A shocking Stereo Treasury sleeper with a superb Shaded-Dog-beating side one. Side one is nearly White Hot – it’s exceptionally transparent and dynamic. Real Demo Disc sound and music on side one – spectacular works played with feeling.
This is yet another wonderful example of what the much-lauded Decca recording engineers were able to capture on analog tape all those years ago. The 1960 master has been transferred brilliantly using “modern” cutting equipment (from 1970, not the low-rez junk they’re forced to make do with these days), giving you, the listener, sound that only the best of both worlds can offer.
One of the quietest pressings we played in our shootout, if not the quietest.
More spacious than practically any other copy we heard thanks to an extended, correct top end.
This side was also very dynamic, and it gets loud in the right way, never harsh or screechy.
Correct from top to bottom, and there are not many records we can say that about. So natural in every way.
The brass is HUGE and POWERFUL on this side. Not many recordings capture the brass this well. (Ansermet on London comes to mind of course but many of his performances leave much to be desired. Here Mackerras is on top of his game with performances that are definitive.)
The brass is big and clear and weighty, just the way it should be, as that is precisely the sound you hear in the concert hall, especially that part about being clear: live music is more than anything else completely clear. We should all strive for that sound in our reproduction of orchestral music.
Good clarity and top extension, with full-bodied, textured strings. Gets a little hot at its loudest but manages to stay under control and enjoyable throughout.
The opening track on side two, Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, is one of my favorite pieces of orchestral music. Mackerras and the London Proms make it magical.
You can be pretty sure of two things when you hear a record of this quality: one, the original probably won’t sound as good, likely having been cut on cruder equipment.
And two, no modern recutting of the tapes (by the likes of Speakers Corner for example, but you can substitute any company you care to name) could begin to capture this kind of naturalistic orchestral sound.
I have never heard a Heavy Vinyl pressing begin to do what this record is doing. The Decca we have here may be a budget reissue pressing, but it was mastered by real Decca engineers (a few different ones in fact), pressed in England on high quality vinyl, and made from fairly fresh tapes (nine years old, not fifty years old!), then mastered about as well as a record can be mastered.
The sound is, above all, REAL and BELIEVABLE.
The brass has weight, the top extends beautifully for those glorious cymbal crashes, the hall is huge and the staging very three-dimensional — there is little to fault in the sound on either side. (more…)