The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*
- An early British EMI import pressing of these extraordinary orchestral pieces with superb Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
- The amazingly well recorded "Toy" Symphony on side two is the real reason to own this record - you will be shocked at how realistic the toys sound, and how spaciously they are arrayed in the soundfield
- These sides are clear, full-bodied and present, with plenty of live venue space around the players, the unmistakable sonic hallmark of the properly mastered, properly pressed vintage analog LP
- The first pressing of the album I ever played, back in about 1995, was on the Japanese Soundphile Series, and it blew my mind at the time
- Fast forward 25 plus years and now we know that, as good as the Japanese pressing can be, the real EMIs can be even better
- That's why we do the shootouts, right?
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*NOTE: On side 2, there is a mark that plays 6 times at a light to moderate level about 1/4 from the end of Haydn's "Toy" Symphony.
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 EMI import 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 Eine Kleine Nachtmusik 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 1977
- 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.
What We're Listening For On Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
- 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.
A Big Group of Musicians Needs This Kind of Space
One of the qualities that we don’t talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record’s presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small — they don’t extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don’t seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center.
Other copies -- my notes for these copies often read “BIG and BOLD” -- create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They’re not brighter, they’re not more aggressive, they’re not hyped-up in any way, they’re just bigger and clearer.
And most of the time those very special pressings are just plain more involving. When you hear a copy that does all that -- a copy like this one -- it’s an entirely different listening experience.
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 Classical Record
This Demo Disc Quality recording should be part of any serious Classical Collection. Others that belong in that category can be found here.
- Mozart - Serenade In G-Major ("Eine Kleine Nachtmusik") K 525
- Gluck - Dance Of The Blessed Spirits (From "Orpheus And Euridice")
- Haydn - "Toy" Symphony
- Schubert - Entr'acte in B Flat Major (From "Rosamunde")
- Handel - Largo (From "Xerxes")
- Bach - Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring (From Cantate 147)
Academy of St Martin in the Fields
The Academy of St Martin in the Fields (ASMF) is an English chamber orchestra, based in London.
John Churchill, then Master of Music at the London church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, and Neville Marriner founded the orchestra as "The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields," a small, conductorless string group. The ASMF gave its first concert on 13 November 1959, in the church after which it was named. In 1988, the orchestra dropped the hyphens from its full name.
The initial performances as a string orchestra at St Martin-in-the-Fields played a key role in the revival of Baroque performances in England. The orchestra has since expanded to include winds. It remains flexible in size, changing its make-up to suit its repertoire, which ranges from the Baroque to contemporary works.
Neville Marriner continued to perform obbligatos and concertino solos with the orchestra until 1969, and led the orchestra on recordings until the autumn of 1970, when he switched to conducting from the podium from directing the orchestra from the leader's desk. Marriner held the title of Life President until his death in 2016. On recordings, besides Marriner, Iona Brown and Kenneth Sillito have led the orchestra, among others.
In 1993, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields became the first – and to date, only – orchestra to be awarded The Queen's Award for Export Achievement.
The orchestra's first recording was for the L'Oiseau-Lyre label at Conway Hall on 25 March 1961. It has since accumulated an extensive discography, and is one of the most recorded chamber orchestras in the world, with over 500 sessions. Other labels the orchestra has recorded for include Argo, Capriccio, Chandos, Decca, EMI, Hänssler, Hyperion, and Philips. Earlier recordings by the ASMF from the old Philips label have been reissued on Pentatone. The orchestra has also recorded under the names "Argo Chamber Orchestra", "London String Players", and "London Strings".
The soundtrack to the Oscar-winning film Amadeus, a fictional account of the life of the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his bitter feud with rival Antonio Salieri features many of Mozart's most popular compositions. Recorded by the Academy and Sir Neville Marriner in 1984, the soundtrack to Amadeus reached #1 in the Billboard Classical Albums Chart, #56 in the Billboard Popular Albums Chart, has sold over 6.5 million copies to date and received 13 Gold Discs, making it one of the most popular classical music recordings of all time. The partnership between the Academy and its founder Sir Neville Marriner is the most recorded of any orchestra and conductor.