I just got my latest issue of The Absolute Sound (issue 235), and there is a very nice article on page 139 written by Jonathan Valin (yes, THE Jonathan Valin who authored the RCA Bible) on the wave of Analogue Productions' reissues of some of the famed RCA Living Stereo classical records. Apparently, these are supposed to sound significantly better than the originals, and they were all made from the original two- and three-track tapes. Interestingly, Sony, who owns RCA, permitted Chad Kassem (the owner of Analogue Productions) to do this project under the condition that the mastertapes had to stay in their respective storage locations. That meant that mastertapes stored in NYC had to remain in NYC and those stored in LA had to stay in LA. I guess that wasn't a major problem! These are the grades that Valin gave to some of the upcoming releases:
1. LSC-2183 The Reiner Sound A+
2. LSC-2201 Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition A+
3. LSC-2230 Spain A
4. LSC-2367 Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue, American in Paris A++
5. LSC-2436 Respighi: Pines of Rome, Fountains of Rome A
6. LSC-2446 Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade A+
Based on this mostly positive review -- he recommended all of the Analogue Productions RCA reissues -- I think I may actually try to give one or two of these a shot. Right now, I'm thinking maybe the Reiner Sound for starters. I was surprised to see the Gershwin get an A++. I've heard the original, which is nice, but I agree that the piano sounds a bit distant in this pressing. I was also surprised to see the Respighi get only an A. Valin, who does own the famous 1s/1s pressing, says that he believes the original has a sweeter string tone, though bass is quite powerful on the upcoming reissue.