_Performers – Piatigorsky

Walton & Bloch / Cello Concerto and Schelomo / Piatigorsky – Reviewed in 2011

This Super Hot Stamper RCA original White Dog pressing has a SUPERB side two. Piatigorsky’s cello sounds rich and resonant with virtually no trace of smear. All the subtleties of the bowing can be clearly heard, just as they would be in concert (assuming you sprang for the good seats). The recording venue is spacious and open. Above all the sound is relaxed and NATURAL.  

If only side one sounded this good…

Side One

Yes, side one is a drag. To parody Harry Pearson: No Hot Stamper, this.

It has a nice extended top but the whole frequency balance is shifted up, making it thin and pinching the upper mids. Solid A sound at most.

Side Two

Super Hot Stamper A++ sound, just lovely! It could even be better than that, but without more copies to audition we prefer to be conservative in our grading. It’s AT LEAST A++w (more…)

Brahms / Concerto for Violin and Cello – Heifetz / Piatigorsky (LDS 2513)

Hot Stamper Pressings Featuring the Violin

Superb Recordings with Jascha Heifetz Performing

This is one of the pressings we’ve discovered with Reversed Polarity.

This RCA Soria pressing plays about Mint Minus, pretty quiet for a Shaded Dog era pressing.

The orchestra is its typical shrill self. The cello and violin sound wonderful most of the time. When they really get going the sound can be a bit much. At moderate volumes the record is very enjoyable.

If I’m not mistaken, reversing your polarity will help the sound some.

This is a famous recording for having distortion and congestion in the louder orchestral passages. There is no such thing as a copy of this record that doesn’t have that problem. You listen to this record for the wonderful interplay between Heifetz and Piatigorsky and not much else.

Brahms / Concerto for Violin & Cello on Cisco Heavy Vinyl

Hot Stamper Pressings Featuring the Violin

Superb Recordings with Jascha Heifetz Performing

[An old review. We would not stand behind what we say here about the superiority of the Cisco pressing over the Shaded Dog.]

The performances here are of course extraordinary, but this has never been one of RCA’s best recordings.

The originals have more Tubey Magic; these 180 gram versions more accuracy of presentation, clarity and definition. Much less distortion too.

Notes From Cisco

It has to rate as one of the most beautiful apologies ever written. Brahms and legendary violinist Joseph Joachim were close friends and professional supporters over thirty years until the composer wrote a letter of support for Joachim’s wife Amalie, during her divorce proceedings against her husband. For six years, Joachim refused to communicate with Brahms. Heartbroken over this, the composer wrote his double concerto as an apology. It worked, to some extent, to mend their friendship. The concerto was Brahm’s last orchestral composition. The debut performance on October 18th 1887, featured the composer conducting, Joachim on violin and (another mutual friend) Robert Haussman on cello. Though not as successful a work as the two piano or the violin concertos, the Double Concerto stands as one of Brahms’ most accomplished compositions.

Jascha Heifetz, no stranger to the works of Brahms, had already recorded the Double Concerto with Emmanuel Feuermann (with Eugene Ormandy conducting) and the Violin Concerto for RCA (with Fritz Reiner conducting). He had also previously performed with his legendary neighbor Gregor Piatigorsky–also signed to RCA at the time. Having them pair up here is convenient and inspired. On this wonderfully dynamic recording, there is none of the “thickness” and “heaviness” Double Concerto recordings are often accused of having. Wallenstein, principal conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, allows his titanic leads to engage the music with passion, lightness and, most of all, joy. This is Brahms affectionately played by some of the world’s greatest musicians.

Cisco’s gorgeous reissue of this Living Stereo classic captures all the magic and excitement of Heifetz and Piatigorsky’s historic 1960 session. Features 180-gram vinyl, a large, 6-page historical notes insert for informative reading and the kind of warm, glorious sound Cisco Music is now famous for.

Mozart / Mendelssohn / The Heifetz-Piatigorsky Concerts

Hot Stamper Pressings Featuring the Violin

Superb Recordings with Jascha Heifetz Performing

Reviewed in 2011.

The Mozart side of this Red Seal pressing from 1975 sounds AMAZING. I have never heard better staging for a chamber work of this kind. All five instruments are so clearly set apart from each other and tonally correct (for the most part) that it is nothing less than fascinating to be able to follow each instrument as it weaves its way through the score. If you’ve suffered through the horrendously sour and screechy recordings Heifetz and Piatigorsky are known for in audiophile circles — LDS 2513 and LDS 6159, you will be glad to know that this side one sounds NOTHING like them.    (more…)

Franck / Piano Quintette & Brahms / Heifetz, Piatigorsky et al. – Reviewed in 2013

Hot Stamper Pressings Featuring the Violin

Superb Recordings with Jascha Heifetz Performing

This is one of the pressings we’ve discovered with Reversed Polarity.

A stellar reading of the Franck from this formidable group. Side one of this Shaded Dog is Super Hot: rich, smooth and sweet. The piano is exceptionally well-recorded, with real weight. The Brahms is very good if you can reverse your polarity.    (more…)

Beethoven & Kodaly / Serenade & Duo / Heifetz, Piatigorsky – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

Hot Stamper Pressings Featuring the Violin

Superb Recordings with Jascha Heifetz Performing

This wonderfully quiet (for the most part) Shaded Dog pressing has EXCEPTIONALLY good sound for side two, which is where the Kodaly Duo for Violin and Cello can be found. Rarely have I heard these two instruments sound better than they do here. With a sonic grade of A++ to A+++, you can be sure the sound is right up there with the best of the classical recordings we have to offer.

The Beethoven on side one has many good qualities as well, but the acoustic in which it is performed is not nearly as good as that of this side two. (more…)

Mozart & Turina / The Heifetz-Piatigorsky Concerts – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

Hot Stamper Pressings Featuring the Violin

Superb Recordings with Jascha Heifetz Performing

This is a Super Hot Stamper Two-Pack that comprises a White Dog RCA original for side one and a Red Label reissue for side two, for the simple and obvious reason that the “bad” sides of each of these LPs are not nearly as good as the “good” sides. When you play the weaker sides you will no doubt appreciate why we felt it was appropriate to bundle two very different records together to make a truly SUPERB one.

If you’ve suffered through the horrendously sour and screechy recordings Heifetz and Piatigorsky are known for in audiophile circles — LDS 2513 and LDS 6159 — you will be glad to know that the two good sides here sound NOTHING like them. (Reversing your polarity on LDS 6159 helps but it can’t fix sound that’s that bad.)  (more…)

The Heifetz-Piatigorsky Concerts

Hot Stamper Pressings Featuring the Violin

Superb Recordings with Jascha Heifetz Performing

This is one of the pressings we’ve discovered with Reversed Polarity.

This IMMACULATE set has dry, edgy, screechy sound — until you reverse your absolute phase! Then it sounds pretty good! It certainly will never win any awards, but it’s practically unlistenable without the phase reversed. 

Now I can’t say that’s true for all six sides. I play graded all six sides — they range from M- to slightly worse, about as quiet as these Soria pressings ever are — but I only reversed the phase on side one after dropping the needle on the other sides and suffering through the brittle sound. (more…)

Beethoven, Bach, Schubert / Heifetz, Primrose, Piatigorsky

Hot Stamper Pressings Featuring the Violin

Superb Recordings with Jascha Heifetz Performing

This is a very old review and it’s doubtful we would prefer the right Shaded Dog pressing.

This Red Seal pressing of the famous 1961 recording (LSC 2563) has SUBLIME White Hot Stamper sound for one of the works contained herein, the Schubert. It’s so rich and sweet you may have a hard time believing it’s on a Red Seal LP. The originals we’ve played over the years sure never sounded like this! Perhaps it’s the thin vinyl that contributed to the shockingly good sound. Maybe, just maybe, RCA was right to start pressing thinner records in the ’70s. If they can sound this good, we should all be for it.

So often when we do these shootouts involving original pressings up against their reissue counterparts, it’s the reissues that sound rich, warm and tubey, and the originals that sound dry and boxy. If you haven’t noticed that in your own critical listening, play this record against any shaded dogs that you own and see which one is more Tubey Magical.

If you have your VTA set right, you might be shocked to find it’s this one. Don’t get us wrong; lots of these later RCA pressings are awful: thin, often with no top end at all. Flat transfers perhaps? Who is to say? (more…)

Beethoven / Haydn / The Heifetz-Piatigorsky Concerts

 

Hot Stamper Pressings Featuring the Violin

Superb Recordings with Jascha Heifetz Performing

This is a lovely sounding pressing of cello and violin, with smooth, natural, tonally correct sound and correctly sized instruments, something you don’t hear often on recordings with Heifetz. They tend to have huge violins and small orchestras. In these chamber works perhaps the engineers had an easier time of getting it right.

The sound is transparent, spacious and three-dimensional in the best Living Stereo tradition.

If you love the sound of violin and cello, played by virtuosos of the highest order, this is the record for you.

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