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Gershwin - Concerto In F / Cuban Overture / Fiedler - White Hot Stamper (With Issues)

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

White Hot Stamper (With Issues)

Gershwin
Concerto In F / Cuban Overture / Fiedler

Regular price
$399.99
Regular price
Sale price
$399.99
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)*

  • Both sides of this original Shaded Dog pressing were giving us the big and bold Living Stereo sound we were looking for on these wonderful orchestral pieces, earning KILLER Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to them
  • If you love the sound of a big bass drum, the Concerto in F is the work for you, and the engineers know how to capture both the bass and the space surrounding it
  • The rich, textured sheen of the strings that Living Stereo made possible in the 50s and early 60s is clearly evident throughout these pieces, something that the Heavy Vinyl crowd will never experience, because that sound just does not exist on modern repressings
  • Everything that is wrong with the low-res Classic reissue - boosted mids, strings lacking in texture and sheen, etc. -- is nowhere to be found on these amazing sides, overflowing with Living Stereo Tubey Magic from 1962
  • Marks 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

More Living Stereo Recordings / More Orchestral Spectaculars

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*NOTE: On side 1, there is a mark that plays 20 times at a moderate level about 2/3 of the way into the first movement (Allegro) of Concerto In F.

*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.


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 Concerto In F / Cuban Overture / "I Got Rhythm" Variations 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.

Learning the Record

For our shootout for this album, we had at our disposal a variety of pressings that had the potential for Hot Stamper sound. We cleaned them carefully, then unplugged everything in the house we could, warmed up the system, Talisman'd it, found the right VTA for our Triplanar arm (by ear of course) and proceeded to spend the next hour or so playing copy after copy on side one, after which we repeated the process for side two.

If you have five or more copies of a record and play them over and over against each other, the process itself teaches you what's right and what's wrong with the sound of the album. Once your ears are completely tuned to what the best pressings do well that the other pressings do not do as well, using a few carefully chosen passages of music, it quickly becomes obvious how well a given copy can reproduce those passages. You'll hear what's better and worse -- right and wrong would be another way of putting it -- about the sound.

This approach is simplicity itself. First, you go deep into the sound. There you find a critically important passage in the music, one which most copies struggle -- or fail -- to reproduce as well as the best. Now, with the hard-won knowledge of precisely what to listen for, you are perfectly positioned to critique any and all pressings that come your way.

It may be a lot of work but it sure ain't rocket science, and we've never pretended otherwise. Just the opposite: from day one we've explained step by step precisely how to go about finding the Hot Stampers in your own collection. Not the good sounding pressings you happen to own -- those may or may not have Hot Stampers -- but the records you actually cleaned, shot out, and declared victorious.

What We're Listening For On Concerto In F / Cuban Overture / "I Got Rhythm" Variations

  • 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

  • Concerto In F For Piano And Orchestra
  • First Movement: Allegro
    Second Movement: Adagio: Andante Con Moto Poco Accelerando

Side Two

  • Concerto In F For Piano And Orchestra
  • Third Movement: Allegro Agitato
  • I Got Rhythm Variations For Piano And Orchestra
  • Cuban Overture

Concerto in F (Gershwin)

Concerto in F is a composition by George Gershwin for solo piano and orchestra which is closer in form to a traditional concerto than his earlier jazz-influenced Rhapsody in Blue. It was written in 1925 on a commission from the conductor and director Walter Damrosch.

The concerto is in the traditional three movements:

  • Allegro (F major)
  • Adagio - Andante con moto (D-flat major)
  • Allegro agitato (G minor → F minor → F major)

There are strong thematic links among the three movements, all of which are heavily influenced by jazz. However, there exists, in each movement, a very subtle structural integrity that, while perhaps not immediately apparent to the listener, is rooted in the classical tradition.

The first movement begins with blasts from the timpani, introducing elements of the main thematic material. After an extended orchestral introduction, the piano enters with a solo section, introducing another melody found throughout the movement. From here, the music alternates with contrasting sections of grandiosity and delicacy. The climax is reached at the Grandioso, in which the orchestra resounds the piano's original melody, accompanied by a large triplet figure in the soloist. There is a cadenza of quick triplet ostinatos which leads to the final section: speeding octaves and chords, culminating in a large run of the triplet ostinato up the keyboard along an F Major 6 chord, bringing the movement to a close.

The second movement is reminiscent of the blues - beginning with an elegant melody in a solo trumpet accompanied by a trio of clarinets. A faster section featuring the piano follows, building gradually until near the end, at which point the piece deceptively pulls back to the original melody, now given to the flute. The movement ends in a peaceful, introspective cadence.

The final movement is pulsating and energetic with several references to ragtime, featuring both new material and melodies from the previous movements. A false climax is found in a Grandioso section identical to that of the first movement, which in turn evolves into another build to the true pinnacle of the concerto, again dominated by the F Major 6 chord, bringing the piece to a close.

In his own words Gershwin wrote a description of the concerto:

The first movement employs the Charleston rhythm. It is quick and pulsating, representing the young enthusiastic spirit of American life. It begins with a rhythmic motif given out by the kettle drums…. The principal theme is announced by the bassoon. Later, a second theme is introduced by the piano. The second movement has a poetic, nocturnal atmosphere which has come to be referred to as the American blues, but in a purer form than that in which they are usually treated. The final movement reverts to the style of the first. It is an orgy of rhythms, starting violently and keeping to the same pace throughout.

-Wikipedia