- This stunning double album makes its Hot Stamper debut here with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on all FOUR sides of this original EMI pressing
- The notes on every side say practically the same things – big, solid, weighty, punchy, dynamic, clear, musical, balanced
- We don’t always hear those qualities on the TAS List Super Disc records we play in our shootouts, but we sure heard them on this one! (It has been off the list for a long time now, but back in the ’80s this is the pressing audiophiles were after.)
- With sound this good, your ability to suspend disbelief will require practically no effort at all
- This stunning classical release makes its Hot Stamper debut here with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides of this early London UK pressing
- The sound of the orchestra is dramatically richer and sweeter than you will hear on most pressings — what else would you expect from Decca’s engineers and the Suisse Romande?
- The sound here is glorious, full of all of the qualities that make listening to classical music in analog so involving
- This stunning classical release finally makes its Hot Stamper debut here with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it throughout
- Westminster is not a label that we typically associate with top quality sonics, but I knew from the moment I dropped the needle on an audition copy that the sound of this Hidden Gem could not be faulted
- What made this the clear winner was not complicated – it’s solid and weighty like no other, with virtually no smear, situated in the biggest space, with the most energetic performances
- Clear and transparent, with huge hall space extending wall to wall and floor to ceiling, this is a sound that the modern reissue, of any music, from any era, fails to reproduce utterly
- A truly superb recording with huge, spacious, dynamic, lively sound – Tubey Magical richness is a big plus too
- A SUPERB original Shaded Dog pressing of this wonderful recording with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
- This spectacular Demo Disc recording is big, clear, rich, dynamic, transparent and energetic – HERE is the sound we love
- This original pressing is resolving of musical information like no other copy you’ve heard
- The best copies are not harsh or shrill the way so many copies are – our Shootout Winners give you all the size and energy as well as the smoothest possible strings
Sonic Grade: B
Years ago we wrote the following:
This Cisco 180 gram LP has EXCELLENT SOUND. Without a doubt this pressing is a HUGE improvement over the majority of shrill originals. Robert Pincus, Mr. Record himself, loaned me his best original Columbia pressing for the shootout. Not surprisingly it sounded every bit as hard, shrill and aggressive as others I have heard. Sounds lovely in the quiet passages, but you better cover your ears in the tuttis.
That’s why you see so few Columbia classical LPs on our site; the sound is usually terrible, and almost always in the same way: boosted upper midrange/ lower highs.
These records no doubt sounded great on the consoles of the day, with speakers aimed at your knees, but on modern hi-fi rigs they are positively deadly.
The aforementioned Mr. Record was also kind enough to provide us with an acetate of the very same recording, one which was cut a bit too loud and couldn’t be used. It sounded very much like our test pressing — warm, rich, and natural, with not a hint of phony sound from top to bottom. It was, however, a bit more textured, spacious and resolving of detail, exactly what you would expect. That said, the finished record has more than enough of all the best qualities we look for in a classical LP, especially that rare quality of Right On The Money Tonality. The string tone is superb. Not many modern remasterings can make that claim. Very few in fact.
This wonderful music belongs in any serious collection. Now that the sound matches the performance, it can be yours, on quiet vinyl no less.
This one gets a Top Recommendation from Better Records as one of the few heavy vinyl pressings that can actually beat some if not most of the originals.
We can’t be sure we would still agree with any of this but I’m guessing the Cisco pressing is still a good sounding record at the price. (more…)
- This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
- The Symphony No. 1 concludes for about the first inch on side two and is excellent as well, with many of the same attributes, as rightly befits a true Golden Age Classic from 1959
- Recorded in Kingsway Hall with the London Symphony, this Decca licensed title has orchestral sound to rival the best you’ve heard
- “This is an example of what art as recorded sound should strive to be. A triumph for all participants.”
The second picture you see is the original Living Stereo release.
The first copy of the album I got my hands on and needle-dropped blew me away with its big, open, clear, solid orchestral sound. Close to three years later, when we had enough copies to do this shootout, sure enough it won. That rarely happens — in a big pile of records there’s almost always something better than whatever we’ve heard — but it happened this time.
Imagine if I had played one of the bad sounding or noisy ones to start with. It’s unlikely I would have been motivated to pursue the title and consequently the shootout we just did would have never happened. Lucky for us all that that first copy was so good.
These sides are “real” sounding, with a clean bottom and clean lower mids. Little to no smear. The sound is full-bodied and rich, yet clear and clean, and spread out on a huge stage – it’s yet another example of proper Orchestral Reproduction.
This is the kind of record that will make you want to take all your heavy vinyl classical pressings and put them in storage. (more…)
This copy 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.
But I digress. (more…)
Sonic Grade: D
Another Classic Records classical title reviewed and found wanting.
It’s been quite a while since I played the Classic pressing, but I remember it as fairly typical of their mediocre-at-best catalog, tonally fine but low-rez and lacking space, warmth and above all Tubey Magic.
I don’t think I’ve ever played an original or a VICS reissue that didn’t sound better, and that means that the best grade to give Classic’s pressing is probably a D: below average.
This record is 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 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 simply begs the question — why is no one exploring, discovering and then elucidating for the record loving public the wonderful qualities of these vintage recordings (besides your humble writer of course)?
HP has passed on; who is fit to carry his mantle into the coming world of audio? Looking around I find very few prospects.
But I digress.
White Hot and simply amazing on every level. Rich, clear, undistorted, open, spacious, with depth and transparency like few recordings you may have heard, the music flows from the speakers effortlessly. You are there.
The loudest brass and string sections of the music are never brash or shrill, something that no other side could manage.
My notes read: The Big Living Stereo Sound, and man is it ever! The players are arrayed on a huge stage, with transparency that lets you hear all the way to the back of the hall.
This record will have you asking why so few Living Stereo pressings actually do what this one does. The more critical listener will recognize that this is a very special copy indeed. Everyone else will just enjoy the hell out of it. (more…)
SLS 5177 EMI Large Dog Label LP with powerful bass — a very dynamic copy! TAS List of course. The strings are immediate, perhaps a little hot, but that’s Shostakovich for you. It’s probably in the scoring.