_Conductors – Previn

Schumann and Grieg Piano Concertos / Lupu / Previn

More of the music of Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Edvard Grieg

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  • A superb UK Decca pressing of this wonderful classical masterpiece with Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • Both sides boast full brass and an especially clear, solid, present piano, one with practically no trace of vintage analog tube smear
  • Dynamic, huge, lively, transparent and natural – with a record this good, your ability to suspend disbelief will require practically no effort at all
  • Back in the days when the TAS Super Disc List meant something, this record was on it and deservedly so
  • The London pressings of the same album can be very good in their own right, but they don’t win shootouts – only the best of these Decca pressings do, a subject we discuss in some of these listings
  • Our two favorite recordings of the Grieg Piano Concerto are this one and Rubinstein’s for RCA in 1962
  • There are about 150 orchestral recordings we’ve awarded the honor of offering the Best Performances with the Highest Quality Sound, and this record certainly deserve a place on that list.

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Rachmaninoff – Symphony No. 1 / Previn

More of the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

More Classical and Orchestral Recordings

  • Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 1 debuts on the site with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout this original British EMI Quadraphonic pressing
  • The London Symphony Orchestra is wide, tall, spacious, rich and tubey, yet the dynamics and transparency are first rate
  • These sides are clear, full-bodied and present, with plenty of space around the players, the unmistakable sonic hallmark of the properly mastered, properly pressed vintage analog LP

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Rachmaninoff – Symphony No. 2 / Previn

More of the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

More TAS List Super Discs

  • You’ll find excellent Double Plus (A++) sound throughout this vintage British EMI pressing of Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2
  • A long term resident of the TAS Super Disc list, and one I never realized was anything special until my stereo got a lot better about ten or fifteen years ago
  • There are a few marks that play, but EMI’s from this era always seemed to have one problem or another, so this is not surprising – there’s simply no way around these issues if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
  • This recording of the work is guaranteed to put to shame any Heavy Vinyl pressing of this music you may own

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Holst – The Planets / Previn

More of the music of Gustav Holst (1874-1934)

Reviews and Commentaries for The Planets

  • With outstanding sonic grades on both sides, this early EMI pressing is guaranteed to be the best copy of Holst’s Magnum Opus, The Planets, you have ever played
  • Orchestral power like practically no other music on vinyl you may have heard, and Previn’s and the LSO’s performances are without peer in our estimation
  • These sides are rich, clear and dynamic, with weighty brass, and the kind of dynamic power that lefts the energy level right into space
  • A TAS List Super Disc, with a performance that’s as spectacular as the recording by the two Christophers
  • More of our Favorite Orchestral Performances with Top Quality sound

These sides have some of the best sound we have ever heard for the work, and that’s saying something considering the scores of recordings we have played of this famous and famously well-loved piece.

Fortunately for audiophiles who love The Planets but are disappointed by most performances, a group that includes us to be sure, the amazing sound found on this copy is coupled with a superb performance.

As you might imagine, on a big system this would make for a powerful listening experience, which is exactly the experience we ourselves had during our recent shootout. This copy actually deserves its place on the TAS List.

Both sides earned strong grades for their powerful energy and orchestral excitement, especially from the brass section, a subject we discuss at length below. (more…)

Holst / The Planets – On 2 Japanese 45 RPM LPs, It’s Just Awful

More of the music of Gustav Holst (1874-1934)

Reviews and Commentaries for The Planets

This EMI 45 RPM Japanese Import 2 LP set with the OBI strip and Little Sign Of Play (LSOP) is widely considered one of the great Planets, but it’s not, based on our playing of a copy we had years ago, which means it belongs in our Hall of Shame. 

The best copies on British or Dutch EMI vinyl are clearly better than this “audiophile” pressing.

What could be less surprising?

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Prokofiev / Symphonies Nos. 1 & 7 – Our Favorite “Classical” Symphony

More of the music of Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

  • This stunning classical recording finally returns to the site with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it from start to finish
  • Previn has a spritely take on the piece, which is precisely what it needs and, every bit as important, the London Symphony has the chops to bring his vision to life.
  • “[The Classical Symphony] is rather a brilliant display of charm, gaiety and good humor as well as a delightful and respectful homage to the early masters whom Prokofieff had at one time so scornfully rejected.”

This wonderful record contains one of my favorite performances of the Classical Symphony, and it also carries the distinction of having the best combination of sonics and performance that we have ever heard on vinyl. (There is a recording by Previn and the LA Phil from 1986 with a performance To Die For; unfortunately, it comes with the kind of mid-’80s tear-your-head-off-digital shrillness that makes the CD medium the worn out joke we analog lovers know it to be.)

The First Symphony happens to be one of my favorite classical works of all time, right up there with The Planets and Pictures at an Exhibition. I wouldn’t want to go to a desert island without all three.

This superb pressing has exceptional transparency and dynamics, allowing the energy and precision of the performance to shine through. Truly a sublime recording that belongs in any music collection, whether you’re a fan of classical music or not.

If I had to choose one piece of classical music that I would never want to live without, it would have to be the performance of Prokofiev’s First Symphony found on this very side one. It’s a work of such joy that I’ve never failed to be uplifted by it (except when the performance is too slow, which it often is).

This is a difficult piece to pull off. Most of the time either the orchestra is not up to the task or the conductor misunderstands the work. Previn has a spritely take on the piece, which is precisely what it needs and, every bit as important, the London Symphony has the chops to bring his vision to life.

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Rachmaninov / The Bells / Previn – Reviewed in 2008

More of the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

This is a Minty EMI original looking pressing of the famous TAS List title. You will have a very hard time finding a nicer one than this!

Since it is such a famously well-regarded recording we decided to clean it up and gave it a spin. Side one has sweet string tone and an extended top end, and it plays very quiet.

Side two is not quite as good; it’s fuller but lacks the extension on the top that side one has in spades. It’s also quiet at mostly Mint Minus. (EMIs from this period are almost never quieter than that.) (more…)