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Bizet - Saint-Saens / Carmen - Fantaisie / Introduction And Rondo Capriccioso - Super Hot Stamper

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

Super Hot Stamper

Bizet & Saint-Saens
Carmen - Fantaisie / Introduction And Rondo Capriccioso / Ricci / Gamba

Regular price
$499.99
Regular price
Sale price
$499.99
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Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus Minus

Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*

  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on this early London LP with vinyl that is about as quiet as any that can be found on a record this old
  • A copy sold recently on ebay for $787, and if you bought that one, we guarantee this one sounds better!
  • This is a spectacular recording, and one of the Greatest Violin Showpiece Albums of All Time
  • It is certainly a record that belongs in every right-thinking audiophile’s collection. If you’re on our site and taking the time to read this, that probably means you.
  • Ruggiero Ricci is superb throughout - we know of no better performances of this works than those found on this very record
  • Some old record collectors (like me) say classical recording quality ain't what it used to be - here's all the proof anyone with two working ears and top quality audiophile equipment needs to make the case

More of the music of Georges Bizet (1838-1875) / More Recordings Featuring the Violin

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*NOTE: There is a mark that plays 10 times lightly about 1/2 way into track 1 on side 2.

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


Ricci’s playing of the Bizet-Sarasate Carmen Fantasie is OUT OF THIS WORLD. There is no greater performance on record, in my opinion, and few works that have as much Audiophile Appeal.

The Average Copy

When you play a copy of this record and hear a smeared, veiled violin, don’t be too surprised. This is not the least bit unusual, in fact it’s pretty much par for the course. The soundstage may be huge, spacious and 3-D. It is on most copies.

But what good is a record of violin showpieces if the violin doesn’t sound right?

Sides One and Two

These two sides can show you how good the violin -- and the whole orchestra -- can sound. They're tonally correct from top to bottom, transparent and sweet. 

These pieces are less about the “violin-in-your-lap” effect and more about the violin as an integrated member of the orchestra.

These sides had plenty of a quality that goes a long way in the world of classical music. As we went through the various copies, we noticed that the sound on the best sides was especially RELAXED. (Compare that to the typical Classic Records heavy vinyl pressing, which, on the relaxation scale of one to ten, rates a lot closer to one than it does to ten. Between one and two, probably.)

Once you spot the relaxed copies, you find they tend to do every other thing well, and that's what it takes to score top grades in shootouts -- doing everything well.

This vintage London 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 Carmen - Fantaisie 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 1960
  • 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.

What We're Listening For On Carmen - Fantaisie

  • 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.
  • Tight punchy 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 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.

Side One

  • Bizet Arr. Sarasate, Carmen - Fantaisie
  • Sarasate - Zigeunerweisen

Side Two

  • Saint-Saëns - Havanaise
  • Saint-Saëns - Introduction And Rondo Capriccioso

Liner Notes

Pablo de Sarasate was one of the great nineteenth century violin virtuoso-composers of whom Paganini was the archetype and Fritz Kreisler the last surviving representative. Without exception, therefore, all the many pieces written and arranged by Sarasate are virtuoso fiddler’s music, designed expressly to show off his own commanding skill. They are in the nature of effervescent trifles conceived in terms of spectacular violin technique and intended to be thrown off with faultless polish and panache. However, despite the difficulties, Sarasate was a consummate musician thoroughly versed in the classics, and his own compositions are imaginatively contrived to give genuine musical as well as performing satisfaction. In the realm of virtuoso violin music his name stood during his lifetime and remains today on the highest plane of achievement.

Much of his music has a Spanish flavour—the four books of Spanish dances exploit the rhythms and idioms of Sarasate’s native country and add to them on imaginative use of advanced violin technique.

The Havanaise is based upon the rhythm of the Habanera, the themes languid and intense except for some legitimate passages of virtuoso writing. There is a brilliant coda in which the violinist disports himself in bravura over an insistent bass Habanera rhythm. The piece ends very softly, a feature that is as welcome as it is unusual in virtuoso music.

Both this and the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso are typical products of their composer. To modern ears his music sounds easy to assimilate, and yet in his time (as is often the case) it was found revolutionary. The Danse Macabre was hissed at its first performance [!]… However, the sweetness and clarity of his musical thought have always endeared him to the public.