- This vintage Columbia stereo pressing boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from first note to last
- The best copies are out of this world, reproducing some of the most dynamic, exciting, richest, and most spacious sound we have ever heard from Columbia records, especially those conducted by Leonard Bernstein
- The music is wonderful of course, with the Suites giving you all the best parts of his marvelous compositions with none of the filler
- These vibrant orchestrations are played with tremendous energy, and that, coupled with rich and tubey analog sound, combine for an especially immersive and engrossing listening experience, particularly on side one here
- For those of you playing along at home, it should be obvious why side one earned the higher grade – some of the qualities important to the sound are in greater abundance on side one, and this is not in any way difficult to hear
This is one of the great Columbia recordings. I suspected it might have been done at their legendary Columbia studios in New York but I was wrong, Manhattan Center’s huge stage served as the venue. Either way the sound is no less glorious.
One of the biggest advantages this copy had over most of what we played is fuller brass. The shrill sounding horns on most Columbia albums is what gets them tossed into the trade pile. Fortunately for us audiophiles who care about these sorts of things, the sound here is rich and clean, with solid, deep bass. The stage is huge, with the multi-miking kept to a minimum so that you can really hear the space this big group of musicians occupies.
There is a HUGE amount of top end on this recording. Wildly splashing cymbals and other percussion instruments are everywhere, and they are a joy to hear. No original was as clean up top as this reissue, and without a clear, (mostly) distortion-free top end, the work will simply not sound the way Bernstein wanted it to.
All that percussion is in the score. The high-frequency energy – perhaps the most I have ever heard from any recording of his music — is there for a reason. He conducted his own score, and one can only assume he liked the way it came out. We sure did. (more…)