_Conductors – Ormandy

Vivaldi / 4 Concerti For Two Violins and Orch. / Stern & Oistrakh – Reviewed in 2011

This Columbia Six-Eye original pressing (MS 6204) has an especially lovely side one. The extended tape hiss is a dead giveaway that this copy has the high frequencies that are going to let the violin harmonics come through beautifully, and they do!

Once we had our VTA adjusted precisely for this pressing, the texture on the strings came through gloriously. Of course getting the VTA right resulted in more transparency and ambience as well, with huge amounts of space around the players. The result: a Super Hot Side One, no doubt about it! (more…)

Strauss / Carnival in Vienna / Ormandy – Reviewed in 2011

More Johann Strauss

Side two of this two-eye Columbia pressing has EXCELLENT sound, rating a sonic grade of A+ to A++. With a grade such as that it ranks somewhere in the Top Five Per Cent of Columbia pressings I would guess, only because so many Columbias are just plain awful. Is even one out of ten passable? I doubt it. But this one is! It’s quite good in fact, with an extended top end and lovely texture to the strings. (more…)

Brahms / Violin Concerto / Stern / Ormandy – Reviewed in 2009

This very nice looking Columbia LP has SUPERB SOUND on side two. The violin is much sweeter than on side one and there’s much less distortion during the loud passages. If we were grading this as a Hot Stamper we’d give it about an A+ – A++. And on top of all that, Isaac Stern, never one of my favorite performers, is actually wonderful here. He plays beautifully.

Ormandy is another person who rarely gets the respect he is due, probably because his Columbia recordings sound bad as a rule. This is the exception. The recording is 95% as good as it could possibly be. This is a truly outstanding Brahms Violin Concerto in every way!

Side one is pretty good as well. It’s very lively and the violin sounds great — it sounds like it’s right there in the room with you. The loud passages on this side do suffer from compression distortion. Overall we’d give it about an A.