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Discussion: Ravel: Concerto in G major; Rachmaninov: Concerto No. 4 in G minor - Michelangeli

Posts: 11
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Post by hiredfox February 16, 2013 (1 of 11)
Argued by many experts to be the greatest piano recording ever made this latest reincarnation from EMI on a single layer stereo SACD is a triumph making the performance seem more dynamic and emotionally involving even than the original 1957 LP.

Re-mastered in 96/24 PCM from original tapes by Simon Gibson at Abbey Road it is by far the best sounding of the many digital versions re-issued over the years even taking into account the format change. We should be very grateful to his team for ensuring that this stalwart recording will remain in the catalogue in a form that does full justice to it's status for a new generation to appreciate.

An ever present item in my collection since the launch of the LP, this has also turned out to be by far the most expensive - around $45 from CD Japan plus the surcharges that our beloved Customs inspectors love to add frisson to our passion.

This warning will deter many which is a pity because this is a mandatory purchase for all Piano freaks.

Post by canonical February 16, 2013 (2 of 11)
Isn't that the same team that botched the other EMI analog to SACD transfers by adding pointless and unnecessary A/D/A transfers, and then running the fabulous old recordings through a washing machine so that they could run their antiquated analog hiss removal software to try and remove hiss, ... and in the process removed much of the original beauty of the originals? Certainly, that was the case with most of the ones I tried ...

Seems to rather miss the point: in my experience, the best analog transfers go back to the original master tapes ... and then convert them direct to SACD's native DSD format.

Post by Lute February 16, 2013 (3 of 11)
Thanks for the good info! And the beautiful art work!

I love it. ;-)

Post by Polarius T February 16, 2013 (4 of 11)
canonical said:

the best analog transfers go back to the original master tapes ... and then convert them direct to SACD's native DSD format.

Previously you've been proclaiming the early Sony single-layer SACDs to be the finest example of this...but they were done just the same way as these EMI SACDs, albeit with lower specs.

Check your ideology at the door when entering the listening room. :-)

I don't consider clicks etc. flaws and age-related extraneous warts "original beauty." For me that's about the presentation of the original orchestral sound in its surroundings. That's the kind of beauty these EMI SACDs offer us like few others out there, and like never before in the lifetime of these recordings.

Moreover, if you've bothered to read what Simon Gibson himself has explained about their process on these and other linked pages, you'll already know that everything was of course done using the original master tapes and that on the whole they didn't do anything about tape hiss (only on a few of the hundreds of releases they prepared the hiss aspect was touched upon, and even then only here and there and using very advanced means that you with your evident hearing ability would not even be able to tell were ever involved in the process).

But you don't care about the facts, do you.

Post by ramesh February 16, 2013 (5 of 11)
From an interpretative point of view, the interesting aspect of this recording is Michelangeli's penchant for desynchronising his hands for certain chords-- a trait which would nowadays be classed as a gimmick, and only to be used at one's peril by those who enter piano competitions. This seems, at least to my ears, to sound quite legitimate for these late romantic compositions. [ Though I'm unsure whether either Ravel or Rakhmaninov played their own works in such a manner.]


Someone needs to get the impending Praga SACD which purports to offer a contemporaneous concert recording of one concerto and compare it to this.

Post by Ubertrout February 16, 2013 (6 of 11)
Polarius T said:

Previously you've been proclaiming the early Sony single-layer SACDs to be the finest example of this...but they were done just the same way as these EMI SACDs, albeit with lower specs.

What's your evidence for this?

For myself, I'd rather purchase these as 24/96 downloads (should they be released that way) than as SACDs. I'm not as firmly against these as canonical is, but I'd rather have fewer steps in the chain if at all possible. Recall that EMI fell strongly into the DVD-Audio camp when there was still competition between formats in the classical markets; it seems like their workflow is still more oriented to a PCM format.

Post by seth February 16, 2013 (7 of 11)
Ubertrout said:

What's your evidence for this?

For myself, I'd rather purchase these as 24/96 downloads (should they be released that way) than as SACDs. I'm not as firmly against these as canonical is, but I'd rather have fewer steps in the chain if at all possible. Recall that EMI fell strongly into the DVD-Audio camp when there was still competition between formats in the classical markets; it seems like their workflow is still more oriented to a PCM format.

Form the horse's mouth:

http://mixonline.com/mag/audio_dixon_van_winkle/

See the 4th to last paragraph.

Post by akiralx February 16, 2013 (8 of 11)
canonical said:

Isn't that the same team that botched the other EMI analog to SACD transfers by adding pointless and unnecessary A/D/A transfers, and then running the fabulous old recordings through a washing machine so that they could run their antiquated analog hiss removal software to try and remove hiss, ... and in the process removed much of the original beauty of the originals?

No...

Post by ramesh February 16, 2013 (9 of 11)
Ubertrout said:



For myself, I'd rather purchase these as 24/96 downloads (should they be released that way) than as SACDs.

HD Tracks is currently releasing many of these EMI remasters as 24/96 downloads.

Post by hiredfox February 17, 2013 (10 of 11)
ramesh said:

Someone needs to get the impending Praga SACD which purports to offer a contemporaneous concert recording of one concerto and compare it to this.

I have both, if time permits will compare them.

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