The Music of Paganini Available Now
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Sonic Grade: C
We used to sell the Testament pressing you see pictured to the left. Many years later, in our review for the budget Angel Seraphim pressing, we said:
This copy KILLS the out of print Testament 180 gram version from circa 2000 (which is not a bad record by any means). Can’t say how it compares to the original — we haven’t had one in years.
When I was selling the Testament Heavy Vinyl pressing all those years ago, I had never heard an original.
But doesn’t it strike you as sad that even the cheapest domestic reissue from the ’70s (I think that’s when it was released), put out on a budget label, absolutely mops the floor with the higher priced, much more prestigious, ostensibly superior, imported from the UK Testament LP?
I was an audiophile then and I’m an audiophile now, and I am glad to say I’ve learned a few things about records in the last twenty or so years.
One of the things I leaned was that most Heavy Vinyl pressings are a fraud perpetrated on a far-too-credulous segment of the record buying public, principally made up of record buyers who describe themselves as audiophiles.
I fell for the hype twenty years ago but, as I say, I’ve learned a few things since then and now I know just how easily fooled most audiophiles are when it comes to buying records, especially the ones marketed to them by the major audiophile record dealers (who, truth be told, make even worse sounding records than this Testament. I’m looking at you, Mobile Fidelity and Acoustic Sounds).
Our Most Recent Review of a Hot Stamper Seraphim Pressing
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.)
More entries in our Well Recorded Classical Albums – The Core Collection
Well Recorded Classical Albums from The Core Collection available on our site