Friday, August 16, 2013

Columbia SAX 2560 Rossini Overtures

SAX 2560

Giulini conducts Rossini Overtures

Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor
Philharmonia Orchestra

Pressing: ED1 (semi-circle first)

Condition: EX

YAX 1160-5
YAX 1161-4

Performance: 10/10

Sound: 8/10

Price range: $25-124, $44

Comments:  I apologize for going out of order here again, but I was just in the mood for Rossini this evening.  Who doesn't like Rossini's overtures?  These are some of the most fun, most energetic, most uplifting orchestral works ever written, with melodies and themes which will remain branded in your memory for a lifetime.  This recording was actually Giulini's second record of Rossini Overtures for Columbia.  The first was a collection of both Rossini and Verdi Overtures released as SAX 2377 which included the overtures to L'Italiana in Algeri, Il Barbieri de SivigliaIl Signor Bruschinoand La Scala di Seta.  Interestingly, the next album issued by Columbia in the SAX series (SAX 2378) was yet another album of Rossini overtures with the Philharmonia, this time with Karajan conducting.  Giulini picks up where he left off with the overtures to La CenerentolaTancrediLa Gazza LadraSemiramide, and Guglielmo Tell.  I haven't had the chance to sample SAX 2378 for comparison, but Giulini's Rossini sounds just right to me.  The Philharmonia is in fine form here, and my ears couldn't pick up any obvious problems with balance or intonation.  Tempos are well judged, and one can really feel the life in these works.  Rossini's many crescendos are handled very well by Giulini, who is able to gradually build up the musical tension.  The sound is warm and clear with a good dynamic range throughout the entire album.  The soundstage is fairly wide and comparably wider to the one heard in Karajan's SAX recording with a closer presentation of the orchestra (Karajan's Philharmonia sounds a bit more recessed).  One of the small things I will sometimes listen for when I compare recordings of these Rossini overtures is the snare drum part heard throughout La Gazza Ladra.  On this recording, it is deep, crisp, and clear with nice spatial separation from the other instruments in the orchestra without sounding overbearing.

This album is not only very available, it is quite affordable.  In fact, I just picked up a second copy in NM- condition on Ebay for $9.99!  Snatch it up if you can.  The music will bring you much enjoyment, and you can appreciate the vitality and humor in Rossini's music in very fine sound.   If you prefer to go digital, it has been recently remastered and reissued by EMI (including the overtures on SAX 2377) and can be purchased in the budget to mid-range price.  The CD is also excellent.  Another fine vinyl alternative is Pierino Gamba's recording with the London Symphony Orchestra on Decca, another fabulous sounding album from the golden age of classical recording.



  1. Great minds think alike. I just contacted the seller after that auction slipped by. I see you got it with a buy it now. Let us know if the whited out label makes a difference. While on the subject it seems that the ODEON black label just covers up the original label. This is a way to got a pressing a bit cheaper as their seems to be some aversion to these. You can buy one of THE INIMITABLE SIR THOMAS BEECHAM ODEON STER # ASD 518 right now. If you have this LP and don't want a double, let me know what you think of this one. Its in the US so shipping attractive.

    1. Very sorry to have taken this copy if you were interested! I asked about the white sticker and was told that it was a factory sticker. Hopefully it sounds a little cleaner than my current copy which was rated NM but sounds VG+.

      I agree with you on odeons. Who minds the sticker? It's the same record. I don't have asd 518. Have you heard it?

  2. I made an offer. It will be my second gold and cream. I only offered $15, but its an Odeon. None on popsike so that means they go for under $20. NM+, so I went for it. Not reissued either. If its a Beecham breakup bust at least I know the music is not elsewhere. Some sellers will bite on an offer like this and others will be insulted. Asking $28. A top condition gold and cream would go for $60. I notice on the ASD that originals say Stereo on the top, reissues do not. This says Stereo. My best guess is that these are all original with the black label. The existance of an Odeon also means there was no Angel usually.... and that appears to be the case as I only see a Seraphim.

    This makes me wish I was noting Angels in my list. The lack of an Angel release would indicate Odeon might have been sold. Popsike shows one, ASD 429, at $1200!, so half price perhaps. SAX 2531, $1500 which was almost full price. I see a couple Annie Fischer LPs and that is it. I'd say most ODEON fly under the Popsike radar.

    1. Good luck with your offer! Sounds reasonable to me. I also saw an Annie Fischer ODEON go up for sale. It did not sell for cheap.

    2. I'm a Beecham bum now. Seller countered for $20 and I went for it. I bet your SAX here is better for the money, but the SAX goes for cheap enough. I'll land one eventually. Seems like I've got some solid Rossini, but maybe all I have is LSC-2318 Reiner. Performance good, sound...... I've got the LSC Venice with Semerimade to keep me happy.

  3. Ah yes. Love the Venice album. I sold that one, too, though sadly it didn't bring in very much. My copy was about a VG+, so I couldn't expect much. Sonics on that one are quite fabulous. I was looking for a long time to see if that album had ever been released on CD. It has, finally. It is included as part of a 10 CD Solti boxed set from the German company Membran International. I got it for about $11. Sound here is also pretty good though not quite as stunning as on the record.

    Congrats on your Beecham! I'll look forward to a review.

  4. Listen to the CD:

  5. I missed a great reissue on this one. The Concert Classic SXLP 30143. This may still be the blue chevrons label (as opposed to blue ring) which is usually very good. This could be better than the SAX pressing. It will have more bass to be sure.