AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head
Speakers Corner / Deutsche Grammophon - DGG SLPM 138 672
180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - Pressed at Pallas Germany
AAA 100% Analogue - Audiophile Mastering - Limited Edition
Speakers Corner 25 Years Pure Analogue This LP is an Entirely Analogue Production
In the case of this Martha Argerich LP, SC has a real winner. The original Tulips disc (up until 1970 DGG LPs had a border of yellow tulips round the label edge) was good, but lacked attack and presence, and the dynamic range was limited, whereas the Speakers Corner disc is slightly more forward in terms of balance, has an extended dynamic range, and tremendous presence. All off the ranges are integrated, the bass is deep and controlled, and the treble is very full. Quite clearly modern amplification, cutting heads, and, presumably different equalisation, have revealed layers of sound that were only partially realised on the original LP. - Classical Source
There’s fluidity and flow to Argerich’s playing that is surely hard to come by. So much nuance and detail, and violent dynamics. It’s lovely to hear her take command of the entire show, as she’s an orchestra to herself. If you’re in it for virtuosity, you’re in the right vein.The folks at Speakers Corner utilize zero digital components in their mastering process The sonics on this record are immense. It’s as if the piano spans the entire giant stage. So much depth of tone, and so much air in the highs. Transparency for days. A focused listen is truly transportive. The pressing is pristine so the listener won’t be jolted from their reverie by any distortions or imperfections. Cleanings are required before every go in order to maintain that flawlessness. Do whatever it takes to enjoy this release in its finest presentation. It’ll give back every time. Highly recommended. Sound 5/5 Hifidelity
The debut recording by the Argentinian pianist Martha Argerich took the public by the storm all over the world – and the applause has still not subsided! A mere glance at the repertoire shows that she was reaching for the stars. To bring five composers together on an LP of roughly 45 minutes length means nothing other than speaking five different musical languages – and Martha Argerich proves herself a master of them all!
The demonic opening of the Scherzo in C sharp minor gives way to an iridiscent dialogue which sings and sparkles beyond compare. The Barcarolle rocks gently along; Prokofiev’s Toccata is filled with dynamic force and nervous agitation; Ravel’s Jeux d’eau is pensive and introverted, with the water rippling in a circular motion. As a contrast, the two famous Brahms Rhapsodies are performed with passion, impetuosity and occasionally the required heaviness.
This recording is surely one of the brightest candles to burn anew on Deutsche Grammophon’s birthday cake.
This record was part of the 3-LP Set “The Conductors“ and is now available again.
Speakers Corner has re-mastered quite a few DGG LPs using Ortofon solid-state amplification. In the case of this Martha Argerich LP, SC has a real winner. The original Tulips disc (up until 1970 DGG LPs had a border of yellow tulips round the label edge) was good, but lacked attack and presence, and the dynamic range was limited, whereas the Speakers Corner disc is slightly more forward in terms of balance, has an extended dynamic range, and tremendous presence. All off the ranges are integrated, the bass is deep and controlled, and the treble is very full. Quite clearly modern amplification, cutting heads, and, presumably different equalisation, have revealed layers of sound that were only partially realised on the original LP.
The disc is famous for being Argerich’s debut recital, and to call the playing volatile would be something of an understatement. In the two Chopin pieces one would probably have to go back to Alfred Cortot (1877-1962) to find more variation of tempo, dynamics and free – as opposed to classical – rubato, and yet everything coheres. In Brahms's Rhapsodies the openings are tempestuous, but Argerich relaxes beautifully in the central sections. Prokofiev’s Toccata receives a powerhouse performance and the Ravel glistens beautifully. Strangely, the one relative disappointment is the Liszt, which is powerful, but too restrained in the final section.
Juli 1960 im Beethoven-Saal, Hannover von Heinz Wildhagen / Produktion: Prof. Elsa Schiller
Pianist Martha Argerich performs works from Chopin, Brahms, Prokofieff, Ravel and Liszt!
Martha Argerich, piano
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
1. Scherzo in C sharp minor, Op. 39
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
2. Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79
Serge Prokofieff (1891-1953)
3. Toccata Op. 11
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
4. Jeux d'eau
5. Barcarolle in F sharp major, Op. 60
Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
6. Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6
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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