The Super Analog “Till Eulenspiegel Merry Pranks”

Category: Music

Richard Strauss In Chicago Part I

So you like great sound and you like LP’s that show off your system and have great bass. Do you like Richard Strauss? Well you came to the right place. The LP under review is a King Super Analogue Disc (KIJC – 9239) that originally was released in December of 2001.

At the time I could not figure out why King Super Analogue released this as the original 1975 LP (London CS 6978 / Decca SXL 6749 “The Richard Strauss Album” containing the most popular Richard Strauss showcases and conducted by Georg Solti) which were glorious performances that hinted at great sound but lacked sonic power. And then I noticed the reason why.

King had done something remarkable. They had split the LP sides in half. They used only side 2 of the London / Decca release and then split that onto two sides ignoring side 1 completely that contained “Thus Spake Zarathustra” the 2001 theme. So the 2001 theme which was on the first side of the original Decca / London LP was no longer on this re-issue but more on that later.

Just the cuts “Till Eulenspiegel Merry Pranks” and “Don Juan” were featured from the 1975's original side 2. And these cuts were split with “Till” being on side 1 and “Don Juan” being on side 2. Now for the good part. Because King had split the LP up this way they were able to cut the LP at a much higher level than Decca London ever had because now there was only about 15 minutes of music on each side at 33RPM.

“Till” was recorded at the Medinah Temple, May 1975 in Chicago is one of Georg Solti’s strongest performances with ripe orchestrations. The sound is demonstration quality of the highest with huge bass. System busting bass. The sound is rich and rounded in the magnificent acoustic space. String basses growl to the sweet sounds of the violins counterpointed by bass drum when out of nowhere it appears with a thud. The big bass drum.

And then the rollicking melody and counterpoint repeating again. One of the most powerful renditions on record and then the climax, with the drum roll and then the big bass drum thud with tons of air. Then another drum roll and it appears again louder this time like artillery the concussion and the assault of the bass drum hit. To a startling effect. And then the beauty again playing the convoluted melody of “Till” which swings to its final climax to bring the piece to a close.

Side 2 which features “Don Juan” was unfortunately recorded at a different time and location at Krennert Centre, May 1973, Urbana Illinois. It features a fast paced opening with a noticeably less warm acoustic. An acoustic where the bass has less bloom and expansiveness. But one where the low strings still bark and growl and the harp and the violin make the music of angels.

The sound of “Don Juan” is more set back and relaxed with less tension to the music because the sound falls slightly short – where bass drum has less impact and is less dimensional. Taking on more physical structure rather than 3 –D spaciousness and because of that, it suffers compared to side 1. And side 1 that is the reason to buy this fantastic LP which will blow your doors off.

This record is thick 180 grams with deluxe packaging and the pressing from RTI is flawless. Although out of print for some time I was able to secure a copy from Acoustic Sounds recently. The last new copy they had in stock. But do not dismay at this time Elusive Disk has new white jacket promos of this LP still available. So if you value the very highest in quality demonstration sound do not miss this record and stay tuned for part II.

Four out of four!
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Producer: Ray Munshell
Engineers: Kenneth Wilkinson and James Lock