Speakers Corner / Decca SXL 6355 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - AAA 100% Analogue
Limited Edition - Pure Analogue Audiophile Mastering - Pressed at Pallas Germany
AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only, from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head
This is one of the crown jewels of the Decca catalog. Sumptious sound. Warm acoustic with lots of air and dimension LP Review
Albéniz: Suite española (Transcription by Frühbeck de Burgos)
New Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
The Suite española, written by the piano virtuoso and composer Isaac Albéniz, is one of the most outstanding works in the history of Spanish music. Albéniz invites the listener to join him on a musical journey through eight great Spanish cities, each steeped in tradition, investing each scene with local colouring as an homage.
Albéniz made full use of musical folk idioms combined with dazzling virtuosity in many of his other works too, and deeply impressed Debussy and Ravel, as is testified by their own compositions.
Originally conceived for the piano, the Suite has been arranged for large orchestra by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos who makes the most of the orchestra’s tonal palette to underline the expressivity of the music. The final movement (Cuba) is replaced by Cordoba, a piano piece from Albéniz’s Cantos de España, op. 132, also arranged by Frühbeck de Burgos for orchestra. The obvious advantages of the arranger himself conducting the orchestra are well demonstrated by the present highly successful recording.
The precision of the rhythmic interjections and the melodic flow are highly impressive. The music evokes various scenes, such as the impression of a barren Spanish landscape in the shimmering heat or bustling life in the various cities of Spain.
November 1967 in Kingsway Hall, London with Kenneth E. Wilkinson / Production: John Mordlen
"...Isaac Albeniz was one of the most prolific composers of his era. The vast majority of his compositions are for the piano, an instrument on which he was a virtuoso, but he also wrote operas to English librettos. He began young, making his first appearance in public in Barcelona at the age of four. It is said that his playing even then was so astonishing that the audience suspected a fraud. He was only seven when he first played in Paris and also produced his first composition to gain a place in a repertory; it was a 'Pasodoble', and it was taken up by military bands in Barcelona..." - Malcolm Rayment, liner notes
New Philharmonia Orchestra
Rafael Fruhbeck De Burgos, conductor
Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909)
1. Castilla (Seguidillas)
2. Asturias (Leyenda)
3. Aragon (Fantasia)
4. Cadiz (Cancion)
5. Sevilla (Sevillanas)
6. Granada (Serenata)
7. Cataluna (Corranda)
20 Years pure Analogue
Are your records completely analogue?
Yes! This we guarantee!
As a matter of principle, only analogue masters are used, and the necessary cutting delay is also analogue. All our cutting engineers use only Neumann cutting consoles, and these too are analogue. The only exception is where a recording has been made – either partly or entirely – using digital technology, but we do not have such items in our catalogue at the present time
Are your records cut from the original masters?
In our re-releases it is our aim to faithfully reproduce the original intentions of the musicians and recording engineers which, however, could not be realised at the time due to technical limitations. Faithfulness to the original is our top priority, not the interpretation of the original: there is no such thing as a “Speakers Corner Sound”. Naturally, the best results are obtained when the original master is used. Therefore we always try to locate these and use them for cutting. Should this not be possible, – because the original tape is defective or has disappeared, for example – we do accept a first-generation copy. But this remains an absolute exception for us.
Who cuts the records?
In order to obtain the most faithful reproduction of the original, we have the lacquers cut on the spot, by engineers who, on the whole, have been dealing with such tapes for many years. Some are even cut by the very same engineer who cut the original lacquers of the first release. Over the years the following engineers have been and still are working for us: Tony Hawkins, Willem Makkee, Kevin Gray, Maarten de Boer, Scott Hull, and Ray Staff, to name but a few.
At the beginning of the ‘90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the reissue policy was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC Compact Classics, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and others, including of course Speakers Corner, all maintained a mutual, unwritten code of ethics: we would manufacture records sourced only from analogue tapes.
Vinyl’s newfound popularity has led many other companies to jump on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source from which to master: CDs, LPs, digital files and even MP3s.
Even some who do use an analogue tape source employ a digital delay line, a misguided ’80s and ‘90s digital technology that replaces the analogue preview head originally used to “tell” the cutter head in advance what was about to happen musically, so it could adjust the groove “pitch” (the distance between the grooves) to make room for wide dynamic swings and large low frequency excursions. Over time analogue preview heads became more rare and thus expensive.
So while the low bit rate (less resolution than a 16 bit CD) digital delay line is less expensive and easier to use than an analogue “preview head”, its use, ironically, results in lacquers cut from the low bit rate digital signal instead of from the analogue source!
Speakers Corner wishes to make clear that it produces lacquers using only original master tapes and an entirely analogue cutting system. New metal stampers used to press records are produced from that lacquer. The only exceptions are when existing metal parts are superior to new ones that might be cut, which includes our release of “Elvis is Back”, which was cut by Stan Ricker or several titles from our Philips Classics series, where were cut in the 1990s using original master tapes by Willem Makkee at the Emil Berliner Studios. In those cases we used only the original “mother” to produce new stampers.
In addition, we admit to having one digital recording in our catalogue: Alan Parsons’ “Eye in the Sky”, which was recorded digitally but mixed to analogue tape that we used to cut lacquers.
In closing, we want to insure our loyal customers that, with but a few exceptions as noted, our releases are “AAA”— analogue tape, an all analogue cutting system, and newly cut lacquers.
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