The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- This vintage TAS-approved Maroon Label Mercury pressing boasts excellent Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last
- 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
- This copy is everything that a good Mercury should be: dynamic, open, immediate, exciting, and of course, with Dorati and the LSO, beautifully performed.
- Both "The Birds" and "Brazilian Impressions" are wonderful sounding - we guarantee you've never heard a better copy of both works
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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
This vintage Mercury Living Presence 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 The Birds / Brazilian Impressions 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 1959
- 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.
Size and Space
One of the qualities that we don't talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record's presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small -- they don't extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don't seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center.
Other copies -- my notes for these copies often read "BIG and BOLD" -- create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They're not brighter, they're not more aggressive, they're not hyped-up in any way, they're just bigger and clearer.
We often have to go back and downgrade the copies that we were initially impressed with in light of such a standout pressing. Who knew the recording could be that huge, spacious and three dimensional? We sure didn't, not until we played the copy that had those qualities, and that copy might have been number 8 or 9 in the rotation.
Think about it: if you had only seven copies, you might not have ever gotten to hear a copy that sounded that open and clear. And how many even dedicated audiophiles would have more than one or two clean original copies with which to do a shootout? These records are expensive and hard to come by in good shape. Believe us, we know whereof we speak.
One further point needs to be made: most of the time these very special pressings just plain more involving. When you hear a copy do what this copy can, it's an entirely different -- and dare I say unforgettable -- listening experience.
What We're Listening For On The Birds / Brazilian Impressions
- 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.
- The Birds
- The Dove
- The Hen
- The Nightingale
- The Cuckoo
- Brazilian Impressions
- Tropical Night
- Song And Dance
About The Birds
The Birds (Italian: Gli uccelli) is a suite for small orchestra by the Italian composer Ottorino Respighi. Dating from 1928, the work is based on music from the 17th and 18th-century and represents an attempt to transcribe birdsong into musical notation, and illustrate bird actions, such as fluttering wings, or scratching feet. The work is in five movements:
- "Prelude" (based on the music of Bernardo Pasquini)
- "La colomba" ("The dove"; based on the music of Jacques de Gallot)
- "La gallina" ("The hen"; based on the music of Jean-Philippe Rameau)
- "L'usignuolo" ("The nightingale"; based on the folksong "Engels Nachtegaeltje" transcribed by recorder virtuoso Jacob van Eyck)
- "Il cucù" ("The cuckoo"; based on the music of Pasquini)
The suite was used for the ballet of the same name, with choreography by Cia Fornaroli, first performed at Sanremo Casinò Municipale on 19 February 1933; with choreography by Margarita Wallmann at the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, on 27 February 1940; and by Robert Helpmann, with design by Chiang Yee, by the Sadler's Wells Ballet at the New Theatre, London on 24 November 1942.