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06-18-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Lyon, France
Posts 138
Joined on 05-29-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 7598
Reply to: 7598
Brahms Double Concerto

Brahms: “Double” Concerto

(d) Zino Francescatti, Violin; Pierre Fournier, Cello; Columbia Symphony Orchestra

November 20, 1959; American Legion Hall

    • LP: Columbia ML 5493; Stereo: Columbia MS 6158

    • CD: CBS/Sony MK 42024; Sony SMK 64479

Hi,  this was on the radio this evening, made me feel like throwing my turntable into the garbage.  You can really hear francescatti and fournier leaning into their strings in certain passages as they are way out in front of the orchestra.  I see that Sony just re'released this on CD, I wonder which pressing the radio station was playing. Can anyone recommend?


06-18-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat

Boston, MA
Posts 10,051
Joined on 05-27-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 7599
Reply to: 7598
The Columbia recordings, FM and something else..

Yes, I very frequently observe this effect. I hear sometimes on air something that make me to call to the station and ask with version it was played and then to my sadness I realized that they play the LP or CD that I have and that does not produce the same sound in my room what I play it of my CD or LP player. It is not that at my FM station that use some kind extraordinary equipment or playing techniques, in fact the use crap, but it is what I call the FM mystery – somehow the FM modulation and demodulation clean up garbage from the original recoding and makes me to feel sound more friendly (not always but sometimes, particularly if the FM station do not screw it up by different means)

The Francescati/Fournier Brahms’ Double Concerto with Bruno Walter is wonderful play indeed but I never consider pursuing it's sonic value.  It was recorded in end of the 50s by Columbia and Columbia, practically at that time, i consider was a company of sonic barbarism. Columbia at that time signed enormous amount of very talented musicians and practically all of them got very pure sound. The musicians that orchestras that were recording under DG, Decca, RCA and others got much better sound. I think I have only one copy of Francescati/Fournier Brahms’ Double, one CD one LP and it about it.

I like the Concerto itself and the subject of my sonic fixation was in past the RCA recording with Wallenstein leading RCA own Victor Symphony orchestra and Heifetz play violin and Piatigorsky play cello. Say whatever you wish but Heifetz and Piatigorsky together is very dangerous mix, capable for a lot of damage. Interpretation-wise It is a little bit overly glitzy then I would like to see Brahms – the Heifetz certainly had own miserable influence but the level at winch HOW it played is truly remarkable in my view.  I remember it was an obsession of mine to found the “right sound” of the Heifetz/Piatigorsky Brahms’ Double. I own a half dozen different CD pressing of this recoding and perhaps 10-15 LP: mono LD2513 and Stereo LDS2513, different pressing codes and you name what else. I do not look for “better sound” from that Brahms’ Double concerto. Nowadays my definition of Better Sound is not the subject of recoding and pressing but other things but still if you have an interest about your turntable in context the Double Brahms then you might try the Heifetz/Piatigorsky version.

Rgs, Romy the Cat

"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
06-19-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,576
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 3
Post ID: 7600
Reply to: 7599
Nocturnal Emissions
Not to take away from Brahms, but just the "audio-centric" rejoinders...

Many years ago, in LA, I used to love to stay awake or even wake up to listen to late night FM.  The sense of "space" was uncanny, and the absence of noise was surreal, even when they played LPs I had that I "knew" sounded merly OK by day on the TT.  Technically, I think it has partly to do with compression; but who cares?

I have some "6-Eye" Columbia LPs from the late 50s - 60s that sound about as good as anything; nice recordings and surprisingly good pressings, IF you can find the early pressings.  I'm NOT speaking of performances...

As for perfectly-rendered talent, it appears that no one had a lock on that!  I only wish my best performances also had the best sound!  Still, IMO, there are major "issues" with great recordings that involve "musical aesthetics" more than range, measured noise, etc.  I would gladly trade some of my "better" later editions for scratchy originals of certain seminal works, this for musical reasons, not for monetary "value".

It has been "interesting" in cases where I have been able to compare originals with recent "audiophile" pressings.

I can think of very few cases where the later "re-masters" have been as musically satisfying.  (OK, none...)

OTOH, good  "FM Sound" is just one of Life's Little Mysteries.

Sure, I prefer the "range" from well-rendered LPs; but I just wish all my LPs always sounded as good on my TT as they do on good (late-nite) FM broadcasts

A Top Secret Tip:  find/buy the broadcast "demos" if/when you can...

Best regards,
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