The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus*
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- This vintage London Stereo Treasury Import LP of Falla's wonderful classical works boasts superb Double Plus (A++) grades or close to them from first note to last
- Side two is big, rich, open, and natural sounding with wonderfully full vocals and a more three-dimensional sound than most other copies we played, and side one is not far behind in all those areas
- The Argenta recording of El Retablo de Maese Pedro (Master Peter’s Puppet Show) is High Fidelity Audiophile Demo Disc Quality Gold, with bells, drums, voices, trumpets, strings, woodwinds and more, all sounding so real it will take your breath away.
- Problems in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these early pressings - there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
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*NOTE: There is a stitch that plays 6 times at a moderate level about 1" into side 1.
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
The Argenta recording of El Retablo de Maese Pedro (Master Peter’s Puppet Show) has been mastered on this London Stereo Treasury Import LP to near PERFECTION. This is High Fidelity Audiophile Demo Disc Quality Gold, with bells, drums, voices, trumpets, strings, woodwinds and more, all sounding so real it will take your breath away. This Golden Age tape has been mastered brilliantly with "modern" mastering equipment (from the mid-’60s, not the low-rez junk they’re forced to make do with these days), giving you, the listener, sound that only the best of both worlds can offer.
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 El Amor Brujo / El Retablo De Maese Pedro 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 1961
- 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 El Amor Brujo / El Retablo De Maese Pedro
- 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.
You can be pretty sure of two things when you hear a record of this quality: one, the original won’t sound as good, having been cut on much cruder equipment.
And two, no modern recutting of the tapes by the likes of Speakers Corner for example could begin to capture this kind of naturalistic sound. I have never heard a Heavy Vinyl pressing begin to do what this record is doing. This STS may be a London budget reissue pressing, but it was mastered by Decca, pressed in England on high quality vinyl, using fairly fresh tapes, and mastered about as well as a record can be mastered. The sound is REAL and BELIEVABLE.
When have you ever heard a modern remastering with this kind of depth and width to the soundstage? I have yet to have the pleasure and I’ve played scores of them, close to a hundred I would guess. We used to carry all that Heavy Vinyl back in the day and I played them and reviewed them as they came out, rejecting a good 80% right from the get go. None, not one, ever sounded like this.
This price for a reissue might seem to be a stretch, but we know an amazing record when we hear one, and we know that the next copy that comes along is very unlikely to sound as good as this one does. That’s simply “regression toward the mean”, a reality we have learned to respect. We don’t sell our records based on their reputations. We sell them based on the sound inscribed in their grooves, and these are some mighty fine grooves on both of these sides!
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.
- El Amor Brujo
El amor brujo (Love, the Magician, rarely translated as Wedded by Witchcraft) is a piece of music originally composed by Manuel de Falla for a chamber group, then re-scored as a symphonic suite, and eventually as a ballet. The texts were by Gregorio Martínez Sierra.
The work is distinctively Andalusian in character with the songs in the Andalusian Spanish dialect of the Gypsies. The music contains moments of remarkable beauty and originality; it includes the celebrated Ritual Fire Dance, Cancion del Fuego Fatuo (Will-o’-the-Wisp) and the Dance of Terror.” -- Wikipedia
- El Retablo de Maese Pedro
Falla’s witty and ironic 25-minute opera, loosely based on Don Quixote, comes across as a Spanish-flavoured equivalent of Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale. -- Wikipedia