“The condition of the jacket is GOOD. There is noticeable edgewear and some shelwear, but that is all. There are no seamsplits, bends, owners' markings, or other defects and the album remains solid, bright, and attractive – overall, still a decent copy. The condition of the LP itself is near-MINT. Although surfaces are not absolutely silent (and thus I have rated it NM vs. MINT) this is a fine copy and playback is superb. If you must have perfect surfaces, then please do not buy this LP. Overall, this rates as a NM collector's copy.”
This handsome LP – a
“half-speed” master issue – from RCA (ATL1-4040, German
Teldec pressing, “5 Series”, Red Seal label, die-cut cover, original inner sleeve
included) features a superb audiophile reissue of Fritz Reiner and the Chicago
Symphony Orchestra’s unsurpassed accounts of Respighi’s Pines of Rome and
Fountains of Rome, both recorded in demonstration quality sound in the rich
acoustics of Orchestra Hall, Chicago on 24 October 1959 (producer: Richard Mohr
/ engineer: Lewis Layton).
The exact track listing is as follows:
Pines of Villa Borghese
Pines near Catacomb
Pines of Janiculum
Pines of Appian Way
Fountain of Valle Giulia at Dawn
Triton Fountain at Morn
Fountain of Trevi at Mid-day
Villa Medici Fountain at Sunset
Of RCA’s SACD re-issue, the erudite critic Joseph Stevenson wrote
in his 10/10 for ClassicsToday:
to these exquisite SACD remasterings of half-century-old classic Living
Presence recordings recalled a story told by a pupil of Philip Farkas (the Chicago
Symphony Orchestra's principal hornist when these tapings were made). During
rehearsal, conductor Fritz Reiner angrily signaled for a stop, glared at the
horns, and demanded: "Horns! Forte!" They repeated the passage,
louder, and were stopped again. "Horns! Forte!" Two more times
produced the same result, after which Reiner slammed down his baton. One of the
horn players pleaded, "But, Maestro, we're playing asloud as we can." "I know!" snapped Reiner,
"you started at fortissimo."
“This anecdote illustrates how important it was to Reiner
to get the exact loudness--or quietness--he wanted. Truly pianissimo playing is
a hard thing for an orchestra to achieve, and among the things this excellent
SACD remastering discloses as never before is the utterly ravishing playing of
this orchestra at pianissimo, and its constant attention to dynamic level. This
pays off in the final movement of Pines of Rome, where Reiner achieves a steady
increase in loudness from the first tread of the Caesars' ghostly legions to
the very last chord. The effect is breathtaking.
“The remastering does this without at all yielding to the
temptation to "improve" the original master's dynamics by ramping up
the loud parts. The result: a faithful recreation of the legendary 1959 and 1960
sonics, minus surface noise or hiss. The string sound regains its original
sweetness, eliminating the slight graininess and upper-register hardness that
many can hear in standard-resolution CDs. Inclusion of the third channel in the
multi-track layer of the SACD helps nail down the placement of the solo winds
and spreads the strings out to sections, rather than points.
“The virtues of Reiner's performances are well known. In
La Mer Reiner remembers that a movement called "From Dawn Till
Noon..." should begin in profound darkness. Rhythms are never rigid in
this unmatched depiction of fluidity. All the delicate shadings of what is
called musical Impressionism are there, but the climaxes arrive with plenty of
guts. In Respighi's Fountains you can feel the dawn mists at the beginning and
the magical quietness of the air at the end of the day. And the Gregorian chant
evoked by the Catacombs in Pines never has made the remembered Christian
martyrs sound so noble and brave.
“If you know these recordings, be assured that both the
two-channel and the three-channel SACD tracks truly improve the sound. If
you've ever wondered why old-timers rave about 1950s stereo labels like RCA
Living Stereo and "shaded dogs" (a description of the art style used
for the RCA terrier on the LP label), this will answer all your questions.”
And wrote critic Lawrence Johnson for the Chicago Tribune:
“Respighi: Pines of Rome, Fountains
of Rome; Mussorgsky/Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition Chicago Symphony
Orchestra; Fritz Reiner, conductor; (RCA Victor Gold Seal). This midprice
reissue is further testimony of the magnificent achievements of the Reiner
years. Respighi's gaudy tone poems receive performances of stunning virtuosity
from the CSO under Reiner's firm control, with the intensity of the quiet pages
as impressive as the brassy Technicolor climaxes. The famous Mussorgsky
performance is even finer, Reiner's expansive phrasing and luminous detailing,
making for a warmer performance than one usually hears, yet with no lack of
excitement or drama.”
Incidentally, there are excellent liner notes on the reverse side
of the jacket by Vincent Sheehan, printed in English only. The front cover art
was executed by Daniel Maffia.
This re-issue was produced by John Pfeiffer and engineered by
CONDITION – PLEASE READ VERY CAREFULLY:
The gradations of condition
I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the jacket
is GOOD. There is noticeable edgewear and some shelwear, but that is all. There
are no seamsplits, bends, owners' markings, or other defects and the album
remains solid, bright, and attractive – overall, still a decent copy.
The condition of the LP
itself is near-MINT. Although surfaces are not absolutely silent (and thus I
have rated it NM vs. MINT) this is a fine copy and playback is superb. If you
must have perfect surfaces, then please do not buy this LP. Overall, this rates
as a NM collector's copy.
This LP has been carefully cleaned using a VPI cleaning machine. All LPs are provided with a new Nagaoka (or Nagaoka-style) inner sleeve. The images I've provided are of the actual item you are potentially bidding on
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Hello. Thanks for your purchase. Payment via PayPal is greatly preferred and should be made within 5 days. Items will be sent free via standard airmail - there are no shipping charges. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, I will be happy to help. Thank you. Best wishes, Joe
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