The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*
- With excellent Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides, this Shaded Dog pressing of the Sibelius Violin Concerto boasts seriously good Living Stereo sonics from 1960 and a fiery performance from Heifetz in his prime
- It's some of the best sound we have ever heard for the work, right up there with Ricci's on Decca/London
- 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
- The nothing-less-than-breathtaking performance by Heifetz may raise this one to the rank of First Among Equals for those of you who prize immediacy and energy in your violin recordings
- If you have one of our killer Hot Stampers of the Beethoven or Tchaikovsky violin concertos, you know exactly the sound I am talking about
- 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
- "In the easier and looser concerto forms invented by Mendelssohn and Schumann I have not met a more original, a more masterly, and a more exhilarating work than the Sibelius violin concerto."
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*NOTE: There is a pair of alternating marks that play a total of 12 times at a moderate level at the start of the first piece on side 2, "Second Movement: Adagio Di Molto."
Early Shaded Dog pressings of Heifetz’s records rarely survived in audiophile playing condition. Top quality early pressings in clean condition come our way at most a few times a year, which means shootouts for them get done infrequently. There are hundreds, even thousands, of clean, vintage classical pressings sitting in our stockroom waiting for a few more copies to come our way so that we can finally do a shootout. These things cannot be rushed.
As for the sound, it’s practically impossible to find the richly textured, natural string tone offered here on anything but the vintage pressings produced in the 50s and 60s. Record making 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.
What The Best Sides Of Heifetz's Recording Of The Sibelius Violin Concerto 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 1960
- 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.
Classic did this title on heavy vinyl back in the day, which is only fitting since it is one of the better Heifetz recordings. Their version was pretty awful, as bad as LSC 1903, 1992, 2129 and others too numerous to list.
The Classic is both aggressive and lacking in texture at the same time, the worst of both worlds. Bernie's cutting system is what I would call Low Resolution -- the harmonics and subtleties of the sound simply disappear. If you have the Classic, do your own shootout. We guarantee this pressing will murder theirs.
The Cisco release of LSC 2577 was quite poor also. We never bothered to carry it. Positive review by Michael Fremer, though; nothing new there. Is there any heavy vinyl pressing that he doesn't like?
What We're Listening For On Violin Concerto In D Minor, Op. 47
- 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.
- 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 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 wonderful violin concerto -- one of the greatest ever composed -- should be part of any serious Classical Collection. Others that belong in that category can be found here.
Violin Concerto In D Minor, Op. 47
- First Movement: Allegro Moderato
- Second Movement: Adagio Di Molto
- Third Movement: Allegro, Ma Non Tanto
Sibelius Violin Concerto
This is the only concerto that Sibelius wrote, though he composed several other smaller-scale pieces for solo instrument and orchestra, including the six Humoresques for violin and orchestra.
One noteworthy feature of the work is the way in which an extended cadenza for the soloist takes on the role of the development section in the sonata form first movement. Donald Tovey described the final movement as a "polonaise for polar bears." However, he was not intending to be derogatory, as he went on: "In the easier and looser concerto forms invented by Mendelssohn and Schumann I have not met a more original, a more masterly, and a more exhilarating work than the Sibelius violin concerto."
Much of the violin writing is purely virtuosic, but even the most showy passages alternate with the melodic. This concerto is generally symphonic in scope, departing completely from the often lighter, "rhythmic" accompaniments of many other concertos. The solo violin and all sections of the orchestra have equal voice in the piece.