Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- With superb Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER throughout, this early Decca pressing of these sublime classical works will be hard to beat
- It's also fairly quiet at Mint Minus Minus, a grade that even our most well-cared-for vintage classical titles have trouble playing at
- Tons of energy, loads of detail and texture, superb transparency and excellent clarity - the very definition of DEMO DISC sound
- Dramatically richer, fuller and more Tubey Magical than most other copies we played, with breathy vocals and rosiny, fairly smooth strings
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This vintage Decca 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 El Amor Brujo 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 1967
- 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.
Hi-Fidelity Engineering, Courtesy of Kenneth Wilkinson
So, what exactly do we like about vintage pressings such as this one?
The timbre of every instrument is Hi-Fi in the best sense of the word. The unique sound of every instrument is reproduced with remarkable fidelity. That’s what we at Better Records mean by “Hi-Fi,” not the kind of Audiophile Phony BS Sound that passes for Hi-Fidelity these days. There’s no boosted top, there’s no bloated bottom, there’s no sucked-out midrange.
This is Hi-Fidelity for those who recognize The Real Thing when they hear it. I’m pretty sure our customers do, and whoever picks this record up is guaranteed to hear exactly we were are talking about.
What We're Listening For On El Amor Brujo
- 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.
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 - Falla
- Nati Mistral, vocals
- Intermezzo From "Goyescas" - Granados
- Pavane Pour Une Infante Défunte - Ravel
- Alborada Del Gracioso - Ravel
Wikipedia on El Amor Brujo
El amor brujo (Love, the Magician) is a ballet by Manuel de Falla to a libretto by María de la O Lejárraga García, although for years it was attributed to her husband Gregorio Martínez Sierra. It exists in three versions as well as a piano suite drawn from four of its movements. Andalusian in character, its music includes the celebrated Danza ritual del fuego (Ritual Fire Dance), the Canción del fuego fatuo (Song of the Will-o'-the-Wisp) and the Danza del terror. Its songs use the Andalusian Spanish dialectal modality. The plot: a gypsy in a love unreturned goes to her arts of magic to soften the ingrate's heart, and succeeds, after a night of enchantments, recitations and ritual dances, so that at dawn he awakens to love; bells proclaim her triumph.
- Introducción y escena ('Introduction and scene')
- En la cueva ('In the cave')
- Canción del amor dolido ('Song of suffering love')
- El aparecido (El espectro) ('The apparition')
- Danza del terror ('Dance of terror')
- El círculo mágico (Romance del pescador) ('The magic circle')
- A media noche: los sortilegios
- Danza ritual del fuego
- Escena ('Scene')
- Canción del fuego fatuo ('Song of the will-o'-the-wisp')
- Pantomima ('Pantomime')
- Danza del juego de amor ('Dance of the game of love')
- Final – las campanas del amanecer ('Finale – the bells of sunrise')