The HI-Q EMI Classical Reissue's
The Hi-Q Records Re-issues
Recently a new re-issue company has come onto the scene. HI-Q Records of London England who is re-issuing EMI titles at a rate of about one LP a month or more. Over the winter I happened to notice that they were going to put out Ricardo Muti’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” (HI-Q LP013) and since it came out that week I added it to my order out of curiosity.
In case you do not know it this LP was issued by Mobile Fidelity (MFSL 1-520) and pressed by JVC Japan back in the 1980’s and was one of a handful of classical titles that Mo-Fi did at that time. This record is on the Anthony Salvatore list and is one of his heavy hitters. Having owned the Mobile Fidelity myself for some time I was curious as to how they would compare sonically.
I am happy to report that HI-Q is pressing quiet and flat LP’s and that their sonics are excellent. HI-Q are using the original master tapes and using EMI’s pressing facilities in the UK at Abbey Road. In a back to back comparison to the Mo-Fi I have to report that it is a close battle.
With the Mo-Fi winning out in the bass slightly due to its smoother sound overall. But I suspect it is because the JVC pressings were around 120 grams compared to the 180 gram pressing of the HI-Q that it is partly cause by a difference in VTA. But again in the back to back comparison I was hard pressed to tell the difference in sound between the two. Although there are other differences likely due to the age of the tape and cutting not to mention vinyl formulations.
This recording is known for its state of the art sound in the original EMI pressing (ASD 3645) and a reading that competes with any other version that you can find. Its sound is full bodied with lots of bass and is of demonstration quality at its highest. My only complaint is that it is slightly forward sounding probably due to multi-miking but even at that the sound here demands to be heard.
It must also be noted that side two contains a wonderful interpretation of Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” for which I am recommending this LP. So you win out both ways. Two blockbuster recordings on one LP of high musical value that will test the bounds of your system and is this not what high end audio systems are for. And if you have an original EMI or Angel of this LP it will not even hold a candle to this pressing although the EMI gets close.
And for those seeking out the Mobile Fidelity version at a reasonable price should start looking here unless you simply must have both as some must have. They are both worth having because of their differences.
I am also happy to report that I got a copy of Andre Previn's “Music Night”. Originally released as EMI ASD 3131 (HI-QLP011) this is a collection of short excerpt pieces selected by Previn for his BBC television program. Recorded in London’s Kingsway Hall noted for its outstanding acoustics.
This record in its original version has been a long standing mainstay of the TAS Super Disk list for its demonstration quality sound. Going all the way back to 1976 this LP has been noted for the bass drum strike on Ravel’s “La Valse” on side two. This should and can be used as a test of your audio systems bass response. This sonic spectaculars sound is almost a concerto for orchestra and bass drum.
And that is just one stand out track of this re-issue LP. It must be said that all that Previn touched musically seemed to turn to gold. As there were so many outstanding performances and recordings that he recorded for EMI when it was his home there. I like Dukas music about an enchanted broomstick, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" on side one.
So now what are you waiting for. Pick these LP’s up and enjoy them and start making up your lists of EMI titles that you want HI-Q to re-issue. I know at the top of many people’s list will be Muti’s recording of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”. I know I would like to hear the comparison of that to the Mobile Fidelity re-issue from the 1980's.
And myself I am hoping that HI-Q will issue Previn’s interpretation of Britten’s “The Young Persons Guide” with narration and the very rare and expensive, Muti’s version of Prokofiev’s “Ivan the Terrible” and the always in demand Antill "Corroborree". My list is growing longer.
Four out of four!
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