Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Readers' Poll: Best Bargain Find

This week's Readers' Poll question takes a detour from the usual "reference recording" to ask you:

Which album in your collection would you consider to be your greatest "bargain find"?

Is it that $1 blue-back original wide-band Decca found at the used book sale?  Blue and silver Columbia SAX for less than 1 GBP at the local thrift shop?  We've all had at least one of these hidden treasure discoveries and we'd love to hear about yours!

Readers' Poll Results: Brahms Symphony No. 1

Thanks to all our readers for their responses this past week!

Columbia SAXF 5001 (French pressing, boxed set)
Otto Klemperer, Philharmonia Orchestra

Decca LXT 5292 (mono)
Josef Krips, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Decca SXL 6796
Zubin Mehta, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

EMI ASD 2401
Sir John Barbirolli, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

EMI ASD 2871 (also in EMI SLS 5009 boxed set)
Sir Adrian Boult, London Philharmonic Orchestra

EMI CFP 131 (EMI ASD 350) 
Rudolf Kempe, Berlin Philharmonic

Regal SREG 1017 (EMI ASD 350) 
Rudolf Kempe, Berlin Philharmonic

World Record Club T464
Franz Konwitschny, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

Friday, April 15, 2016

Decca SXL 6119: Ansermet conducts Russian Delights

Decca SXL 6119

Russian Delights

Ernest Ansermet, conductor
L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

Pressing: UK, ED2

Condition: NM-

Date first published: 1964


Mother number: 1, 1
Buckingham codes: I, BB

Performance: 8.5/10

Sound: 8.5/10

Price Range: $24-366 (mean $92) on popsike.com

Comments: Here is another enjoyable potpourri of Russian orchestral favorites by Mussorgsky and Glinka. Although this LP doesn't usually make it to the well-known audiophile recording lists, it is, in my humble opinion, a gem and certainly one of my favorite London/Decca's. Night on the Bare Mountain may drag a bit in terms of tempo and doesn't have quite the terror of contemporaneous recordings by Matacic, Giulini, Leibowitz, or Pretre, but Ansermet and the OSR still manage to maintain a decent level of intensity throughout. The movements from "Khovanschchina" are sensitively played, though, I have honestly never been particularly drawn to this work. The Overture to Russlan and Ludmilla, Waltz Fantasy, and Jota Aragonesa are more successful and a delight to listen to from start to finish.

There is much to praise about the sonics of this recording. The orchestra is presented with mostly excellent clarity (there is just a touch of very low-level distortion at times), imaging, and transparency across a wide and expansive soundstage. Dynamics are certainly a strong point of this album and, combined with the deep bass (most notable with the percussion), give powerful impact to the more dynamic musical passages.

This LP shows up about 9-10 times per year on the auction market, which is relatively rare for a Decca, though based on the most recent going prices it doesn't look like you'll have to break the bank to get a decent copy. That being said, a NM copy just sold for $227 earlier this month. The London version of this recording, CS 6405, is generally cheaper and may be the copy to seek, unless you have to have the more colorful laminated Decca cover.

Readers' Poll: Brahms Symphony No. 1, Op. 68

What are your favorite vinyl performances and recordings of Johannes Brahms' Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68?

Please click on the comments link below to tell us your top choices.

Readers' Poll: Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du Printemps)

Fewer responses this week, but here they are!

CBS MS 6010
Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic

CBS MS 6319
Igor Stravinsky, Columbia Symphony Orchestra

CBS S 72804 (German pressing) (MS 7293)
Pierre Boulez, Cleveland Orchestra

Decca SXL 6691 (or London CS 6885)
Sir Georg Solti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra

EMI/HMV ASD 313 (or EMI CFP 129 or Regal SREG 1024)
Igor Markevitch, Philharmonia Orchestra

Mercury Living Presence SR 90253
Antal Dorati, Minneapolis Symphony

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Readers' Poll: Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du Printemps)

What are your favorite vinyl performances and recordings of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du Printemps)?

Please click on the comments link below to tell us your top choices.

Readers' Poll Results: Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto

Thank you as always for your responses -- a diversity of favorite recordings for this work!  Here are the results of our most recent poll:

Columbia/CBS MS 6298
David Oistrakh, Eugene Ormandy/Philadelphia Orchestra

Columbia SAX 2323 (WRC ST562)
Leonid Kogan, Constantin Silvestri/Paris Conservatoire Orchestra

Crossroads 22 16 0224 (WRC R-00066)
Hyman Bress, Sir Adrian Boult/London Philharmonic Orchestra

Decca LXT 2970 (mono) (ACL 25)
Mischa Elman, Sir Adrian Boult/London Philharmonic Orchestra

Decca SXL 2279 (London CS 6215)
Ruggiero Ricci, Sir Malcolm Sargent/London Symphony Orchestra

Decca SXL 6493 (London CS 6710)
Kyung-Wha Chung, Andre Previn/London Symphony Orchestra

Deutsche Grammophon SLPM 139028
Christian Ferras, Herbert von Karajan/Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

Deutsche Grammophon 2532 001
Gidon Kremer, Lorin Maazel/Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

Deutsche Grammophon 419 241-1
Anne Sophie-Mutter, Herbert von Karajan/Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

EMI ASD 2813
Igor Oistrakh, David Oistrakh/Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra

London CS 6011 (Decca SXL 2029 or SPA 183)
Alfredo Campoli, Ataulfo Argenta/London Symphony Orchestra

Philips SGL 5815 (Fontana SFL 14059)
Michele Auclair, Robert Wagner/Innsbruck State Symphony Orchestra

RCA Living Stereo LSC-2129
Jascha Heifetz, Fritz Reiner/Chicago Symphony Orchestra

RCA Red Seal Dynagroove LSC-3014
Itzhak Perlman, Eric Leinsdorf/Boston Symphony Orchestra

Remington R-19920 (mono)
Michele Auclair, Kurt Woss/Austrian Symphony Orchestra

Westminster WST 14017
Erica Morini, Artur Rodzinski/Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of London

World Record Club ST 574 (Capitol SP 8512)
Nathan Milstein, William Steinberg/Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra