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Discussion Starter · #83 · (Edited)
Living Stereo Vol. 1, Disc 12
LP#LSC-1901

Human Font Adaptation Brick Poster


Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6, Op. 74, in B minor "Pathetique"
Recorded at Symphony Hall, Boston, January 26, 1955

Engineer: Lewis Layton
Producer: John Pfeiffer
Total time: 44:13

Review:
This recording starts out brisk, but by the 3rd and 4th movements becomes quite stately and slow, though not in a bad way by any means. The playing is at a high level. The acoustic of the Boston hall and the recording technology lend this a rather dry and crispy feel, with a mild amount of tape hiss. But there is good detail and a fair amount of low end energy (though not as much as more advanced recordings).

I own four other renditions of this symphony - Karajan's 3 DG pressings and one by Michael Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra. Pletnev is the fastest throughout; Karajan is slower in the first 2 movements and faster in the last 2; this is the reverse of Karajan's take. Sonically this does beat the Pletnev (recorded digitally in 1995) and probably ties with Karajan's 60s account with BPO. Karajan's 70s (analog with BPO) and 80s (digitally with VPO) accounts win the sound quality competition. If this were your only Tchaikovsky 6, you wouldn't be suffering too badly. It's a very credible account with a good level of emotional weight. But for my money Karajan 70s or 80s are the way to go as all-round mixes of playing and technical excellence.

Rating: 8/10

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Discussion Starter · #84 · (Edited)
Living Stereo Vol. 1, Disc 13
LP#LM-2080

Font Publication Poster Art Advertising


Brass & Percussion
Morton Gould and his Symphonic Band
1 The Stars And Stripes Forever 3:35
2 Parade (For Percussion) 2:12
3 On Parade 2:45
4 Semper Fidelis 3:10
5 Jubilee 2:33
6 Fourth Of July 2:24
7 Hands Across The Sea 1:41
8 Battle Hymn (Based On Steffe: Battle Hymn Of The Republic) 3:24
9 National Emblem 2:05
10 On The Mall 3:08
11 The Thunderer 2:14
12 American Youth March 2:26
13 The Chimes Of Liberty 2:33
14 Happy Go Lucky 2:17
15 Washington Post 2:28
16 The Gladiator 2:02
17 El Capitan 2:20
18 The U.S. Field Artillery March 2:32
19 Dixie 2:48
20 The High School Cadets 1:56
21 Sound Off 2:15
22 The Corcoran Cadets March 2:26
23 American Patrol 2:40
24 Yankee Doodle 2:43
25 Manhattan Beach 2:11
26 National Fencibles March 2:36
27 Jericho 12:23

Recorded at Manhattan Center, New York, October 17-26 1956 (1-17) & January 22-23, 1959

Engineer: Lewis Layton
Producer: John Pfeiffer
Total time: 44:13


Review: Well. This is more Sousa than you can shake a stick at. As such, it has a certain charm but is mostly insipid and repetitive. By far my favorite tracks on this album were Gould's own compositions, especially Fourth of July and Jericho.

Now, with that said, the sound here is mostly pretty good. I do think it starts to strain the capabilities of the recording technology when there is a lot of brass and percussion happening at once (which is reasonably frequent, given the title) but overall there is a nice stereo image and It's pretty enjoyable on good equipment. I imagine this was a big hit in the 60s when it premiered on vinyl.

Rating: 7/10

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I believe this should include a list of all 27 tracks on YouTube.
 

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I have all but one of the Living Stereo SACD series. If I had known the series would at the point it did I would have picked up the Mario Lanza disc to complete the set. (I refuse to pay a premium for it.)

Haven’t read every post, but has anyone heard any of the Analogue Productions Living Stereo releases? Also dual layer SACDs. A good deal of overlap with the BMG/Sony set, but also some other works. The AP only contain a single album of music. And they’re $30 bucks. So I haven’t convinced myself to pull the trigger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #86 ·
Living Stereo Vol. 1, Disc 14
LP#LSC-2435

Musical instrument Classical music Violin family Music Musical instrument accessory


Sibelius Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47
Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Walter Hendl/Jascha Heifetz, soloist
recorded at Orchestra Hall, Chicago, January 10/12 1959

Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63
Boston Symphony Orchestra & Charles Munch/Jascha Heifetz, soloist
recorded at Symphony Hall, Boston, February 24 1959

Glazunov Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 82
RAC Victor Symphony Orchestra & Walter Hendl/Jascha Heifetz, soloist
recorded at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, California, June 3-4 1963

Engineer: Lewis Layton, John Crawford, John Norman, Leslie Chase
Producer: John Pfeiffer
Total time: 68:41


Review: To call this recording a classic is to probably do it a disservice. We are presented with three masterful renditions of violin concertos, with the famous Sibelius being the highlight. Despite being captured in three different orchestra halls, all three recordings are top shelf in terms of sonics, matching even my modern example of the Sibelius piece, of which I have three. I was particularly impressed by the first two recordings, which makes sense given RCA's demonstrated ability at capturing sound in those venues. There is some really nicely layered orchestral sound from Chicago in particular, with some nice contrabass. Heifetz plays wonderfully, even at brisk tempii, with both great technical skill as well as emotional performance.

My other two Sibelius concertos are HVK/BPO/Christian Ferras and Thomas Dausgaard/Danish National Symphony/Christian Tetzlaff. I think I like Ferras the best as soloist, but it's not a runaway by any means, Heifetz is right there. RCA's Heifetz recording has better sound than DG's Ferras. There is more tape hiss and the Jesus Christus Kirche is a bit too reverberant. The Tetzlaff recording by Erato has the most modern sound, but it lacks a bit in the excitement - it all feels a bit remote.

Basically, you can't go wrong with this compilation. I think it's pretty close to a "must own."

Rating: 10/10

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I've been slammed for stating this; but RCA's "Living Stereo" was no more than an advertising slogan and had nothing to do with recording technology.-- unlike, for example, Mercury's "Living Pesence", which did describe a recording philosophy. It was slapped arbitrarily on RCA record jackets to boost sales.

Exhibit One was this L.P.:



The sound is flat, painfully shrill, and beset with roaring tape hiss. (It's also my favorite march collection; absolutely enthusiastic performances.)

I'm not criticising RCA recording engineering quality-- it was routinely more engaging than rival Columbia's. I just believe the slogan signified nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #90 ·
Living Stereo Vol. 1, Disc 15-16
LP#LDS 6077

Font Sleeve Pattern History Art


Berlioz Requiem, Op. 5
Boston Symphony Orchestra/New England Conservatory Chorus, Charles Munch, contuctor
recorded at Symphony Hall, Boston, April 26-27, 1959

Engineer: Lewis Layton, Mark Donohue
Producer: Richard Mohr
Total time: 83 minutes

Review:
This was very engaging, and in spots the orchestral sound is really awesome, such as the Dies irae and the Rex tremendae. With that said, some other portions of the recording felt on the verge of "shattering" during the climaxes, such as near the end of the Lacrymosa. All in all, though, this was a pretty involving listen and I don't have a problem recommending it as an introduction to the piece.

Rating: 8/10

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I don't know whether "Living Stereo" is supposed to be any better that "Phase 4 Stereo" or not.
They have very different recording philosophies. In general, Living Stereo recordings involved just a few microphones, which at its best (e.g., the Boston Symphony recordings) gave a realistic-sounding image of an orchestra in a hall. In contrast, Phase 4 involved many microphones ("spot-miking"), which caused single instruments (such as a clarinet solo) to sound just as loud as a full orchestra. I much prefer the Living Stereo method; the only Phase 4 recording I've kept around is the Stokowski/LSO Scheherazade, and only because I love the performance enough to overlook the multi-miking.
 

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They have very different recording philosophies. In general, Living Stereo recordings involved just a few microphones, which at its best (e.g., the Boston Symphony recordings) gave a realistic-sounding image of an orchestra in a hall. In contrast, Phase 4 involved many microphones ("spot-miking"), which caused single instruments (such as a clarinet solo) to sound just as loud as a full orchestra. I much prefer the Living Stereo method; the only Phase 4 recording I've kept around is the Stokowski/LSO Scheherazade, and only because I love the performance enough to overlook the multi-miking.
Yes, spot-miking, highlighting can produce some stunning results, but they are often very unnatural sounding....instruments popping in and out of the sonic texture, weird balances, unrealistic dynamics.....I tend to favor fewer mikes, strategically placed - it shows more accurately the actual sound produced - which musicians are projecting, what sound is actually "hitting the mike" xxx feet out from the stage....Decca/London was [in]famous for the spot and multi-miking - esp noticeable in the Mehta/LAPO recordings of the 60s....also the Phase 4 recordings....
 

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That Berlioz requiem isn't my favorite - I like a little more hysteria in the Lacrymosa - but it has the best tenor for the Sanctus. Never heard anyone come as close to it as Simoneu does.
 
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