Classical Corner Classical Music Corner (thread #56)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by George P, May 27, 2014.

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  1. trumpetplayer

    trumpetplayer Forum Resident

    Location:
    michigan
    Buyer beware. I just tried to listen to this EMI Warner Classic Debussy Complete Piano Works (4 SACD set) by Walter Gieseking and the sound was dreadful. Just dead. I read the booklet and found out they transferred the Original Master tapes to 24/96 then ran it through CEDAR to get rid of the hiss, then transferred it to DSD. What a waste. It was done at Abbey Road.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. George P

    George P Lazy Sunbather Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    Thanks for sharing that.

    I know Robin loves this remastering. Perhaps he'll comment.
     
  3. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    I'll give it another audition. I recall the previous EMI CDs of this music being spectacularly bad and still have some Angel USA LP pressings, one red-labeled, one pale blue. Last I heard, the SACD layer sounded more like the LPs than the CD issues. It's only fair to note that the sound wasn't all that good in the first place. But I'll reference the SACD to my LPs, report back.
     
  4. George P

    George P Lazy Sunbather Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    Thanks. Personally I like the first set of Preludes (1936) he recorded. The second set (mentioned above) was in 1953. The 1936 set is in the Great Pianists of the Century series (pictured below) and the transfers are good. One of these days I need to compare the 1936 and 1953 performances.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    Here's an oddity about that set as originally issued, something that I don't imagine you'd ever know from CD transfers. When Book I was released as a collected album, it omitted no. 10, La Cathedrale engloutie, which had already appeared as a separate single record. To pick up the story from notes I made in my catalogue when logging my copy of the set in, "includes [a copy of] La C.e. That record is marked "Set 314" (q.v.) on its label. A footnote on the program notes sheet reads "This Record was previously issued and is not included in the complete set but an additional pocket is provided in the album for it. If you do not already own the record it may be purchased separately." Evidently, the record companies hadn't yet quite cottoned on to the idea of forcing customers to rebuy records they already owned.
     
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  6. ToddBD

    ToddBD Forum Resident

    On the turntable this morning...
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    My copy of "Walter Gieseking plays Debussy", Angel 35065, is in good shape. It's an earlier pressing with the Red Label. Compared to that all-tube [recording chain/mastering chain] LP the SACD has a little more going on in the upper frequencies. The LP has little hiss to begin with anyway. The SACD sounds a little less closed-in and "dead" than the LP but by a very small margin. Using 24/96 for the initial transfer is roughly equivalent to the DSD standard. While I might have skipped using "Cedar" there's nothing in the liner notes that say it was used on this recording or if used, how much. However, I can understand why they would then convert to analog and then use analog EQ—if it sounds better then it sounds better, the process is really beside the point. In any case, the Gieseking re-recordings of Debussy always had that closed-in sound. This is simply an honest transfer of a problematic recording.

    If you want a modern recording in modern sound, try Gordon Fergus-Thompson, reissued on Brilliant:


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
  8. john greenwood

    john greenwood Well-Known Member

    Location:
    NYC
    I have the 4 disc set plus 1 GROC disc. The SACDs are a vast improvement.
     
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  9. trumpetplayer

    trumpetplayer Forum Resident

    Location:
    michigan
    I think the excessive use of CEDAR may be the problem for me. I'll listen again today. Thanks guys.
     
  10. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    Thing is, I don't hear any. My LP sounds like it's been "Cedared." If you compare the SACDs to the LPs you'll understand. It's a very close match.

    You want excessive "Cedar" try the first issue on CD:

    [​IMG]

    Not as much but still too much:

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. john greenwood

    john greenwood Well-Known Member

    Location:
    NYC
    I have that first CD issue. As I said, the SACDs are a huge improvement.
     
  12. trumpetplayer

    trumpetplayer Forum Resident

    Location:
    michigan
    Thanks Robin. I feel better knowing that's how it was recorded. Just seeing the word CEDAR gives me flashbacks to those early nineties Sony CDs .
     
  13. J.A.W.

    J.A.W. Music Addict

    The CDs in that series that I've heard all suffered from heavy noise reduction. Awful. As for the Gieseking reissue mentioned earlier, I had hoped the Warner Music Group, the new owners of EMI Classics, would not use noise reduction on their reissues of EMI recordings.
     
  14. trumpetplayer

    trumpetplayer Forum Resident

    Location:
    michigan
    Wow, uh I'll pass. I almost bought the second set
     
  15. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    This is the worst single example of "Cedaring" I know, Schnabel's Beethoven in its first CD edition:

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. J.A.W.

    J.A.W. Music Addict

    I agree. When I first heard this set years ago all alarm bells went off. It sounds as dead as a dodo.
     
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  17. john greenwood

    john greenwood Well-Known Member

    Location:
    NYC
    The Gieseking set was an EMI release - part of what appears to have been a belated (and apparently abortive) attempt to compete in the classical audiophile re-release game. My understanding is that most, if not all, of these titles had been released (at a much higher price) in Japan. Warner's is simply sticking its label on them.

    EMI's selections for its inaugural series are certainly subject to question. Many, quite possibly most, would not be considered prime candidates for an audiophile reissue. The Gieseking falls within that group.
     
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  18. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    On the other hand, the surface noise on this baby will tear your ears off. Don't want Cedar? Don't say I didn't warn ya. Pearl's transfers of the Beethoven Society Recordings are kinda like the "Yazoo" of classical music:

    [​IMG]

    For fans of surface noise:

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. J.A.W.

    J.A.W. Music Addict

    I have the Schnabel Beethoven series on Naxos. I guess those reissues fall somewhere between the EMI set and the Pearls.

    Yazoo CDs are favourites of mine, surface noise or not :) That St. Louis collection is an older release. Richard Nevins has been doing great work with the newer ones.
     
  20. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    Yazoo LPs have better surface noise. :winkgrin:

    Yeah, the Naxos series is the best digital compromise on the market. Which is really too bad as the work materials that EMI has for the Beethoven set didn't need Cedar at all. The LPs for the 1980's UK re-release on EMI had the best sound this side of the original 78's.
     
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  21. J.A.W.

    J.A.W. Music Addict

    :laugh:
     
  22. J.A.W.

    J.A.W. Music Addict

    Now listening to: Béla Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra and Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta - Fritz Reiner/Chicago Symphony Orchestra - RCA hybrid SACD, CD-layer (I also have this in the big Reiner box, but this disc was easier to find :))

    [​IMG]
     
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  23. George P

    George P Lazy Sunbather Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    Indeed, the Schnabel Beethoven transfers by Mark Obert Thorn for Naxos are wonderful. A happy medium between the painful Pearls and the underwater EMIs.

    Interesting, as I see no mention of Cedar in the notes of my Japan CD. Not the most open sound though. Still, since these recordings were made in 1953-54, it's hard to imagine any noise reduction would be needed.

    I am listening to this CD now and it sounds ok to me. Not great, but certainly not terrible.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
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  24. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    ...which were crackly as all get out. HMV 78s notoriously look gorgeous and sound like a major Southwest bacon-frying competition. As it was explained to me once by someone I forget, they have a higher shellac content than their US counterparts, which made them quieter and smoother to begin with but prone to serious decay when exposed to moisture.
     
  25. wolfram

    wolfram Slave to the rhythm

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    Just enjoying my newly arrived SACD of Purcell's "Fantasias for the Viols" in multi-channel.

    [​IMG]

    I got the Couperin "Pièces de violes" recently as well. Great stuff. Thanks Robin.

    [​IMG]
     
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