Impex - IMP6004 -180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - Columbia MS 6043
AAA 100% Analogue - Mastered by George Marino at Sterling Sound
Audiophile Remaster - 2,000 Numbered Limited Edition
AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only, from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head
The Absolute Sound Super Disc List TAS Harry Pearson Super LP List
Featured in Michael Fremer's Heavy Rotation in Stereophile! Music 10/10 Sound 9/10
You'll never confuse Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2 composed in 1957 with piano concertos composed during the romantic era, except when you get to the squooshy center where the composer goes all Rachmaninoff on you. The cinematic first movement sounds both ominous and light-hearted like a Hitchcock chase scene and it's easy to hear how Bernard Herrmann may have been influenced by this rousing first movement. It will get your heart pounding.
The second movement has the stamp of Russian gravitas in the opening bars and then softens to the exquisite Rachmaninoff-like melodic line from which Bernstein pulls all of the emotional longing and heart-tugging beauty. The third movement returns to the angular, chase-like motif of the first and ends with a rousing finale.
Bernstein performed and conducted the American debut of the piece, and recorded it in January of 1958 in the Colorama Ballroom of the Saint George Hotel, the site of his iconic recording of "Rhapsody In Blue."
Ravel wrote his Piano Concerto in G Major years after Gershwin wrote "Rhapsody In Blue" in 1924, so when you immediately recognize Gershwin in Ravel's piece, know that Ravel wrote this piece in 1931. After writing "Rhapsody In Blue" Gershwin went to Paris where he asked Ravel for lessons but was turned down because Ravel didn't want to possibly ruin his jazzy style.
Despite the Gershwinesque opening sections and some jazzy interludes of his own, complete with an ascending clarinet line at one point, the piece quickly becomes easily recognizable as Ravel's as the colors shine through and the impressionistic arrangement yields fantasmagoric images.
Both pieces are easily accessible even to the classical music-challenged listener.
Even though Columbia was never known as a sound label, particularly compared to RCA, Mercury in America and British Decca and EMI in England (Columbia, unlike the others rarely if ever divulged engineer or recording venue) it did produce its share of sonically superb recordings and this is one of them.
The Shostakovich recording has greater ambience and more hall presence because of where it was recorded. The Ravel was recorded in April of 1958 at Columbia's famed 30th Street Studio, a former church, and while it had wonderful ambience for jazz, it couldn't produce the spaciousness of a large hall.
Don't expect the deep, vast soundstages found on British Deccas or many RCAs. Instead, this one is relatively closely but simply miked, more like some Mercurys. Bernstein's piano is very nicely recorded and well focused and the orchestra is spread neatly behind. There's more space on the Shostakovich, but both have glorious harmonics and impressive dynamics.
Good reissue choice Impex! I hope it sells well enough to encourage more great sounding reissues from the Columbia catalog.
Numbered, Limited Edition! 180 Gram Vinyl Mastered by George Marino at Sterling Sound from the Original Analog Tapes!
• Numbered, Limited Edition
• 180 Gram Vinyl
• Mastered by George Marino at Sterling Sound
• Mastered from the Original Analog Tapes!
New York Philharmonic (Shostakovitch)
Columbia Symphony Orchestra (Ravel)
Leonard Bernstein, piano, conductor
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 101
Joseph-Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Piano Concerto in G Major
Impex Records is the exciting audiophile label from the team that brought you Cisco Music. With more than 20 years experience and 150 titles released, Cisco Music developed many of the techniques used by other labels to make higher quality 180-gram LPs, SACDs and Gold and aluminum CDs.
We brought definitive editions Jennifer Warnes' The Well, The Hunter and Famous Blue Raincoat in multiple formats, including a 45 rpm box set that Absolute Sound magazine declared "defines the state-of-the--art in vinyl playback." Other classic reissues we nurtured to fantastic rebirths include the jazz-rock perfection of Steely Dan's Aja, Joan Baez' Farewell Angelina, NathanMilstein's poetic interpretation of Dvorak's Violin Concerto and four exquisite 45-rpm Three Blind Mice LPs.
Even in our humbler origins we were trusted with the distribution and production of The Super Analogue Disc, the original audiophile 180-gram LPs. King Records recognized, from the very beginning, that Cisco Music brought unflinching passion to the music and unflailing dedication to the process of bringing that music to the most discerning listeners in the world.
Now as Impex Records some of the original Cisco staff (Abey Fonn, Robert Pincus and Robert Sliger), along with Robert Donnelly, will follow and expand our own high standards for a new generation of audiophile products. Analog products will always be cut using analog tapes and analog mastering at the finest mastering facilities like Sterling, Cohearent and Bernie Grundman--just as it should be. Gold CD's will always be cut with high-definition digital or analog tape transfers from original sources. We will introduce America to Sony's revolutionary Blu-Spec CD, which redefines production excellence in 16-bit digital playback.
With a singular vision for making the best records anywhere, Impex Records is poised to expand Cisco Music's peerless legacy well into the 21st century. It's going to be quite a journey and we look forward to your joining us. We have committed ourselves, with every new release, to your complete satisfaction.
RTI HQ-180 Vinyl
Record Technology is a world class record pressing plant located in Camarillo, California. We have been operating since 1974, pressing for most audiophile record labels and for many quality minded independent and major record labels from around the world.