_Composers – Rodrigo

Rodrigo – Boieldieu / Harp Concertos / Zabaleta – Reviewed in 2011

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

This White Hot Stamper pressing of DG’s recording of Rodrigo’s famous concerto for harp has amazing DEMO DISC SOUND, but only on side two. The harp is clear, with no smear whatsoever, but what’s really shocking is how huge the soundstage is, and how much depth it has. While playing this side the speakers just disappeared and a huge concert hall appeared in their place! The harmonics of the harp are rendered superbly well. It’s hard to imagine one could record a harp concerto better than this. It is superb in every way.

Heavy Vinyl

About ten years ago a Heavy Vinyl version of this album was remastered and pressed by Speakers Corner, part of their disastrous foray into the DG catalog. This title was decent, the Beethoven Violin Concerto was okay, as was one of the Tchaicovsky Symphonies with Mravinsky (#5), but the rest were just plain awful, with disgracefully bad sound.

Funny, I don’t recall reading any bad reviews of these albums at the time. Oh, that’s right, these Heavy Vinyl records never get bad reviews, no matter how lifeless, opaque and shrill they might sound. Except from us of course. We were writing about them back in the day and trying to sell just the better ones. (We have since given up in that effort as so few are really very good when you get right down to it.) (more…)

Rodrigo & Falla – Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra / Argenta

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  • A stunning copy of this London album from 1959 with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades
  • The sound here is glorious, full of all of the qualities that make listening to classical music in analog so involving
  • The presentation is shockingly three-dimensional, with an exceptionally wide and deep stage
  • The sound of the orchestra is as rich and sweet as would be expected from the Decca engineers, yet the guitar is clear, present and appropriately placed relative to the ensemble around it
  • Managing to balance, so effortlessly it seems, these two dissimilar elements, in 1959 no less, requires an enormous amount of skill and effort
  • Fifty-odd years later, those of us with good turntables are profoundly thankful for their achievement, with respect to both performance and sound

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Rodrigo – Boieldieu / Harp Concertos – Speakers Corner Does a Disservice to DG

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Sonic Grade: C-

About ten years ago [twenty by now] a Heavy Vinyl version of this album was remastered and pressed by Speakers Corner, part of their disastrous foray into the DG catalog.

This title was decent, the Beethoven Violin Concerto was okay, as was one of the Tchaicovsky Symphonies with Mravinsky (#5), but the rest were just plain awful, offering truly disgracefully bad sound.

Funny, I don’t recall reading any bad reviews of these albums at the time. Oh, that’s right, these Heavy Vinyl records never get bad reviews, no matter how lifeless, opaque and unpleasant they might sound.

Except from us of course. We were writing about them back in the day and trying to sell just the better ones. We have since given up that effort as so few are really very good when you get right down to it.

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…)