05 March, 2009

HiFi 天碟 Golden Discs (1): Classical I

EVEREST LPs/CDs (CLASSIC RECORDS 200 gm re-issues)

pic: (L) re-issue LP; (R) old version CD

EVEREST when it started recorded a series of LPs, on magnetic films and these were among the best-sounding recordings of all times. The artists were mostly under-rated too. Unfortunately, while early Everest pressings were OK, later pressings were notoriously low in quality. It's almost impossible to find one that you can play through with tolerable distortion (and I have a high tolerance).

The Everest catalogue were nicely mastered on CDs many years ago, but these CDs were only sporadically available and then discontinued and so are hard to find now. Recently these have been transferred to DVD-A I think (expensive) but I have not heard those. And why would that be necessary now that Classic Records has issued some on nice LPs? In this rare instance, re-issue LPs would be superior to the old ones.

I have quite a few of the CDs and they were of good quality. One of my favorites is the Shostakovich disc. I have that on both old LP and CD and the latter sounds better!

The Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique I have on CD and it sounds excellent. I have heard the re-issue LP and it's awesome.

The big surprise is recently I picked up a generic LP copy of the Stravinsky. It miraculously played reasonably well and the sound was awesome. The winds blow in your face and the bass-drum is hugh and physically present in the room! I think this recording is even better than theBerlioz! I am sure the re-issue LP is great but I have never heard it.


This company renowned for its recording quality needs little introduction. Aside from its famous recordings of "ethnic music", some of the ones particularly favored by audiophiles are listed below:

La Spagna (BIS) 也是古曲, 几个世纪来,不同的音乐家都为它编曲,都非常好听。节奏鲜明轻快,令人起舞。


"In September 1536, Costanzo Festa asked his patron Filippo Strozzi to intercede on his behalf with a Venetian publisher, hoping that the publisher would print Festa's large collection of variations on a cantus firmus taken from the popular basse danse known variously as "La basse danse de Spayn," "Tenore del re di Spagna," or, simply, "La Spagna." Although Festa never did succeed in publishing his collection (and the composition was lost from view for the remainder of the century), a manuscript version was kept in a musuem in Bologna; the seventeenth-century composer Lodovico Zacconi was familiar with the pieces and spoke very highly of Festa's achievement. As well he might: Festa's collection consists of no fewer than 125 variations on the basic thirty-seven-note theme, all of them displaying a remarkable level of melodic invention and contrapuntal elegance. Indeed, this is a work on a scale unprecedented during his period -- its like would not be attempted again until Johann Sebastian Bach's Goldberg Variations, to which the "La Spagna" variations have been favorably compared."(from the internet)

La Folia (HM) 古曲新编, 还加入了手枪,电锯,汽车等的声音, 娱乐性丰富

Musique de la Grece Antique (Harmonia Mundi)
This is yet another album of re-constructed ancient music by this group. This album was also a famous hifi demo years ago. It's still interesting music but IMHO is not as easy a listen as the other two.