Wednesday, August 7, 2013

London CS 6210 Simply Marvelous Ravel from Ansermet

CS 6210

Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe, Alborado del Gracioso, Le Tombeau de Couperin, Valses Nobles et Sentimentales

Ernest Ansermet, conductor
L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

Pressing:  FFSS (side 1), wide band FFRR (side 2), Blueback

Condition: NM

Stampers:
ZAL-5057-4L
ZAL-5058-7L

Performance:  8/10

Sound:  9/10

Price range:  $28-33, mean $31 on popsike
($35-342, mean $143 for the Decca SXL 2273)

Comments:  I came home from work in the mood to listen to some orchestral Ravel.  Listening to a CD of the pianist Abbey Simon playing Le Tombeau de Couperin (Vox) put me in the mood to listen to its orchestral arrangement, and I had already mentally picked out this recording.  About 8-9 years ago, I found this London Blueback -- sealed -- at a used record sale in Chicago for something like 12 bucks.  As you may already know from my blog, I love French orchestral music, especially works by Debussy and Ravel, and this record is simply outstanding.  The performances by the Suisse Romande are very nice (a few issues with intonation aside), and who better to lead this orchestra than the founder himself, Ernest Ansermet.  There are a few conductors from this era who really knew how to conduct French music, and he was one of them (others, in my opinion, including Beecham, Cluytens, Monteux, and Paray).  The quality of the sound throughout the entire record is gorgeous.  Bass extension is quite deep and visceral.  The ending to the Danse Generale of Daphnis et Chloe is powerful and had me staring in awe at my speakers.  You can really appreciate the chime of the triangle in the opening movement of the Valses Nobles et Sentimentales.  No loss of clarity whatsoever in loud passages.  This is one record I come back to time and time again.

I was quite surprised to see this album receive a 6/10 for performance and a 6/10 for sound in Moon and Gray's book "Full Frequency Stereophonic Sound".  I guess we are entitled to our differences of opinion!

The Decca (SXL 2273) is quite rare and very expensive.  If you like this music, go for the London Blueback which is, as you can see, pretty affordable.  I can pretty much guarantee you that you will see no difference between the two, and you won't have to burn a hole in your wallet/purse.

3 comments:

  1. I've got this in blue back, but it is a grooved FFRR pressing with the same stampers. Its moved up in the listening pile. It came from WYSO.

    Moon shows he listened to the Decca (SXL 2273). A 1L/2L pressing sold earlier this year for $280. It's probably what Moon listened too.

    I find the releases starting around this time to be very interesting pressings. Perhaps CS 6210 is a little early in this range, so the latter pressing 4L/7L might be a top pressing. Here is a case where perhaps the London is better than the Decca.

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  2. Yes, if you look at my stampers, half of mine is also a grooved FFRR! I think those wideband FFRRs sound fantastic. I think that the current wisdom is that some of the wideband FFRRs sound even better than the early FFSS pressings.

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  3. Listened to this one some. My stampers garnered the blue back sound despite the abscence of the FFSS label. I found this one decent on brief listening and within blue backs I'd give it a 4. It would be a 4 minus compared to a nice ASD or SAX LP. A little tube bloat prevents the bass from really kicking it.

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