_Composers – Vaughan Williams

Grace Williams / Fantasia On Welsh Nursery Tunes / Groves – Reviewed in 2012

Super Hot Stamper sound for this TAS List title, containing the most famous piece for which Grace Williams is known. The sound is BIG and RICH, two adjectives we rarely apply to a ’70s EMI. Big maybe — lots of EMI’s are big, but the reason you see so few EMI Hot Stampers on our site is that they are usually big in a vague, phasey way, which is a sound I frankly have never seen the need to take seriously, TAS Listing or no TAS Listing. (Screen speakers tend to sound that way to me, and I’ve never been a fan of them either.)

But rich — now that’s a sound we do like! It’s also not shrill and hard like most EMI’s. Instead it’s transparent, lively and tonally correct from top to bottom.

Add it all up and you have a very special EMI record that qualifies for Super Hot Stamper status. You will have a very hard time finding a copy of the album that sounds like the side one here.

Side one does have a little tube smear on the strings, so we took off one plus and are giving it a grade of A++.

Side two is slightly less transparent, not quite as big and a bit recessed compared to side one. It could be a bit warmer as well.


Mercury Stereo Sampler Vol. 1 (SRD-1)

Hot Stamper Mercury Pressings Available Now

Reviews and Commentaries for Classical Records on Mercury 

This Mercury Sampler has SUPERB Super Hot Stamper sound on side one, or better — who knows if this isn’t as good as it gets? We can’t find enough clean copies to test so we’re sticking with A++ or better just to be safe.

Either way, this is the BIG, BOLD classic Mercury sound.

Let’s Dance – David Carroll – from Let’s Dance (SR-60001) has the sweet Tubey Magic of the best Living Stereos and the percussion excitement of Bang Baa-room and Harp.

Not every song on side one is a knockout but some of them certainly are, making this a top quality Variety Demo Disc.

Tracks two and three on side one are great, but there may be others you will like equally well.

Side two earned a single plus grade (A+); some of it sounds like it’s made from sub-gen tapes. The Gershwin comes off pretty well with a solid clear piano.


Side One

Rhapsodero – Richard Hayman – from Havana in Hi-Fi (SR-60000)
Let’s Dance – David Carroll – from Let’s Dance (SR-60001)
Rain On The Roof – Dick Contino – from It’s Dance Time (SR-60006)
Birth Of Passion – Clebanoff – from Moods in Music (SR-60005)
The Lady Is A Tramp – Griff Williams – from America’s Most Danceable Music (SR-60007)
Autumn In Rome – Patti Page – from Let’s Get Away from It All (SR-60010)

Side Two

Anderson – Sleigh Ride – The Eastman-Rochester Pops Orchestra – Frederick Fennel – from SR-90009
Prokofiev – March From The Love for Three Oranges – The London Symphony Orchestra – Antal Dorati – from SR-90006
Rhapsody In Blue (Portion) – Eugene List – The Eastman-Rochester Symphony Orchestra – Howard Hanson – from SR-90002
Funky Drums – Pete Rugolo – from Percussion at Work (SR-80003)
Rose Room – Terry Gibbs – from Allen’s All Stars (SR-80004)
Like Someone In Love – Sarah Vaughan – from Sarah Vaughan at the London House (SR-60020)

Liszt, Khachaturian et al. / Fiedler / BPO

Breathtaking 1961 Living Stereo sound on side two – huge, open and Tubey Magical as all get out. Living Stereo Hot Stampers mean the hall is huge, the strings rich and sweetly textured. Vaughan Williams’ arrangement of Fantasia On “Greensleeves” is especially lovely here. Fiedler and his Boston Pops play these 8 shorter pieces with great gusto and skill. 

This Shaded Dog had precisely the right sound on side two, and very close to that sound on side one, making some of the best sound we have ever heard on this album. I’ve known about this recording for twenty years or more; it’s taken us a while to get around to it, there being so many wonderful (and frankly more famous) Fiedler records to play in the pipeline.

There are other recordings with Fiedler at the helm from 1961 but this is clearly the best of the batch, some of them being not very good at all, or good only intermittently. Practically every track on this title is excellent and some of them are superb. Take home this copy and you will quickly see what I mean.

Side Two

White Hot and superb on practically 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 brass and string sections of the music are almost never brash or shrill, something that no other side could manage. (more…)

Fiedler / Boston Tea Party – Reviewed in 2010

This original Shaded Dog pressing has EXCELLENT SOUND AND QUIET VINYL ON SIDE TWO, where you’ll find a wonderful rendition of Hernando’s Hideaway! The sound is excellent — lively, full-bodied and super three-dimensional. Check out how great the castanets sound!

Side one is nothing special and a bit noisy in the right channel, so we’re really only charging you for the strong side two. Hernando’s Hideaway is really worth the price of admission alone, you’ll see! As I’m sure you know by now, Fiedler on this sort of material is very hard to beat. (more…)

Holst / British Band Classics Vol. 1 / Fennell – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

Hot Stamper Mercury Pressings Available Now

More Recordings Conducted by Frederick Fennel

This RARE Super Hot Stamper Mercury Mono original pressing has the kind of BIG, LIVELY, tonally correct sound that not one out of fifty mono records we play can lay claim to. If more mono records sounded like this one I wouldn’t be so down on mono all the time.

But they don’t. Most mono records sound SMALL. When you have big speakers, set far apart and far from the back wall, in a pretty good sized room, small is just not the sound you want to hear! Especially when it comes to classical music. I want a front row seat, and this record is a first class ticket to one.  (more…)