I spied an interesting quote on the Acoustic Sounds site years ago:
“…Analogue Productions’ 45rpm remastering improves upon the venerable Athena LP release from the late 80s, with better dynamics and a fuller ‘middle’ to the orchestral sonority.” – Andrew Quint, The Absolute Sound, October 2010
For some reason Andrew uses the word “venerable” when a better, certainly more accurate term would have been “execrable.” Having played the record in question this strikes us as the kind of mistake that would not be easy to make.
Athena was a godawful audiophile label that lasted all of five records, only one of which was any good, and it’s not this one. It was in fact the Debussy piano recording with Moravec, mastered by the venerable Robert Ludwig himself, a man who knows his classical music, having cut scores if not hundreds of records for Nonesuch in the ’60s and ’70s.(more…)
AN AMAZING RODEO and an EVEN BETTER BILLY THE KID! We are BIG fans of this performance and this copy will show you exactly why. Side one (Rodeo) rates A++; it is clear and dynamic with an unusually three-dimensional soundfield, giving the instruments their own space and allowing you to hear right INTO the music. Side two (Billy The Kid) earned top A+++ honors with serious weight down low, a wonderfully sweet top end, more texture to the strings and HUGE dynamics.
On most copies the brass has a tendency to get shrill, but not here! Also, check out the HUGE cymbal crashes on side two. You’re going to have a very hard time finding another copy that delivers like this one does.
This recording will show you what’s wrong with so many highly-revered, top dollar Golden Age recordings, the kind that end up on the TAS List and cost a fortune. The freedom from coloration on BOTH sides of this record are remarkable and might make you change your mind about some of the more famous shaded dog and Mercury Living Presence titles you hold dear.(more…)
This Athena LP is now long out of print, but it received rave reviews when it was released. (We quote many of them below.) This album is a member of the TAS Super Disc list, but we found the sound awfully opaque, smeary, slow and compressed, the kind of bad “analog” sound that Doug Sax brought to the early AP releases.
The sticker on the shrink wrap of a previous copy had these quotes:
“…for this is the definitive symphonic recording to date.” – J. Gordon Holt/ Stereophile
“Wins ‘Best Record of the Year’ award against tough competition.” – Joe Hart/High End Audio Press & Music Review
“HP heard the Athena remastering of the Rachmaninoff and found it stunning. He could recommend it without reservation.” – Harry Pearson/The Absolute Sound #57(more…)