One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

CD REVIEW



Some items
to consider



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 


Pristine Classical

 

 

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958)
Symphony No.6 in E minor (1948) [32:54]
London Symphony Orchestra/Adrian Boult
rec. Abbey Road Studios, London, February 1949
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC072 [32:54]

 


This is my latest encounter with Pristine Audioís new XR technology - a claimed miracle of the transfer engineerís art. Go to www.pristineclassical.com for specifics. They claim that pre-1945 78s now have their audible upper frequency range increased from between 5-6 kHz to somewhere between 11-13 kHz actually going further, boldly announcing that these transfers render ďall previous transfers and restorations Ö entirely obsolete.Ē Since the firm has been embarking on a wide programme of XR restorations this is a defiant claim. A modern recording of the work in question is taken and utilised it as a reference file Ė as was the case in the bass-stiffening and percussion-enhancing in the famous Heward Moeran Symphony recording released on Divine Art. Iíve reviewed his XR work on Kathleen Longís post-war, 78-based, Faurť Deccas (see review) which I liked, was disappointed by the Thibaud-Cortot Kreutzer sonata (see review), remained solidly ambivalent about the Weingartner Eroica and noted the interventionist implications of the piano work in HŁschís Schubert Ė though here the sonic improvements in immediacy were certainly apparent.

Unfortunately I donít have the commercial 78 set of the symphony with which to do some back-to-basics comparison work - nor the EMI CD transfer. Thereís a Pearl transfer but itís not directly relevant in the context of comparisons. So I worked with the EMI LP on ED 2902581, which included both scherzi and Jean Pougnetís A Lark Ascending. This is rather strange one to choose for XR work as one can think of a raft of recordings that would sound more immediately startling given XR treatment. The 1949 VW 6 was extremely well recorded for the time and the visceral immediacy of the sound has always been a big point in its favour. In a sense then this opening salvo of XR issues has somewhat soft-pedalled by choosing the Weingartner and this Boult though I note that next - and last - on my listening duties is the Schnabel-Sargent Emperor Concerto, which has clearly involved hard work from the information provided on the site. Even the Thibaud-Cortot Kreutzer was not badly recorded. A much stiffer test would have been the slightly earlier Sammons-Murdoch Kreutzer, which was not brilliantly recorded and is crying out for its first CD restoration. This VW actually doesnít represent anything like so difficult a consideration.

The EMI LP scores over the XR in the second movement in openness of sound. It sounds like the XR bass has been subtly reinforced and maybe the percussion section has been spatially enhanced as well, by virtue of reference to a modern recording. In the Epilogue I actually find that itís the XRís turn to have a more open treble. Pristine has retained much more surface noise throughout, and itís most audible here of course, but the benefit is that the ear adjusts to the whiskery hiss and takes advantage of preserved higher frequencies.† Thereís really very little in it as regards the LP/XR test.

Iím not quite sure what this has proved. The XR is a good piece of work but it doesnít really displace the EMI Ė it sits alongside it as a viable transfer alternative. Not having heard the CD transfer I canít offer an absolute judgement but on the basis of the LP work the provisional conclusion must be that the XR is highly effective but not necessarily outstanding.

Jonathan Woolf

 


 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger
 

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.