Hard to remember. ;-)
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My most recent acquisition is Analogue Productions' 2x45 rpm rendition of the 1962 Living Stereo classic, "The Power of the Orchestra," which features Joseph Leibowitz conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Moussorgsky's "Night on Bare Mountain" and "Pictures at an Exhibition."
This "Pictures at an Exhibition" performance ranks with the very finest and the "Night on Bare Mountain" is so visceral it will make you curl up in fear. The clarity of the percussion and bite of the brass must be experienced to be believed, and the 45 rpm version imparts a clarity and dynamics the like of which I've never heard for a bombastic orchestral piece on LP before, let alone a 3-track. For sonics+musical value it's my #1.
This is a confusing question, the best record that I have ever heard is the Tape Project's open reel tape of Oistakh and the LSO performing Hindemith. A record being any recording of a performance. Though for some reason those who seem to enjoy vinyl have the opionion that it somehow refers exclusively to that medium.
For vinyl I think that I would take the Gilberto side of the LP "Getz/Gilberto 2" on Verve or perhaps a Bernie Grundman first pressing of Joni Mitchell's "Blue".
Doc Severinsen with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of London
Firstline FDLP 5001
Firstline Audiophile Edition
Mine is Special Limited Edition #08993
I have two other LP's not Ltd. Ed.
Got my first copy in '82 & have enjoyed the hell out of it a few thousand times.
Doc plays to the bitter end & then some!
May still be available @ Amazon
Do You Think I'm Sexy?
Sometimes when We Touch
I'll Never love This way Again
Song For Our Friends
How did We Get This Far?
"Out To Lunch" by Eric Dolphy on Blue Note. More for the music than it is for sonic. It is Rudy Van Gelder at his best, pristine, full of horn presence and snappy dynamics. RVG is the worst engineer on piano so thank goodness this has no piano and Bobby Hutcherson's vibe is perfect this type of recording. Musically, one of the greatest albums of avant-garde jazz. Eric's bass clarinet is so awesome that I had a car accident listening to the opening track inspired by Monk. If I was to get killed, at least it was for great music! Essential.
11-07-11: JeffgaWhen I got back into vinyl 4 yrs ago I bought one of these off eBay for $5. I was so excited until I played it--it was all noisy and crackly. Today I tried a different way of cleaning it (just a bunch of dish detergent, scrubbed with microfiber terry towel, rinsed thoroughly, and dried with another terry towel) and played it again for the first time in 4 years, this time clean and quiet.
Anyway, you're right. This album has *stunning* dynamics. I'm very familiar with this recording, but I was unprepared for where the volume went when "School" got underway after the relatively quiet introduction.
Its hard to pick a single best recording from the many (but still not enough!) out there ... so I will just pick the most recent one I have heard. It is Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade played by Chicago Symphony and conducted by Fritz Reiner. Was recorded in 1956 and issued as an LP under the Living Stereo brand. I have the DSD SACD version. It is amazing to hear the quality of this recording made more than 50 years ago ... recorded in three channel (left, center and right) and then mixed down to two channels for stereo. Makes one wonder why recording engineers spent so many years lost in the wilderness ...
The one that puts the instrument in the room with me is:
Mercury Stereo SR#-9016
Bach/Starker, Suites for Unaccompanied Cello Complete
Reissue, 3 disks at 33 1/3 RPM
originally recorded in 1966
I guess it is the scale and single instrument that make it sound so convincing. The performance and recording are superb. The music is sublime.
RE: 11-07-11: Viridian, you Know your stuff. What are you using for tape playback? I have been thinking about taking the plunge and signing on with tape project...once I have a budget for it.
Bernie Grundman is serious. Look for the BG on the record and chances are that you will not be dissapointed. This is a little off topic, but check out the video tour of Bernie below. There is also a discussion with a mastering engineer.
Bernie Grundman Mastering Studio Tour - Part 1
Bernie Grundman Mastering Studio Tour - Part 2
Bernie Grundman Mastering Studio Tour - Part 3
Bernie Grundman Mastering Studio Tour - Part 4
Bernie Grundman Mastering Studio Tour - Part 5
Bernie Grundman Mastering Studio Tour - Part 6
Every time I get a reissue I check the lead-out groove. If I see a little blocky-looking "BG" I go "YES!" Standouts include the Classic/Everest Pines/Fountains of Rome I just got Wednesday, "Come Away with Me" by Norah Jones, "Temptation" and "Don't Smoke in Bed" by Holly Cole, "L.A. Woman" and "Morrison Hotel" by The Doors, and several Diana Krall albums including "From This Moment On."
I also have the Speakers Corner reissue of Janos Starker Bach Suites on Mercury Living Presence. I grew up listening to the originals; my brother is a professional cellist. I have an original pressing of the mono. It's a little munged from being played on a poorly tracking console, which is what inspired me to pay up and get the reissue, which is fabulous in every way. Starker set the gold standard for the Bach Suites on this one, and 45 years later it still is.
Since we're talking sound and performance, I'd vote for Prokofiev PC #2 w/ Frager and Leibowitz on RCA, Alto reissue for what it's worth. I'm glad to see that someone above also likes it. Decca was pretty hit and miss with the PCO, (and luckily it seems someone finally bought the orchestra a decent bass drum for the Prokofiev)< but this recording is stunning. Just listen to trombone pedal notes with bass drum in 5th mov't. Luckily a stunning performance by all as well. Leibowitz is on fire for once as well; I wish I could feel the same enthusiasm for his (own orchestration) of Night on Bald Mountain, apparently included on the 45RPM.
For sound alone, Sheffield Lab's direct to disc of Leinsdorf conducting Debussy's Faun and Stravinsky's Firebird, sooooooo far better than their other D2D offerings, (new hall?) but what a snoozefest performance-wise.
Happened just recently, actually. Knocked me out so much I posted a review of it in the Music section.
"Things Are About to Get Weird," by Pinebender. 2x33 rpm, on Lovitt Records, released in a limited edition of 200. Released in 2000, engineered by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio.
Simply put, I have seen this band many times. This recording recreates that experience, in state-of-the-art analog (Albini is nuts about that) sound.
I'm going to hi-jack this thread for just a moment, as this record loses out on the sound quality, but for the musical ideas, and the number of people who haven't heard it, Quicksilver Messenger Service, "Happy Trails". Note: this is a mostly electric guitar album, and probably is not for most people's tastes. It also gives away it's age(the era it was made). Maybe it's the best record you "never" heard. It definitely is not an "audiophile" recording.
Quicksilver; Happy Trails. Great record!!!!!!
Back to the OPs rule; to many to pick one. I have most that are mentioned so far.
Casino Royal, Dusty Springfield, Burt Bacharach is everything HP said it was; if you have the right copy/ pressing. Have (4) copies, only (2) are right.
My vote for recently released is:
Santana Abraxas , MFSL, UD1S - 001. Absolutely Spectacular
All the Sheffield Lab direct to disc recordings produced by Doug Sax are just excellent and among the very best recordings ever made but the music can leave you wanting. Certainly not this one and a few others including the superb Thelma Houston and Pressure Cooker mentioned above.
"The King James Version"
Harry James and his Big Band
Sheffield Labs Direct to Disc 1976
Produced by Doug Sax and Lincoln Mayorka
I’ve got over 600 vinyl albums (and 800 CDs/SACDs) and there are quite a few I think are stunning, but my favorite is:
William Russo, Street Music, Op. 65, A Blues Concerto
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Corky Siegel/Harmonica, Russo/Piano
Deutsche Grammophon 1977 - 2530 788
Side B is Gershwin’s - An American in Paris which is almost as good as Side A.
The vinyl pressing itself is dead silent. Dynamics are full and non-compressed.