16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
An almost miraculous improvement in this 2004 mastering,
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This review is from: Elgar: Cello Concerto - Sea Pictures - Overture: 'Cockaigne' (Audio CD)
This very famous pair of performances of the concerto and Sea Pictures, made in 1965, has long been a point of reference by those interested in the music. It has been in my collection in one form or another since then and has always delivered great musical satisfaction. The recording, however, has been problematical at times as follows: The highest peaks of recorded sound were over-modulated on the LP discs and, even with the highest quality Shure cartridges, clean tracking of the most powerful moments of Janet Baker's singing or trumpet climaxes could not be achieved.
The CDs which followed showed improvement in this respect but the same points were clearly uncomfortable in playback even with the best playback machines available at that time. The suspicion grew that the real problem was with the actual recording and not its reproduction. However, I have given it yet one more try and this time the mastering is a triumph. No peak overloading, just, and far greater presence, improved depth of field - in fact an astounding improvement in every respect.
As an extra bonus, the disc even includes an equally improved Cockaigne Overture recorded in 1962 with the Philharmonia and one brimming over with Barbirolli's Londoner enthusiasm - he was always proud to be a Cockney.
The performances of the two main works are so well known and revered as to make further comment by me to be merely superficial. Those who already know these performances will simply want to know if the latest mastering is worth investing in - and it is. Those who don't know the performances should consider rectifying the omission as soon as possible and with this latest remastering.
I would suggest that this is a disc which is an almost obligatory purchase for its many fans and which should be on everyone else's potential purchase list. It fully lives up to its established reputation.