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AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head
Speakers Corner / Philips - 835 204 AY - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - AAA 100% Analogue
Limited Edition - Pure Analogue Audiophile Mastering - Pressed at Pallas Germany
Speakers Corner 25 Years pure Analogue
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This is a flawless record featuring a great interpretation of even greater music. Highly recommended Audioreview
Dmitri Shostakovich: 6 Preludes & Fugues from op.87 - Sviatoslav Richter
As little as Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues conformed to Soviet musical dictates, these ambitious works were all the more highly regarded by the experts. What appeared as decadent and formalistic to Stalinist augurs is no less than an homage to Bach's Well-tempered Clavier in the form of 24 miniatures, in the major and minor keys around the circle of fifths. Shostakovich dedicated his compositions to Tatiana Nikolayeva whom he got to know at the Leipzig Bach Festival in 1950.
Little did he know that she would promote his musical gems right up until her very last breath, when she died on stage while performing his Opus 87 in 1993 in San Francisco. Although Sviatoslav Richter never recorded the complete cycle of Preludes and Fugues, the present recording with his personal selection is one of the most distinguished interpretations of these works. Richter's refined performance brings out the strict form found within the modern compositional style, allowing the biting sarcasm or ludicrous melodies to sparkle, and explores archaic rhythms.
But Richter, the experienced romanticist, is also a master of Schumannesque expression in the form of languid melodiousness in the middle range of the keyboard. At long last this hard-to-find, yet easy to listen to, recording is available once more. "Sviatoslav Richter was born in 1915. He began formal training exceptionally late. Up to the year 1937, when he was twenty-two, his main ambition was to become a conductor and he had made steps towards fulfilling this by taking up the post of conductor at the Odessa Opera. But then, more or less unannounced, he presented himself for piano-tuition under Heinrich Neuhaus in Moscow and the latter at once perceived that Richter had very little to learn. 'He sat down at the piano, put his big, supple, nervous hands on the keys and began to play.
I whispered to another pupil: "In my opinion he's a musician of genius." I must say frankly that there was nothing I could teach Richter in the generally accepted meaning of teaching. I always held merely a position of counsellor.' Long before he began to tour in the West, Richter's name had taken on the proportions of a legend. Rumours and hints of his genius, together with a handful of poorish records, were enough to create an anticipatory wave of expectation which any pianist might have found daunting. Richter, when he first appeared in the West in 1960, triumphantly exceeded it; and since then, cooler estimates of his capacity have only served to confirm the original impression." - from liner notes by Derek Jole Features:
Musicians: Sviatoslav Richter, piano
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Prelude & Fugue Op. 87, No. 14 in E flat minor
1. Adagio - Allegro non troppo (3 part)
Prelude & Fugue Op. 87, No. 17 in A flat
2. Allegretto - Allegretto (4 part)
Prelude & Fugue Op. 87, No. 15 in D flat
3. Allegretto - Allegro molto (4 part)
Prelude & Fugue Op. 87, No. 4 in E minor
4. Andante - Adagio (4 part)
Prelude & Fugue Op. 87, No. 12 in G sharp minor
5. Andante - Allegro (4 part)
Prelude & Fugue Op. 87, No. 23 in F
6. Adagio - Moderato con moto (3 part)
Recorded July 1963 in Paris, France.
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.