sound is how well the violin is integrated into the orchestra. On most RCAs, just to pick one golden age label to use as an example, the violin is typically hugely oversized and placed far in front of the orchestra. Not so here. The violin is of a whole with the orchestra, which makes for a much more natural and relaxed presentation. (more…)
Side two here earned a seriously good sonic grade of A++ for the two shorter works by Franck and Litolff respectively. The top end is extended and the overall sound is quite clear and natural.
Side one is not quite up to the sound heard on side two. We rate it A+. It’s a bit dark and there is some smear on the piano. However, this is a wonderfully well-recorded album, so even at one plus the sound is still quite respectable.(more…)
This London White Hot Stamper pressing has DEMO QUALITY SOUND on side two! Sound of this calibre is nothing less than SHOCKING. If you like the sound of solo violin — and who doesn’t — you will have a VERY hard time finding a better sounding recording of it than this. That’s assuming you can get your Vertical Tracking Angle (VTA) dead on the money, not something every audiophile can manage. If you can, lookout — you are in for a sonic treat.
And when one side of a record sounds this good, what are the chances that the other side will also be as good? Slim is the flip answer, but flip or not, it’s no less true. Although quite good in many respects, side one is clearly a step down. The statistical law of “regression toward the mean” would tell us it almost had to be. Side two is simply anoutlier in the world of violin records. I would not expect to hear many that sound as good in my lifetime, or at least in my audio lifetime.(more…)