Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- With two outstanding Double Plus (A++) or BETTER sides, we guarantee you've never heard these symphonic masterpieces sound as good as they do here
- It's also reasonably quiet at Mint Minus Minus considering that RDG vinyl is often a problem - it's one of the main things that keeps some pressings from sounding their best, obviously not a problem here
- This Reader's Digest pressing of Krips's superb 1964 recording for Decca has glorious sound for any LP produced by this notoriously difficult label (difficult for audiophiles, everybody else loved the fact that a whole set of amazing sounding records was less than twenty bucks!)
- The texture and harmonic overtones of the strings are superb - as we listened we became completely immersed in the music on the record, transfixed by the remarkable virtuosity Josef Krips and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra brought to these difficult and demanding works nearly 60 years ago
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This vintage 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 Mozart's Symphony No. 35 and Haydn's Symphony No. 104 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 1964
- 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.
Kenneth Wilkinson engineered this recording for Decca in 1964. There is a richness to the sound of the strings that is exceptional, yet clarity and transparency are not sacrificed in the least.
It's practically impossible to hear that kind of string sound on any recording made in the last thirty years (and this, of course, includes practically everything pressed on Heavy Vinyl). It may be a lost art but as long as we have these wonderful vintage pressings to play, it's an art that is not being lost on us.
It's also as wide, deep, and three-dimensional as any, which is, of course, all to the good, but what makes the sound of these recordings so special is the timbral accuracy of the instruments in every section.
This is the kind of record that will make you want to take all your heavy vinyl classical pressings and put them in storage. They cannot begin to sound the way this record sounds. (Before you put them in storage or on Ebay please play them against this pressing so that you can be confident in your decision to rid yourself of their unforgivable mediocrity.)
What We're Listening For On Symphony No. 35 and Symphony No. 104
- 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.
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 - Symphony No. 35 In D ("Haffner")
- Haydn - Symphony No. 104 In D ("London")
Wikipedia on Symphony No. 35
Symphony No. 35 in D major, K. 385, also known as the Haffner Symphony, was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1782. It was commissioned by the Haffners, a prominent Salzburg family, for the occasion of the ennoblement of Sigmund Haffner the Younger [de]. The Haffner Symphony should not be confused with the eight-movement Haffner Serenade, another piece Mozart wrote on commission from the same family in 1776.
The Haffner Symphony did not start its life as a symphony, but rather as a serenade to be used as background music for the ennoblement of Sigmund Haffner. The Mozarts knew the Haffners through Sigmund Haffner's father, Sigmund Haffner the Elder [de], who had been mayor of Salzburg and who had helped them out on their early tours of Europe. The elder Haffner died in 1772, but the families remained in contact. In 1776, the younger Haffner commissioned a serenade for the wedding of Marie Elizabeth Haffner to Franz Xavier Spath. This work became the famous Haffner Serenade, which was so successful that, when the younger Sigmund Haffner was to be ennobled, it was only natural that Mozart was called upon to write the music for the occasion. The request to write music actually came via Mozart's father on 20 July 1782 when Mozart had no spare time. Mozart was "up to his eyeballs with work". Not only was he teaching, but he also had to rearrange the score of his opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail before July 28. In addition to these demands, his proposed marriage to Constanze Weber was threatened by a number of complications, including moving to a house on the Hohe Brücke in Vienna. Nevertheless, Mozart worked on the music, and sent it through section by section to his father. What Mozart wrote at this time was a new serenade – a completely different work from the serenade presented four years earlier – with an introductory march and two minuets. According to historical evidence, it is quite possible that Mozart did not actually meet his father's deadline to have the music completed by Sigmund Haffner's ennoblement. Mozart later reworked this music into what we now know as the Haffner Symphony.
At the end of December 1782, Mozart decided to present music from the new Haffner serenade at a concert. After asking his father to send the score of the serenade back again, Mozart was amazed at its quality, given the fact that it was composed in so short a time. He set to work to make a number of alterations to the score in order to convert the new Haffner serenade into the Haffner symphony. These alterations included dropping the introductory march (K. 385a) and one of the two minuets (now lost). In addition, the repeat signs were removed from the end of the first movement's exposition. Mozart also gave the Haffner Symphony a fuller sound by adding two flutes and two clarinets to the woodwind section of the first and last movements. These added woodwind parts are not new melodic material, but simply a doubling of octaves within the woodwinds.
The Haffner Symphony, as we know it today, received its first performance on 23 March 1783 at the Vienna Burgtheater. At the concert, Mozart opened matters with the first three movements of this symphony, an aria from Idomeneo (described in his letter to his father of March 29 that year as his Munich opera), a piano concerto, a scena (a genre related to the concert aria), the concertante movements of one of his recent serenades, his piano concerto K. 175 (with a new finale), and another scena (from an opera he had composed for Milan); at this point he improvised a fugue "because the Emperor was present" and then two sets of variations (K. 398 on an aria by Paisiello and K. 455 on an aria by Gluck). After this, Madame (Aloysia) Lange sang his new rondo (K. 416?) and then to finish the concert, the last movement of the Haffner Symphony was played. The performance of the Haffner Symphony at this concert proved very successful.
Wikipedia on Symphony No. 104
The Symphony No. 104 in D major (H. 1/104) is Joseph Haydn's final symphony. It is the last of the twelve London symphonies, and is known (somewhat arbitrarily, given the existence of eleven others) as the London Symphony. In Germany it is commonly known as the Salomon Symphony after Johann Peter Salomon, who arranged Haydn's two tours of London, even though it is one of three of the last twelve symphonies written for Viotti's Opera Concerts, rather than for Salomon
The work was composed in 1795 while Haydn was living in London, and premiered there at the King's Theatre on 4 May 1795, in a concert featuring exclusively Haydn's own compositions and directed by the composer. The premiere was a success; Haydn wrote in his diary "The whole company was thoroughly pleased and so was I. I made 4000 gulden on this evening: such a thing is possible only in England."
The work is scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets in A, two bassoons, two horns in D and G, two trumpets in D, timpani and strings.
The symphony opens with a slow and grand introduction in D minor. This leads to the main body of the sonata form movement, in D major.
The movement is monothematic: the second theme is simply the first theme transposed to A major. The exposition is in D major, with the strings playing the first theme. The theme goes straight into A major with the woodwinds to form a second theme. The exposition closes with a codetta and is followed by the development which begins in B minor, using the rhythmic pattern of the second half of the theme. The development ends with the full orchestra. In the recapitulation, the first theme is heard again in D Major. It uses imitative patterns of the woodwinds in the second theme. The movement closes with a coda, also in D major.
This movement, in G major, opens with the main theme in the strings. After this, a brief episode highlighting A minor and D minor leads to a modified repeat of the main theme in both strings and bassoon. From here, a second section begins which modulates to various other keys, including G minor and B♭ major, but continues to feature the melody of the main theme. After arriving on the dominant of G major, the music of the first section returns. The rest of the movement consists of a modification of the first section of music, with several changes in rhythm and more prominence to the winds, especially the flute.
The third movement is a minuet and trio in D major. The minuet section consists of a rounded binary (A,B,A') form with an opening section emphasizing the tonic, while the second section visits the relative minor (B minor) and the dominant (A major). The trio is in B♭ major, and uses the oboe and bassoon extensively. Like in the minuet, this trio's B section emphasizes the relative minor (in this case, G minor). The trio ends with a transition back to dominant of the main key in preparation for the return to the minuet.
The exuberant finale, in fast tempo and in sonata form, opens in the mode of folk music using a drone bass and a theme often claimed to have originated as a Croatian folk song; for details see Haydn and folk music. The development section settles on the dominant of the main key, as is typical, but the recapitulation does not occur immediately. Instead, the development is extended with a section in F♯ minor, after which the recapitulation in D major follows immediately.