What Classical are you spinning?

I got rid of most of my classical vinyl, sold it as a job lot, but kept this 1965 original pressing of this classic recording. EMI really pulled out the stops, recorded at Kingsway Hall and the sound is luscious. Enjoying it now.


Thank-you so much! My CD versions are a painful listen. I was just on Discogs looking for a vinyl copy. I’ll take your recommendation into consideration. A wonderful performance.

There’s also a good 180g Testament reissue.

Living in the UK and getting rid of classical originals…that’s hard to read :wink:

I just go the opposite way stronger than ever. Really hard to hear other classical than the right golden age pressings (originals or good reissues) at the moment. They explode soundwise with every improvement of the chain, but they hide their quality if a certain revealing capability is not given, which can affect even dozens k$ setups. The directness of the sound combined with the recording techniques catching more room ambiance are incredible. If one listens to this for some time, many modern and most multimic‘ed recordings fall sharply in comparison.

And unfortunately even the best SACD releases can transport nothing of the magic except part of the directness.

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You’re right, this is indeed a beautiful performance & recording. I have this in an EMI box set of du Pre’s recordings obtained from an estate sale (SLS 895, “Favorite Cello Concertos” including Dvorak, Elgar, Haydn & Schumann). I didn’t know that the Elgar was recorded at Kingsway Hall. Another record from the KH venue is Szell conducting the LSO in Handel’s “Water Music” & “Royal Fireworks Music” (Decca SXL 2302 re-released through Speakers Corner) – also “luscious” & one of my all time favorite records!

I saw that as well, and may pick up a copy. I found a 2002 Testament analog sourced which should be solid. From what I saw on Discogs I got the impression the 2017 Warners was a 24bit 96khz digital remaster.


Recorded: 19.VIII 1965, Kingsway Hall, London (Cello Concerto); 30.VIII 1965, No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London (Sea Pictures).
Remastered in 24-Bit / 96kHz from original tapes.
℗ 1965 & Remastered ℗ 2011 Parlophone Records Limited.
© 2017 Parlophone Records Limited.

Originally released in 1965 as His Master’s Voice - ASD 655 (Stereo).

Yes, the Testament is AAA, a digitized vinyl makes no sense. Can sound ok tonality wise, but doesn’t transport the full air and 3D.

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Although, Thierry Fischer conducting Mahler’s 1st (Reference Recordings FR-715 SACD) really comes close to that vinyl magic.

Yes there are several digitally recorded that do. IMO the reference recordings are similar and fascinating in their imaging and expansion of stage (I really like them), but their amount of air is not fully on that level, still certainly much better than usual. I would have named them, too.

Compare the analog sourced RR LP of Nojima plays Liszt with the later digitized one, it’s night and day, but both on RR‘s level.

Here just some recent digitally recorded or released ones which I think are even more similar to the analog magic.

They have that similar quality because Günter Pauler, Giuliano Cesare Ricci, Bert van der Wolf and Daniel Qvortrup /Audio Note UK) are masters of recording art and take care of all steps and equipment inbetween.

Just a hint: only the Northstar Recordings releases of the Challenge Classics label have the better quality.


Amongst the very best on EMI is Barbirolli’s Mahler 5, recorded in Watford Town Hall in 1969. Janet Baker sings Ruckert Leider on that. That’s also one I kept. I bought the CD and the Ruckert Leider was missing.

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I have the NM original and the new Warner 180g reissue.

The recording is very good but not exceptional, the interpretation is certainly famous.

The Warner reissue was so good (no weaker sound, no difference but a bit cleaner) that I called the French mastering engineer, who said it was AAA from the original master. It’s the one to get if one doesn’t have the historic interest in the first pressing.

Unfortunately there’s no great AAA reissue of Barbirolli’s Mahler 9 except of the insanely expensive ERC one.

I rarely listen to historic recordings. I tend to listen to recordings by musicians I hear in London, some new issues, and mainly chamber or solo. I prefer to go and hear classical music live.

Going to Covent Garden tomorrow afternoon. Nabucco. It’s a hit-and-miss production, but the wife wanted to see it. Netrebko bailed out after a few performances were cancelled in December, but there’s a good cast and Liudmyla Monastyrska is taking her place, I’ve heard her in La Forza with Kaufman and in Lady Macbeth. Daniel Oren conducting, a guest Nabucco specialist.

Covent Garden used to be closed Sundays, but since Covid they’ve packed in as many performances as possible.

p.s. the nice thing about a Sunday matinee is you can have a nice lunch at a lovely restaurant bang opposite the entrance to the opera house. Have to keep off the cocktails.

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That’s certainly favorable! And you can hear great orchestras there.

I just remember that even in school already, when I had a also music focus in grammar school, I already went to classical concerts quite regularly. In parallel at home I also listened to recordings.

At this time, the quality difference of the orchestras I heard on recordings to those in concert (not in a cosmopolitan city like London) was extremely obvious to me. I can’t say that the live experience in those cases was generally better, as I heard every mistake or weakness in interpretation in comparison. From that experience and later ones with better orchestras I must say that the quality of interpretation together with the so7 d of the hall make most of the experience a live event can be.

I used to walk to the Festival Hall after college and get £2 return tickets. In those days I heard a Mahler cycle by Tennstedt and performances by Rattle, Abbado, Solti come to mind. The last I heard was a Mahler 1 with Haitink around 2018. Solti was my favourite and the last time I saw him was again at the request of my wife, for her 25th birthday, Gheorghiu and Alagna in La Traviata at Covent Garden. That was her breakout role, as they say in Hollywood.

Even I have the Solti/Covent Garden recording of La Traviata with Gheorghiu. Alagna was not invited because she was a class or two above him, as was quite evident on stage.

I looked up ERC. They have an online shop and not a single record for sale! There are all on Discogs for ±$1,000. Obviously for collectors, not for listening!

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Yes, I do a lot of crazy things already but the price and the hype to get one of the ERC before selling out after a few minutes at all is just too much.

One must just be aware that there are enough people with serious money around the world to buy small series under 1000 of very expensive stuff, may it be records or gear.

One LP or 3 or 4 pairs of top price seats for the ballet. No contest.

Curiously, tomorrow’s show was produced by Daniele Abbado, Claudio Abbado’s son Claudio was director of the London Symphony when Solti often guested and recorded, including some very early digital. Conversely, Solti was principal conductor at Chicago when Abbado was guest conductor and recorded his famous Mahler cycle.

Abbado had an affair with Viktoria Mullova and they had a son Misha. He plays double bass. She then had a daughter, Nadia Mullova-Barley, who is in the Royal Ballet company.

Here’s Misha and Viktoria at a dinner recital last year, where they played this album. I’ll give it a spin now.


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Just ordered one on eBay, similar to your copy. From same UK seller also bought a few EMI / Decca LPs. Look forward to including them as part of collection.

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Thanks every one for the pointers on the Du Pre. I have a Mint Testament copy incoming from South Africa. I was a bit surprised I could not locate one in the United States. I thought hard about a 1965 or 1969 version, but felt this should not have any playback induced inner groove noise. Here’s hoping.


I have one coming from a shop in Brooklyn (if I remember correctly), though it’s said to be a Warner group release. We’ll see what it sounds like when it and my SGCD get here.