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Tchaikovsky / Strauss - Romeo & Juliet / Till Eulenspiegel / Munch  - Super Hot Stamper

The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.

Super Hot Stamper

Tchaikovsky / Strauss
Romeo & Juliet / Till Eulenspiegel / Munch

Regular price
$149.99
Regular price
Sale price
$149.99
Unit price
per 
Availability
Sold out

Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus Minus (closer to M-- to EX++ in parts)*

Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (closer to M-- to EX++ in parts)*

  • Wonderful Living Stereo sound throughout this original Shaded Dog pressing, with both sides earning solid Double Plus (A++) grades or close to them
  • Both of these sides play about as quiet as we can ever hope to find them - for whatever reason, this title was rarely, if ever, pressed on quiet vinyl
  • Romeo & Juliet takes up all of this Double Plus side one and we guarantee there is dramatically more space, richness, and performance energy on this copy than others you've heard, and that's especially true if you made the mistake of buying whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently on the market
  • Our favorite performance of the Tchaikovsky - when you hear it played by the BSO, guided by the baton of the supremely talented Charles Munch, you know you are hearing the work performed with the greatest skill and interpreted as authentically as is humanly possible
  • Spacious, rich and smooth (particularly on side two) - only vintage analog seems capable of reproducing all three of these qualities without sacrificing resolution, staging, imaging or presence
  • Our White Hot Shootout Winner was simply amazing sounding - some of the best orchestral sound we have heard lately, especially audible in exceptionally breathy flutes and sweet strings
  • It was a quite a step up in sound quality over even the closest contender, which just goes to show how hard it is to come across these very special pressings no matter how many Shaded Dogs you play

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) / More of the music of Richard Strauss (1864-1949)

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*NOTE: This record was not noisy enough to rate our M-- to EX++ grade, but it's not quite up to our standards for Mint Minus Minus either. If you're looking for quiet vinyl, this is probably not the best copy for you.

Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in exceptionally clean shape. Most of the will have at least some amount of ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG


This vintage Living Stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it -- not often, and certainly not always -- but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What The Best Sides Of Romeo & Juliet / Till Eulenspiegel Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1962
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren't veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we've heard them all.

Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.

Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.

Standard Operating Procedures

What are sonic qualities by which a record -- any record -- should be judged? Pretty much the ones we discuss in most of our Hot Stamper listings: energy, frequency extension (on both ends), transparency, spaciousness, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, three-dimensionality, and on and on down the list.

When we can get a number of these qualities to come together on the side we’re playing, we provisionally give it a ballpark Hot Stamper grade, a grade that is often revised during the shootout as we hear what the other copies are doing, both good and bad.

Once we’ve been through all the side ones, we play the best of the best against each other and arrive at a winner for that side. Other copies from earlier in the shootout will frequently have their grades raised or lowered based on how they sounded compared to the eventual shootout winner. If we’re not sure about any pressing, perhaps because we played it early on in the shootout before we had learned what to listen for, we take the time to play it again.

Repeat the process for side two and the shootout is officially over. All that’s left is to see how the sides of each pressing match up.

It may not be rocket science, but it’s a science of a kind, one with strict protocols that we’ve developed over the course of many years to insure that the results we arrive at are as accurate as we can make them.

The result of all our work speaks for itself, on this very record in fact. We guarantee you have never heard this music sound better than it does on our Hot Stamper pressing -- or your money back.

What We're Listening For On Romeo & Juliet / Till Eulenspiegel

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Powerful bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Vinyl Condition

Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.

If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.

A Must Own Record

This is a recording that belongs in any serious Classical Music Collection. Others that belong in that category can be found here.

Side One

  • Romeo & Juliet: Overture-Fantasy

Side Two

  • Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks

Romeo and Juliet (Tchaikovsky)

Romeo and Juliet, TH 42, ČW 39, is an orchestral work composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It is styled an Overture-Fantasy, and is based on Shakespeare's play of the same name. Like other composers such as Berlioz and Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky was deeply inspired by Shakespeare and wrote works based on The Tempest and Hamlet as well.

Unlike Tchaikovsky's other major compositions, Romeo and Juliet does not have an opus number.

Musical structure

Although styled an 'Overture-Fantasy' by the composer, the overall design is a symphonic poem in sonata form with an introduction and an epilogue. The work is based on three main strands of the Shakespeare story. The first strand, written in F-sharp minor, following Mily Balakirev's suggestion, is the introduction representing the saintly Friar Laurence. Here there is a foreboding of doom from the lower strings. The Friar Laurence theme is heard in F minor, with plucked strings, before ending up in E minor. The introduction is chorale-like.

Eventually a single first inversion B minor chord is passed back and forth between strings and woodwinds grows into the second strand in B minor, the strife theme of the warring Capulets and Montagues, including a reference to the sword fight, depicted by crashing cymbals. There are agitated, quick sixteenth notes. The action suddenly slows, the key changing from B minor to D-flat (as suggested by Balakirev) and we hear the opening bars of the "love theme," the third strand, passionate and yearning in character but always with an underlying current of anxiety. The love theme signifies the couple first meeting and the scene at Juliet's balcony. The English horn and viola represent Romeo, while the flutes represent Juliet.

In the development, the battling strand returns, this time with more intensity and build-up, with the Friar Laurence theme heard with agitation in F♯ minor. This section is then repeated again, a semitone higher. Eventually, a fortissimo is reached where the trumpets play an altered Friar Laurence theme with the rest of the orchestra having an off-beat gesture, in B minor. This leads into the recapitulation where the strife theme returns.

A transition is heard where the clarinets play an altered love theme over restless violin phrases, before the strings enter with a lush, hovering melody over which the flute and oboe eventually soar with the love theme once again, this time loud and in D major, signaling their consummated marriage, and finally heard in E major. It is interrupted by two large orchestra hits with cymbal crashes, which symbolise the families' war disrupting their love, and eventually bringing their deaths, with hate prevailing over love. A final battle theme is played, then a soft, slow dirge in B major ensues, with timpani playing a repeated triplet pattern, and tuba holding a B natural for 16 bars. The woodwinds play a sweet homage to the lovers, and a final allusion to the love theme brings in the climax, beginning with a huge crescendo B natural roll of the timpani, and the orchestra plays homophonic shouts of a B major chord before the final bar, with full orchestra belting out a powerful B natural to close the overture.

Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks

Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Op. 28, is a tone poem written in 1894–95 by Richard Strauss. It chronicles the misadventures and pranks of the German peasant folk hero Till Eulenspiegel, who is represented by two themes. The first, played by the horn, is a lilting melody that reaches a peak, falls downward, and ends in three long, loud notes, each progressively lower. The second, for D clarinet, is crafty and wheedling, suggesting a trickster doing what he does best. (Till Eulenspiegel is a well-known Schnickelfritz.)

The music follows Till throughout the countryside, as he rides a horse through a market, upsetting the goods and wares, pokes fun at the strict Teutonic clergy (represented by the violas), flirts with and chases girls (the love theme is given to the first violins), and mocks the serious academics (represented by the bassoons).

The music suggesting a horse ride returns again, with the first theme restated all over the orchestra. The climax abruptly changes to a funeral march. Till has been captured by the authorities, and is sentenced to death for blasphemy. The funeral march of the headsman begins a dialogue with the desperate Till, who tries to wheedle and joke his way out of this predicament. Unfortunately, he has no effect on the stony executioner, who hangs him. The progress of Till being hauled up the gallows is graphically painted by the D clarinet, with the anticipatory drumroll emulated by the flutes after he has reached the top. The D clarinet wails in a distortion of the first theme, signifying his death scream as the drop begins, and a pizzicato by the strings represents the snapping of his neck as the noose rope reaches full extension. After a moment of silence, the "once upon a time" theme heard at the beginning returns, suggesting that someone like Till can never be destroyed, and the work ends with one last quotation of the musical joke.

- Wikipedia