RCA Living Stereo Respighi Pines of Rome 1S pressing in UK?

I'm hoping there are some people here with detailed knowledge on RCA Living Stereo pressings. It's a well documented fact that the first US pressing of the Respighi Pines and Fountains of Rome recording by the Chicago SO under Fritz Reiner with 1S lacquers on both sides is one of the most explosively dynamic pressings ever made. Apparently the record players of the day - we're talking 1960 here - couldn't cope and subsequent lacquers were cut less 'hot'. Obviously this first pressing is now highly collectable and expensive.

Many collectors probably know that RCA had a licensing agreement with Decca for issueing their recordings in the UK. They even used Decca recording teams for making recordings in Europa (in London, Paris and Vienna mostly). It is generally agreed that the Living Stereos recorded in the US (like that Respighi) sound best in their US pressings, while Decca recorded RCA's sound better in their UK pressings. Presumably because Decca had access to the original master tape and used their own cutting engineers, making these records pure Decca in all but name. Many recordings originating from the US were also cut by Decca engineers for the UK issues, but in these cases they probably had to work with second generation copies of the master tapes which remained in the US.

My apologies for the long preamble, but the thing that puzzles me is that the UK issue of the Respighi does not have the usual Decca lacquer codes, the letters of which were used to identify their mastering engineers (e.g. the letter E is Stan Goodall and the letter K is Tony Hawkins). In the case of the Respighi it has 1S lacquer codes on both sides!!! As fas as I know there was no Decca mastering engineer associated with the letter S.

By now you can probably guess where this is going: did Decca receive original US sourced 1S plates from RCA to make the UK pressings of the Respighi?


I always knew that Decca or London was used to removing some dynamics from the RCA master tapes to publish them in U.K.
the Classic Records 45rpm 4 disc single sided reissue from the late 90’s (mine is now 22 years old) smokes any 33rpm original pressing.

make sure you get the Classic Records 4 disc version. it rocks!