rimsktaleo

Rimsky-Korsakov / The Tale of Tsar Saltan / Ansermet

More of the music of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)

More Classical and Orchestral Recordings

  • This London Whiteback stereo pressing boasts big, bold, dynamic Tubey Magical Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last
  • 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
  • No question this is a Demo Disc Quality recording – it’s rich and real, with huge WHOMP factor down low, as well as clear, uncolored brass and robust lower strings
  • Here is the kind of depth and three-dimensional soundstaging that the recordings by Ansermet and the Suisse Romande are famous for
  • The Speakers Corner pressing of Ansermet’s famous recording is mediocre, with many faults, all discussed here
  • We would love to be able to find Ansermet’s Scheherazade on London (not Decca!) vinyl, but as you may have read on the blog, the right stampers of that record are almost impossible to find these days, although that has not stopped us from trying

James Walker was the producer, Roy Wallace the engineer for these sessions from April of 1959 in Geneva’s glorious Victoria Hall. It’s yet another remarkable disc from the Golden Age of Vacuum Tube Recording.

The gorgeous hall the Suisse Romande recorded in was possibly the best recording venue of its day, possibly of all time. More amazing sounding recordings were made there than in any other hall we know of. There is a solidity and richness to the sound beyond all others, yet clarity and transparency are not sacrificed in the least.

It’s as wide, deep and three-dimensional as any, which is of course all to the good, but what makes the sound of these recordings so special is the weight and power of the brass, combined with timbral accuracy of the instruments in every section.

This is the kind of record that will make you want to take all your heavy vinyl classical pressings and put them in storage. None of them, I repeat not a single one, can begin to sound the way this record sounds. (Before you put them in storage or on Ebay please play them against this pressing so that you can be confident in you decision to rid yourself of their insufferable mediocrity.)

This London pressing contains a stunningly BEAUTIFUL Tale of the Tsar Saltan Suite. It’s clearly one of the great Demo Disc Quality recordings from the Golden Age (or any age for that matter), with everything that a top Golden Age Orchestral recording should have: all the magic; all the timbral and harmonic subtlety; all the sweetness and warmth; all the Tubey Magical richness.

All that and more. Folks, this is the kind of record that makes you sit up and take notice. Finally, HERE is the kind of sound that can bring an orchestra to life in your very own listening room.

It has the kind of depth and three-dimensional soundstaging that the recordings by Ansermet and the Suisse Romande are famous for. (Unlike some of their recordings — Pictures at an Exhibition comes readily to mind — the tempi here are not too slow. The tempi are in fact just right. We love the sound of Ansermet’s records but when the performance drags it’s hard to enjoy the music. For top quality performances of the work by other conductors — rarely in stock I regret to say — please check the site.)

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Letter of the Week – “This is the best classical recording I have ever heard.”

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

One minute into The Tale of Tsar Saltan I knew this was a winner of the highest order. I was not prepared for the low end whomp factor as you call it.

The tonal balance of this wonderful recording is off the charts. the triangles just seem to float in the mix with a delicate presence that works so beautifully with the rest of the orchestra.

The strings and brass have this immediacy to them that feels like the orchestra is in the room with you.

This is the best classical recording I have ever heard both musically and sonically. So glad I fortunate to own this masterpiece!

Thanks
Rob

Fantastic news, we liked it too. Thanks for your letter.

BTW, don’t try to play any heavy vinyl classical for a while, it might just be too big a shock to your (nervous, not stereo) system!

TP

Ha! I just never realized how much I have been missing or accepting, until I played this album : )
Rob

Rob,

Nobody does. Nobody can know what they are missing until they hear it. This explains every audiophile forum and every idiotic review by Michael Fremer and his uninformed and misinformed colleagues. These people simply don’t know any better because the approach they have taken to finding and auditioning records produces consistently second-rate results.

We explain — for free! — how anyone can find better records here.

If you want to know what you’re missing, there is only one approach that works, and it involves two things that have made the modern world what it is today: empirical findings based on the use of the scientific method.

Any other approach is doomed, not to failure, but to mediocrity.

We are the only record dealers who use the scientific method, and that one fact, more than any other, explains why we can sell the best sounding pressings in the world. We alone are able to show you what you have been missing. Or, put another way, the second- and third-rate sound you have been living with because you didn’t know anything could be better.

We didn’t know much better either until about twenty-odd years ago.

Before that, we had raved about the Speakers Corner pressing of the Tsar Saltan. Its shortcomings are glaringly obvious to us now, but they weren’t back then. We didn’t have the stereo, we didn’t have the cleaning system, and we didn’t have the critical listening skills to be able to recognize its manifold faults.

Then, in the early 2000s, we started doing shootouts.

These “Record Experiments” taught us many important lessons.

The process of playing copy after copy of the same record and cataloging the differences we heard made us better listeners.

We took our critical listening skills and applied them to our stereo in order to get as many colorations and limitations out of it as possible.

Through all this work we came to have a much deeper understanding of The Fundamentals of Record Collecting.

However, without a staff of ten finding, cleaning and playing records for you, you will have a hard duplicating our results.

But you can certainly do a lot better using our approach than any other. It won’t be long before you know more than all the audiophile reviewers and forum posters in the world put together.

You heard the record we sent you soar above all the stuff they’ve been telling you was good, so now you know two things: their approach produced middling-at-best results, and our approach produced the best sounding classical recording you have ever heard. The choice is yours!

That’s the purest expression of the empiricism we champion. Let the best record win.

And ours did!

TP


FURTHER READING

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

More Letters Comparing Hot Stamper Pressings to their Heavy Vinyl Counterparts

More Letters Comparing Hot Stamper Pressings to their Half-Speed Mastered Counterparts

More of the music of Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)

Hot Stamper Pressings of Decca/London Recordings in Stock Now

The Tale of Tsar Saltan and Our Rare Four Plus Grade

See all of our Rimsky-Korsakov albums in stock

More entries in our Well Recorded Classical Albums – The Core Collection

Well Recorded Classical Albums from The Core Collection available on our site

This AMAZING side one with the complete Tsar Saltan was so good we gave it our rare 4+ grade. We freaked out when we heard this side – it took the sound beyond anything we had ever experienced for the work.

It’s so rich and real, with huge WHOMP factor down low, as well as clear, uncolored brass and robust lower strings – wow! We figure about one out of a hundred sides earn our Four Plus grade – you can’t get much more rare than that.

James Walker was the producer, Roy Wallace the engineer for these sessions from 1958 in Geneva’s glorious Victoria Hall. It’s yet another remarkable disc from the Golden Age of Vacuum Tube Recording.

The gorgeous hall the Suisse Romande recorded in was possibly the best recording venue of its day, perhaps of all time. More amazing sounding recordings were made there than in any other hall we know of. There is a solidity and richness to the sound that goes beyond all the other recordings we have played, yet clarity and transparency are not sacrificed in the least.

It’s as wide, deep and three-dimensional as any, which is of course all to the good, but what makes the sound of these recordings so special is the weight and power of the brass, combined with timbral accuracy of the instruments in every section.

(more…)