The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*
- An excellent Shaded Dog pressing of Heifetz's superb 1958 recording in glorious Living Stereo sound, earning Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides
- 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
- Lovely richness, warmth, and real immediacy throughout separate a pressing as good as this one from the pack
- Heifetz is a fiery player - this pressing will allow you to hear the subtleties of his bowing in a coherent, natural and realistic way
- The texture and harmonic overtones of the strings are near perfection - as we listened we became completely immersed in the music on the record, transfixed by the remarkable virtuosity he brings to this difficult and demanding work
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*NOTE: There is a mark that plays 8 times lightly at the start of side 2.
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
For those of you who have only heard the Classic pressing, you are in for a world of better sound. 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. We write about it on our blog, under the heading Bernie Grundman's Work for Classic Records in Four Words: Hard, Sour, Colored and Crude. Search for it if you would like to know more.
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 Tchaikovsky's 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 1958
- 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.
Better Front Ends
I would make the further point that the better your front end is the less likely you are to have a problem with vinyl like this, which is the opposite of what many audiophiles perceive to be the case. In other words, some of the cheaper tables and carts seem to make the surface noise more objectionable, not less. On the other hand, some pricey cartridges -- the Benz line comes to mind -- are consistently noisier than those by Dynavector, Lyra and others, in our experience anyway.
Either way, you must be happy with the record. If not, we will happily take it back.
What We're Listening For On Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto
- 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 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 Violin Recording by a True Master
This wonderful violin concerto -- one of the greatest ever composed -- should be part of any serious Living Stereo Classical Collection.
Others that belong in that category can be found here.
- First Movement: Allegro Moderato
- Second Movement: Canzonetta: Andante
- Third Movement: Finale: Allegro Vivacissimo