- Incredible sound throughout this early London pressing of Curzon and the LSO’s dynamic performance, with a STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side two mated to a solid Double Plus (A++) side one
- It’s also fairly quiet at Mint Minus Minus, a grade that even our most well-cared-for vintage classical titles have trouble playing at
- Both sides boast full brass and an especially clear, solid, present piano, one with practically no trace of smear — the right combination of richness and clarity is what allows the best pressings of this album to sound like live music
- With huge amounts of hall space, weight and energy, this is a Demo Disc by any standard
- Some old record collectors (like me) say classical recording quality ain’t what it used to be – here’s all the proof anyone with two working ears and top quality audiophile equipment would need to make that case
- Speakers Corner did a creditable job remastering the record back in the early days of Heavy Vinyl, but one thing you can be sure of: theirs won’t hold a candle to the Hot Stamper pressings we are offering
- Huge hall, massive weight and powerful energy, this is demo disc quality sound by any standard
- The sound here is glorious, full of all of the qualities that make listening to classical music in analog so involving
- There are many great recordings of the work, and we had plenty to choose from, but for sonics and performance combined, Solti’s Decca recording from the mid-60s could not be beat
- “Solti’s Concerto for Orchestra with the LSO was one of the finest of its day and remains so. Highly recommended.”
- If you’re a fan of Bartok’s orchestral masterpiece, this London from 1965 belongs in your collection.
- Watch out for Solti’s later recordings for Decca – they usually have an obvious shortcoming which we cannot abide in the classical records we play
Solti breathes life into these works as only he can and the Decca engineering team led by Kenneth Wilkinson do him proud.
“Solti was regarded as, above all, a superb Wagnerian. His performances and countless recordings of other nineteenth century German and Austrian music were also well-regarded, as were his Verdi and his frequent forays into such twentieth century repertory as Bartók, Shostakovich, and Stravinsky.”
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.
- A vintage UK Decca pressing of Ravel’s complete Masterpiece that was doing everything right, earning INSANELY GOOD Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades throughout
- The sound is big and rich, lively and open, with TONS of depth and huge climaxes that hold together
- The voices in the chorus are clear, natural, separate and full-bodied — this is the hallmark of a vintage Golden Age recording: naturalness
- We know of no other recording of the work that does as good a job of capturing such a large orchestra and chorus
- Of course, Monteux is a master of the French idiom — his performance of the complete ballet here is definitive in our opinion
- 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 has earned a place on that list.
Both sides here are BIG, with the space and depth of the wonderful Kingsway Hall that the LSO perform in. John Culshaw produced the album, which surely accounts for the huge size and space, not to mention quality, of the recording. The sound is dynamic and tonally correct throughout.
Sonic Grade: B?
Probably one of the better Speakers Corner Decca reissues.
It was recorded in Kingsway Hall early in 1964, so it already had a lot going for it.
We haven’t played a copy of this reissue in years, but back in the day (1996 or thereabouts) we liked it, so let’s call it a “B” with the caveat that the older the review, the more likely we are to have changed our minds.
Obviously we can’t be sure we would still like it, and it’s very unlikely we would like it as much as we used to, but it’s probably a good reissue at the price, assuming the price is around $30.
As the years went by, we started to notice more and more problems with these pressings, and some time in the early 2000s we wrote about them in a commentary we called: The sonic signature of the modern Heavy Vinyl Classical Reissue in Four Words: Diffuse, Washed Out, Veiled, and Vague.
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- Top Quality Classical “Sleeper” Recordings
- Best Orchestral Performances with Top Quality Sound
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- Well Recorded Classical Albums from The Core Collection Available Now
Nearly White Hot Stamper sound on this superb London Blueback pressing, quite possibly the best complete Daphnis et Chloe we have ever heard.
Both sides here are BIG, with the space and depth of the wonderful hall that the LSO perform in. From my research it appears that John Culshaw may have produced the album, which surely accounts for the huge size and space, not to mention quality, of the recording. The sound is dynamic and tonally correct throughout. Without more copies on hand we feel it’s best to hold back half a plus on the sonic grade. That said, it’s clearly the best Daphnis et Chloe we’ve played to date.
Please note that we should, but often don’t, make a vitally important distinction between two words we tend to use interchangeably. There is a difference between the sound of records that we’ve played and the sound that we’ve heard. The stereo, the listening room, our cleaning technologies and who knows what else are all undergoing constant changes. This means that we may have played a better pressing in the past but couldn’t hear it sound as good as it would now. The regular improvements we make in all areas of playback make sonic comparisons over time all but impossible. (more…)
This Plum Label Victrola has SUPERB better than Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, the side with Death and Transfiguration. It’s Tubey Magical, rich and sweet in the best Living Stereo tradition of recordings made during the Golden Age, in this case 1958. We had a Shaded Dog pressing of the recording in hand, LSC 2077, and it was better on side one but this Victrola was clearly better on side two.
And Reiner’s performance with the Vienna Phil is outstanding in every way. I have never heard the work performed better or sound better than it does on this very copy.
A++ to A+++, nearly White Hot, and with a little more bottom end it would have been.
Clear, transparent, rich, big, spacious, tonally correct, with Tubey Magical textured strings, this record is doing practically everything we want it to.
A+ to A++, very much like side two but even more bass shy, which may become wearisome over the course of the whole side, depending on how loud you play the record and how full-bodied your system is.
A superb performance of the famous piece, played with verve. (more…)
The sound is AMAZING on this minty Decca Black and Silver LP.
Guaranteed to trounce the Decca 180g pressing from 1996 (which is not a bad record by the way) or your money back.
This is an Older Classical/Orchestral Review
Most of the older reviews you see are for records that did not go through the shootout process, the revolutionary approach to finding better sounding pressings we started developing in the early 2000s and have since turned into a veritable science.
We found the records you see in these older listings by cleaning and playing a pressing or two of the album, which we then described and priced based on how good the sound and surfaces were. (For out Hot Stamper listings, the Sonic Grades and Vinyl Playgrades are listed separately.)
We were often wrong back in those days, something we have no reason to hide. Audio equipment and record cleaning technologies have come a long way since those darker days, a subject we discuss here.
Currently, 99% (or more!) of the records we sell are cleaned, then auditioned under rigorously controlled conditions, up against a number of other pressings. We award them sonic grades, and then condition check them for surface noise.
As you may imagine, this approach requires a great deal of time, effort and skill, which is why we currently have a highly trained staff of about ten. No individual or business without the aid of such a committed group could possibly dig as deep into the sound of records as we have, and it is unlikely that anyone besides us could ever come along to do the kind of work we do.
The term “Hot Stampers” gets thrown around a lot these days, but to us it means only one thing: a record that has been through the shootout process and found to be of exceptionally high quality.