[This review is from many years ago. I cannot say we would still feel the same way about the reissue reviewed here.]
For our shootout we played Ansermet’s performance of the Suites on London, as well as pressings by Reiner and Fiedler, both of whom opted against using the Suites as Tchaikovsky wrote them, preferring instead to create a shorter version of the complete ballet with excerpts of their own choosing (shown below).
The CSO, as one might expect, plays this work with more precision and control than any other. They also bring more excitement and dynamic contrasts to their performance, adding greatly to our enjoyment of the music.
A++, Super Hot! The quieter passages have some of the richest, sweetest, most Tubey Magical sound you will ever hear in your home. There is not a trace of phony sound anywhere to be found, and the most pronounced effect it has on the listener is to make him relax and forget entirely about the sound. With this record the music is all.
The hall is huge with space around all the instruments.
Listen to how breathy the flutes are. This of course is a result of the judicious use of compression. The loudest string passages can get congested, another result of the use of compression (unavoidable in classical recordings), so we are holding the grade at A++.
A++ to A+++, and some of the best sound we heard all day in our shootout! Every bit as rich and full-bodied as side one, but with less compression this side is more dynamic and exciting than any other that we played. A little dark, but that prevents the strings from becoming strident when loud.
The clarinet is especially musical on this recording. What a record!
Reissues Vs Originals
This RCA reissue pressing of LSC 2328 has some of the BEST SOUND we have ever heard for The Nutcracker, and we’ve played them by the dozens, on the greatest Golden Age labels of all time, including, but not limited to, the likes of Mercury, RCA and London.
In a somewhat (but not too) surprising turn of events, the reissue pressing we are offering here beat all the originals and early reissues we could throw at it. Finally, this legendary Mohr/Layton production can be heard in its full glory!
If you like your Nutcracker exciting and dynamic, this is the copy for you.
Don’t buy into that record collecting / audiophile canard that the originals are better.
We like our recordings to have as many Live Music qualities as possible, and those qualities really come through on a record such as this when reproduced on the full-range speaker system we use.