Sunday, June 30, 2013

Decca SXL 2110


SXL 2110
Schubert The "Trout" Quintet


Clifford Curzon, piano
Members of the Vienna Octet

Pressing:  ED1 ("Original Recording By")

Condition:  NM

Stampers:

ZAL 3835-2D
ZAL 3836-2E

Performance:  10/10

Sound:  8/10

Comments:  Ever since I first became interested in chamber music (when I formed a piano trio with two friends from orchestra during high school), the Trout Quintet has been one of my favorite chamber works.  I have a number of different recordings of the work -- mostly digital -- but this one is quite special.  The sound is really quite intimate, and you get the feeling that you are in the same room as the performers.


This record has also been praised in the book "Full Frequency Stereophonic Sound":  "This performance has been much admired by critics since its arrival nearly 30 years ago. An English pianist and Viennese chamber ensemble make the most of Schubert's melodies and rapid changes of harmonic color. The sound quality of the record is like having the musicians in for an evening of music in your house." Given an 18/20. 


SXL 2012
Grieg Peer Gynt

Oivin Fjeldstad, conductor
The London Symphony Orchestra

Pressing:  ED1 ("Original Recording By")


Condition:  VG++


Stampers:


Performance:  10/10


Sound:  8/10


Comments:  Despite this being one of the early Decca's (and a first pressing for what it's worth), this is one of the outstanding issues in the Decca catalog.  It has just about everything ... a world class performance, excellent sonics, very nice cover art.  There are many dynamic moments in this piece (not the least of which is the climax to In the Hall of the Mountain King) which are quite fun to listen to on a quality stereo system.


In the book "Full Frequency Stereophonic Sound", it is given one of the highest ratings (19/20) and the authors comment:  "The test of time has proven this to be one of the great recordings of this well known masterpiece."  There is a quote from Ivan March from 1960: "'This is one of the very best of all stereo issues, the recording is most natural, the sound spreads out well and has a wide range.  The exotic percussion effects (especially the bass drum) add much to the music without being exaggerated. There is the very slightest of muzziness at the climax of the Death of Ase and again in the Arab Dance but elsewhere the sound is outstandingly good.  The L.S.O. play very sensitively under Oivin Fjelstad and the tender string tone in Solverg's song is quite lovely. In all, a highly recommendable issue - on any gramphone.'"  I think that just about sums it up!