AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head
Speakers Corner / London - CS 6013 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - AAA 100% Analogue
Limited Edition - Pure Analogue Audiophile Mastering - Pressed at Pallas Germany
Speakers Corner 25 Years pure Analogue
This set of pieces is called Images Pour Orchestre to differentiate it from two previous sets of Images each consisting of three pianoforte pieces. The orchestral Images were begun in 1906 and finished in 1912. In Gigues, the sound of an oboe d'amore is heard here. In this movement it is first used for the solo tune in slightly quicker time after the short introduction. Iberia contains three main parts: Par les rues et par les chemins; Les parfums de la nuit; and Le matin d'un jour de fete. The last movement, Rondes de Printemps, takes the music once more into the visionary domain of poetry.
Debussy explains these Images: "I am attempting something . . . that might be called reality, but what idiots call Impressionism, a term that is completely misapplied . . . " Throughout the whole set of these orchestral Images Debussey's sensitive apprehension of qualities of tone is apparent. The ear of one of the most refined connoisseurs of sound in his generation is at work. The effect is wonderfully clear, stimulating and moving.
Vinyl lovers like those from Speakers Corner can lament about how difficult it can be to dig up audio treasures and enhance them to make them fresh and new. A good mastertape and precise cutting is of prime importance, of course. But a collector's heart will also miss a beat when taking a look at the original cover. Record dealers know this only too well and demand a high price for rare original recordings, as though they were dealing in gold. The rarer the recording, the more expensive it comes. In order to close the gap between the demand for coveted LPs and the potential for speculation with such productions, Speakers corner are re-releasing a number of first-class recordings by Mercury and Decca. All the titles appeared in their catalog but were sold out years ago.
Gigues, Ibéria and Rondes de Printemps - Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducted by Ataúlfo Argenta.
And the blind shall see - promising words indeed! And very apt to describe the impressionist tonal paintings of Claude Debussy, who exchanged the paintbrush for a pen and the canvas for manuscript paper. Debussy's musical tools were not so much the etching-needle or sharp pencil but rather more a rich variety of glorious paints on his palette and thick brushes and sponges to form flowing figures and shapes on his musical canvas. With the Images pour Orchestre, the art lover possesses three of the mature composer's most important musical paintings to hang in his gallery. Thanks to its rhythmic and melodic structure, Iberia is very probably the most striking of these three studies. The impressionistic, frazzled theme is lent substance through the familiar sounds and rhythms of Spanish folk music; Debussy conjures up the moods and impressions of a landscape which he himself hardly knew. And should the listener not be in a position to wander the streets and pathways, to breathe the perfume of the night, nor to enjoy a fiesta morning, then this record will certainly enable him to see all this for himself.
Selections: Images pour Orchestre Gigues, Ibéria and Rondes de Printemps.
L'Orchestre De La Suisse Romande
Ataulfo Argenta, conductor
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Images Pour Orchestre
a. Par les rues et par les chemins
b. Les parfums de la nuit
c. Le matin d'un jour de fete
3. Rondes de Printemps
25 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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