Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Piston: Symphony no 6 and Martinu: Fantaisies Symphoniques [RCA LM 2083] an LP released in the US in 1957

The Boston Symphony Orchestra commissioned fifteen symphonic works as part of their 75th anniversary as an orchestra. These two were among those that Charles Munch recorded for RCA.

The sound is solid and detailed, with a nice mono sound brought out by my new AT-mono3/LP cartridge which I bought from a Japanese dealer. This is a "true" mono cartridge in that it responds only to horizontal motion and ignores vertical movement of the stylus. The resulting sound has an almost astonishing decrease in surface noise. Upper frequency details are much better focused. I hope you can enjoy this LP.

A note: in the recently-released box set of the complete RCA recordings of Charles Munch, this LP was issued as a stereo recording. There must have been a stereo tape master made that day as well as mono. I've heard the stereo version and the soundstage is admirably wide but not so wide that there is no middle. Pick up the box set on Amazon while it is still at a reasonable price!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Beethoven: String Quartet in Am, op 132 - Fine Arts Quartet [Concert-Disc M-1241] an LP released in the US in 1964

We have here a fine and enjoyable rendition of this quartet by the venerable Fine Arts Quartet, recorded by the label Concert-Disc. If I am not mistaken, the label was originally called Webcor Tapes, but then eventually changed its name to Concert-Disc and still later was purchased by Everest which wound up being swallowed by one of the two or three big conglomerate record companies.

The Fine Arts Quartet (which is still in existence today -- albeit with different members, the way the Chicago Symphony Orchestra or Manchester City Football Club continue on despite personnel changes) was well known at this time (late 1940s through the late 1960s) for its especially clean and straight forward, seemingly effortless interpretations. I enjoy their entire Beethoven cycle, which was eventually released on multiple releases, three smaller box sets, and finally a big 9-LP box.

The cover suggests this quartet is in B flat yet the labels claim it is in Am. I believe the labels have it correct.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Bach: Gamba Sonatas by Hanoncourt, Brüggen, Stastny, and Tachezi [SAWT 9536-A Ex] an LP released in Germany in 1968

We have here a collection of sonatas for gamba and violoncello which are handsomely played and recorded with a precision which never enters into the territory of the dry and clinical. Telefunken as a recording operation seems to have been 5-10 years ahead of the competition up until the 1960s and was still quite delightful up until the digital age.

I enjoyed transferring this impressive and refined LP (in near mint condition -- actually it looks like it has never been played before, although it probably was a few times). I combined the two sides and made sure there was 8-10 seconds of space between each of the four works. 

The label for the second side is not actually silver and black -- I simply incorrectly scanned it in black and white and didn't feel like going back and re-doing it. This delight is 50 years old and in great shape inside and out.

The equipment utilized in this transfer include an AT LP-1240 turntable, an AT 440-MLb cartridge, a vintage late 1970s completely and professionally refurbished Pioneer receiver (with newly replaced capacitors and other electronics where needed), and a small digital portable recorder capable of recording at 24/96 resolution. Software included Audacity, careful use of ClickRepair, and xAct (to convert and compress files).

(the highest resolution I am capable of recording. 
This is not able to be burnt to a CDR without downsampling)

(after converting to WAV, this are CD-standard and can be burned to a CDR)

(the highest quality possible using the available mp3 programs)

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Haydn: String Quartets op 76 nos 3 and 4 by the Budapest String Quartet [ML 4923] an LP released in the United States in 1955

Here is a nice recording of the BSQ performing at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. I am not sure when these were recorded, but it can't have been too many years before its first release on Columbia Masterworks, which was in 1955.

The recorded sound is full bodied and direct. It would be nice to have an earlier pressing such as a "six-eye," but those are much more rare than my "two-eye" version.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Sibelius: Four Legends from 'the Kalevala' [Nonesuch H-71203] an LP recorded in 1968

Here we have a lovely LP from the Nonesuch label, featuring really glorious wrap-around psychedelic artwork by Gene Szafran.

It is one of a pair of titles of 20th century music recorded by the Buffalo (NY) Philharmonic conducted by Lukas Foss, who later on went to become the artistic director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Foss, a close friend of Leonard Bernstein, had a composing career which is reasonably well represented on LPs. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Berio: Sincronie and Laderman: Stanzas [Desto DC7129] an LP released in 1971

Here we have one of the LPs that will be filed under 'Misc 20th Century' at the local used record palace. Because there are two composers (and two different performers), there isn't a handy alternative place to put this. A lot of people pass up that section, but I've found quite a few nice records in that group.

Berio's piece was premiered in 1964 and Laderman's was written in 1959.

Desto was a very interesting small US record label which functioned primarily between 1964 and 1982. 

I certainly hope you will only use this transfer at home, because according to the label, that's why it was manufactured.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Bela Bartok: Suite from 'The Miraculous Mandarin' conducted by Tibor Serly [BRS 301] recorded in 1953

Bartok Records was formed in 1950 and until 1962 released LP records. Although at first concentrating on the compositions of Bela Bartok, eventually they branched out to other composers as well.

This LP features a suite from Bartok's ballet, 'The Miraculous Mandarin,' with Tibor Serly conducting the "New Symphony Orchestra" -- apparently a collection of UK orchestra musicians -- and recorded at the legendary Kingsway Hall, London.