Funnily enough Vic I had a road to Damascus moment this morning which has unexpectedly brought me around to your viewpoint! I noticed in one of the hifi mags as I was waiting for a train, that a panel of very experienced audio listeners were comparing the difference in sound quality you get by storing your music files on different brands of hard disk. I think they could be on to something here. I hope Ivor T sees this too and puts his best engineers onto exploiting these findings. I'm sure he will since I seem to recall that his view is that rubbish in means rubbish out. I have a real sense this could be the missing link you've been waiting for - the last step on your lifelong audio odyssey. It should certainly give digital the edge over analogue. It might even surpass the realism of one of those Pye Golden Guinea lps.
Of course replacing parts of your existing system will be expensive, but Ivor might be able offer loyal customers like yourself a competitively priced upgrade kit. I should add that any improvement will be subtle, but certaintly worth it, and to get the most out of it you will need to have a very revealing system from source to speaker. You will almost certainly need to use the gold plated fibre optic connectors that Maplin sell, which I understand give the clearest sound of all even though the technology involved is beyond me and way ahead of anything in my old physics textbooks.
Oh, you are such a wag, Ted!
But none of this is the "evidence" I submit. Last night I listened to, among other things, my Pye Golden Guinea 1966 issue of the Elgar Enigma Variations / Cello Concerto with Barbirolli and the Halle Orchestra. It reminded me, along with other discussions here, of why, when I want or need to get as close as possible to that seat in Symphony Hall, it's to vinyl at its best that I turn.
Last night I listened to, among other things, my Pye Golden Guinea 1966 issue of the Elgar Enigma Variations / Cello Concerto with Barbirolli and the Halle Orchestra. It reminded me, along with other discussions here, of why, when I want or need to get as close as possible to that seat in Symphony Hall, it's to vinyl at its best that I turn.
Seconded, Vic, however for this recording it's you that has the LP and me that has the CD so I can't comment on the sound of the former! I just played the CD of the Enigma and the Intro & Allegro which is also on the CD. What fabulous performances which really show Sir JB at his best. It is so obvious how deeply he felt and cared for this music, with his little touches of string portamento, and how the Halle gave him their all; truly magical music making. The sound too is quite superb, with stunning presence and immediacy that yes, I will admit to it on CD (due to the superb original recordings). I see from the notes that the Enigma was recorded in 1956 by the Mercury team, the Intro by Bob Auger, taking me back many years to JB's concerts in the Free Trade Hall.
A perfect example of the superiority of analogue masters from the early days of stereo compared with what we get today.
One puzzle though Vic I assume this is the Andre Navarra cello concerto recording and if so is it stereo? I say this because it's mono on the CD so I assume the stereo master must have been lost or damaged.
Oops sorry for the duplication must have pressed the wrong button!
You are right there is a slight mystery here. The version I have is on a Pye Collectors lp (which I guess is from the 1970s?) It states that the recording is electronically processed stereo. This is a bit strange because the Golden Guinea lp that Vic has is I think an earlier release, and looking at the gramophone archive suggests that it was a proper stereo release. So either it was really electronically processed stereo or for some reason they chose not to (or were unable to) use the stereo tape by the 1970s.
I'm not entirely sure but perhaps the issue might be related to whether the Mercury team were in the process of switching from mono to stereo around 1956/1957?
One puzzle though Vic I assume this is the Andre Navarra cello concerto recording and if so is it stereo? ...
You are right there is a slight mystery here. The version I have is on a Pye Collectors lp (which I guess is from the 1970s?) It states that the recording is electronically processed stereo. This is a bit strange because the Golden Guinea lp that Vic has is I think an earlier release, and looking at the gramophone archive suggests that it was a proper stereo release. ...
It is indeed the one with Andre Navarra and the sleeve gives the date 1966, although there are no dates on the labels. The labels on both sides claims stereo but not only is the Cello Concerto side not proper stereo, it is a faulty pressing and distorts too much in places for regular playing (although, as I checked it this morning, it's a fine performance, in my opinion). When I made the claim for sound quality in an earlier post I should have confined my comment to the Enigma Variations side. Apologies.
PS: Can't something be done about these damned spammers? They practically took over the BBC MM forum just before it closed and might have been a significant reason for its closure - temporary closure, we were told.
about these damned spammers? They practically took over the BBC MM forum just before it closed and might have been a significant reason for its closure - temporary closure, we were told.
Perhaps it would partially help if long inactive threads were closed?
ps two more Saint Saens Organ Symphonies. Mention of the Mercury team caused me to listen to Paray/Detroit on Living Presence. Also a classic, possibly not quite the equal of Munch in either sweep or sound, but it's still pretty impressive, and I quite like the coupled Mass by Paray himself. I then had a listen to Bernstein/NYPO from the mid 70s. Nice beefy organ, but the most plodding, downtrodden performance imaginable. I'm otherwise a Bernstein fan, but this is not characteristic of him (or even his later work) at all. Not recommended. In comparison, Karajan, although I find the recording a bit perverse, is still quite enjoyable.
Thanks Ted & Vic for comments on the Navarra Elgar. I had wondered if the Mercury team had stereo gear but Pye's engineers didn't but that doesn't seem to fit either. The CD notes state the Enigma was recorded in June 1956 (by the Mercury team), the Intro & Allegro which is true stereo was December 1956 by Pye's own engineer Bob Auger who also did the 'cello concerto later in May 1957, which is mono on the CD: a mystery.
Presumably in this period the Mercury people were experimenting with stereo in parallel to recording in mono. Something I read elsewhere suggests the Mercury team started experimenting with stereo around 1954, but the first of Mercury's own classical lps in stereo didn't get released til 1958. From what I can tell from the Grammophone archive, the Pye recordings were released originally only in mono in the late 50s. So perhaps the availability of stereo equivalents was a bit patchy at the time, depending on how they felt their stereo experiments had gone?
Should also add that Ravel's Mother Goose Suite was recorded on the same days (21-22 May 57) as the Elgar Cello Concerto by Robert Auger and that is also mono. (Some Berlioz Damnation of Faust excerpts were also recorded on same 2 days.) Perhaps time available was another factor in those days? Looking at the discography in Michael Kennedy's biography of Barbirolli, there were recordings most days for the period 21-29 May, all for Pye.
ps two more Saint Saens Organ Symphonies. ... Paray/Detroit on Living Presence. ... Also I then had a listen to Bernstein/NYPO .... In comparison, Karajan, although I find the recording a bit perverse, is still quite enjoyable.
My Karajan copy arrived a couple of days ago and I would agree with Ted's summary here. He gets a magisterial performance from the great Berlin Phil, but boy does he overplay the organ's contribution. [Pun resisted.] Too imposing, I thought, however well played, etc. And as an earlier poster suggested, it's a great test for your audio equipment. What a sound! I'd love to hear the vinyl release and will look out for it for this reason alone.
After doing a kind of Radio 3 Building a Library-type comparison with my six versions, including a straight play-through of the last movement of each in turn, I'm left feeling that I like them all in their own way. None I would want to live without. Incidentally, the controlling software on the iPad for the DS makes it so easy to jump between versions or compare bits from each (much as in Building a Library): tap, tap, tap and listen to each first entry of the organ in turn - great fun.
I am left feeling that Munch leads (my) pack by a head, (thanks for the advice guys) with Fremaux my next favourite. It says something for this great symphony, I think, that after hours of playing about as described above, I still wanted to hear it again, straight through, but this time with a nice bottle of chilled white. Perhaps a firery red would have been a more fitting choice.
Imagine, Vic, what can happen if you do the same thing you did with the "Organ Symphony" by Saint-Saens with only the major works of the repertory in instrumental, chamber, orchestral, vocal, choral and opera genres. You may need some more lifetimes.
I've done a great deal with quite a few works in almost all fields of Classical Music, but it's a huge undertaking and an unending experience. Worthwhile though!
So, keep on now with perhaps Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe', another superb work of the best possible orchestration, amazing structure, inventiveness and creativity.
Well the Penguin Guide always rated Munch's Boston Daphnis very highly but I would go for Monteux's LSO which was one of producer John Culshaw's own particular favourite recordings, with Decca's Kingsway Hall sound at its best. I have in on CD and Speakers Corner Lp, both superb, with the Munch on a Classic Records Living Stereo facsimile. Both are complete, not the suites. The Speakers Corner is probably still available.
I am a new member to this site and love my vinyl.
I have a vintage set up Tannoy HPD 385, Luxman amp Integrated L3. Restored and upgraded Garrard 401, some Tannoy Golds 12''. Thorhauge 8 valve amp, hand built new in Denmark.
I had gone all cd many years ago, gave away most of my vinyl.
Then six months ago started up my collection of vinyl again. The sound is a whole new other. I cannot comment on the new cd players. I still have a Marantz KI signiture. So maybe this is an area to revisit.
I recently visited a local hospice and managed to buy some exceptional vinyl.
DECCA, Deautsche Grammaophon, philips, RCA etc. So that I could test.
The quality is breathtaking. These must have been one persons collection, someone who loved their collection and looked aftter it.
I am now going through each of them and deciding which I would like to keep and what to move on as it is not all to my taste.
Stuff like http://www.discogs.com/Herbert-von-Karajan-conductorHilde-Gueden-sopranoWaldemar-Kmentt-tenorEberhard-Wachter-baritoneWalte/release/1862223 . The sound quality is out of this world and was in danger of bursting my ear drums.
Can anyone give me some advice as to who I should contact to move this on to. I would like it to go to someone who would appreciate it. It was recorded live on old valve technology, very rare 1960. I'm sure the person who owned this would like it to go to a new home and be preserved and played.
Out of curiosity I bought things I would not normally buy