- Holiday For Strings finally arrives on the site with stunning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout
- This is a true Demo Disc quality recording, with lovely Living Stereo strings – close your eyes and the three-dimensional soundstaging will make your speakers disappear
- This is a sweetheart of a recording – big, clear, rich, dynamic, transparent and energetic, and will surely put to shame most of the Living Stereo pressings you own (unless you bought them from us)
- “Nowhere in the world is there a surer guarantee of more richly varied musical delights than that promised by this conductor’s precise baton, his infallible ear and memory, the prodigious range of his taste, his interpretative verve.”
This copy was so good on side two it almost left me speechless. How is this title not on the TAS List?
Why is it not one of the most sought-after recordings in the RCA canon? Beats the hell out of me.
But wait just one minute. Until a month ago [now years ago] I surely had no idea how good this record could sound, so how can I criticize others for not appreciating a record I had never taken the time to appreciate myself?
Which more than anything else prompts the question — why is no one exploring, discovering and then bringing to light the exceptional qualities of these wonderful vintage recordings (besides your humble writer of course)?
HP has passed on. Who today is fit to carry his mantle into the coming world of audio? Looking around I find very few prospects. None in fact. But then again, I’m not looking very hard. I could care less what any of these people have to say about the sound quality of the records they play. They all seem to like records that don’t sound very good to us, so why put any faith in their reviews for other records?
Reviewer malpractice? We’ve been writing about it for more than 25 years.
But I digress. (more…)
- Stunning sound on both sides of this Shaded Dog pressing from 1954 with each earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- This is a true Demo Disc quality recording – both sides are big, full-bodied, clean and clear, with huge amounts of energy and tons of space around all of the players
- This 2-track recording is RCA’s first stereo recording of the work from all the way back in 1954 – can you believe it?
- Two mics and two channels and it blows away most of the classical recordings that followed it
- Some old record collectors (like me) say classical recording quality ain’t what it used to be – this record proves it
- In the ’90s I was regularly selling this title for $1000+ and people were happy to pay it!
NOTE: *There is a mark about 1″ from the end of the side that plays 10 times at a light to moderate level.
In a listing from a while back we wrote:
I love Fiedler’s performance and the 1954 two track RCA Living Stereo sound but finding an original Shaded Dog pressing in clean condition under $500 with the right stampers (something above 10 as I recall) is all but impossible nowadays. If you want to go that way more power to you.
Well we found one! With the right stampers! There are other good stampers for this album, but none that sounded as good as these in the shootout. And the vinyl is exceptionally quiet for a pressing from circa 1958 (the first year that stereo pressings were available; before that you had to buy the music on reel to reel to hear it in stereo). (more…)
This is one of the pressings we’ve discovered with Reversed Polarity.
This is a WONDERFUL sounding, very quiet original Shaded Dog pressing of one of the rarest Living Stereo titles. Dropping the needle on side one was a shock — the sound was terrible: thin, shrill and practically unlistenable. Since I know this to be an exceptionally good sounding record, there was only one possibility: reverse absolute phase. Sure enough, the magic of Living Stereo reappeared. If you can’t reverse your polarity, this is not the record for you!
Are they all that way? I have no way of knowing. I run across a clean quiet copy like this once every ten years or so. If any of you out there own this record and yours is not reversed phase let me know what your stamper numbers are, I’d be very interested.
This has always been a favorite title with audiophiles. It’s full of lovely orchestral colors, much like The Nutcracker. As usual, Fiedler and the Boston Pops are accorded superb sound.
This record is so good on side two it almost left me speechless. How is this title not on the TAS List? Why is it not one of the most sought-after recordings in the RCA canon?
Beats the hell out of me. But wait just one minute. Until a month ago I surely had no idea how good this record could sound, so how can I criticize others for not appreciating a record I had never taken the time to appreciate myself?
Which more than anything else simply begs the question — why is no one exploring, discovering and then elucidating for the record loving public the wonderful qualities of these vintage recordings (besides your humble writer of course)?
HP has passed on; who is fit to carry his mantle into the coming world of audio? Looking around I find very few prospects.
But I digress.
White Hot and simply amazing on 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 loudest brass and string sections of the music are never brash or shrill, something that no other side could manage.
My notes read: The Big Living Stereo Sound, and man is it ever! The players are arrayed on a huge stage, with transparency that lets you hear all the way to the back of the hall.
This record will have you asking why so few Living Stereo pressings actually do what this one does. The more critical listener will recognize that this is a very special copy indeed. Everyone else will just enjoy the hell out of it. (more…)
Another in our ongoing series of Random Thoughts on issues concerning music and recordings.
We ran into a number of copies of this title that had what we like to call that “Old Record” sound, which is surprisingly common on even the most revered Golden Age labels, RCA included.
No top, no real bottom, congested climaxes and a general shrillness to the sound — we’ve played Living Stereos by the dozens that have these shortcomings and many more.
Some audiophiles may be impressed by the average Shaded Dog pressing, but I can assure you that we here at Better Records are decidedly not of that persuasion. Something in the range of ten to fifteen per cent of the major label Golden Age recordings we play will eventually make it to the site. The vast majority just don’t sound all that good to us. (Many have second- and third-rate performances and those get tossed without ever making it to a shootout.)
- Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades on both sides make this the consistently best sounding batch of Orchestral Showpieces we have ever played
- After a two year hiatus, our favorite performance of Night on Bald Mountain is back, and it’s guaranteed to blow your mind (and maybe a woofer or two)
- Side one also boasts an excellent Danse Macabre, with a powerful finish that may remind you of the thrill of live orchestral music
- Side two contains a wonderfully exciting Sorcerer’s Apprentice
- Both sides are clear and transparent, with huge hall space extending wall to wall and floor to ceiling
- Watch your levels – this pressing is dramatically more DYNAMIC than most Golden Age recordings
If you like Orchestral Spectaculars, have we got the record for you!
This pressing clearly has DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND — not in every way, but in some important ways. The ENERGY of both the sound and the performances of these barnburning showpieces is truly awesome. Fiedler brings this music to LIFE like no other conductor we have heard.
This pressing boasts relatively rich, sweet strings, especially for a Deutsche Grammophon LP. Both sides really get quiet in places, a sure sign that all the dynamics of the master tape were protected in the mastering of this copy (and the reason it is so hard to find a copy that plays better than Mint Minus Minus. We do have a quieter copy with lower grades if you are interested though.) (more…)
DEMO QUALITY. It’s hard to find a better record with more Tubey Magical hear-all-the-way-to-the-back-of-the-hall sound than this, at least on side one.
Fiedler has a way with the Ibert piece here like nobody’s business; the performance is definitive, although the sound is not as good as La Boutique Fantasque, which is nothing short of amazing. The Kay piece sounds excellent here and is beautifully performed. Fiedler is hard to beat on music like this.
A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.
12s Hot stampers. The best sounding copy I’ve ever heard.
Jim Mitchell is famous for pointing out that many of the RCA’s that were re-recorded a few years later are inferior to their earlier counterparts. This record is no exception. LSC 1817 is an amazing record. This record is merely good, with depth, soundstaging, nice string tone, etc., but not the kind of sonic fireworks to be found on the 1954 2-track recording that RCA first did of this work.
A very good Sabre Dance as a bonus, check it out! It’s the lead off track on Destination Stereo (LSC 2307) for good reason: it sounds great. (more…)
- This exceptionally rare and practically-impossible-to-find-in-audiophile-playing-condition Shaded Dog from 1958 has outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides
- Plenty of Tubey Magic, utilizing a closer mic setup than many early recordings – this provides more immediacy at the expense of less soundstage depth and width relative to other Hi-Fi Specataculars from this era
- “R. D. Darrell’s notes for the 1958 stereo LP release state that the three selections were specifically designed for demonstrate the newest heights yet attainable in the never-ending but ever-closer approach to perfect sonic replicas of the original “live” symphonic performances.”