One of the most grown-up review sites around

2020
52,670 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

CD REVIEW



Some items
to consider



£11 post-free anywhere
(currently suspended)


TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Haydn Scottish Songs


Choral Music


Liszt Sonata


Renaissance Bohemia


Cyril Scott piano music


Hahn Complete Songs


Piano Sonatas 6,7,8 Osborne


Symphony for solo piano


Pristine Classical

 

 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major Op.47 Kreutzer (1803) [30:23]
Jacques Thibaud (violin)
Alfred Cortot (piano)
rec. Salle Chopin and Salle Pleyel, Paris, 27-29 May 1929
PRISTINE AUDIO PACM001 [30:23]

 


Pristine Audio’s XR technology is a claimed miracle of the transfer engineer’s art. Go to www.pristineclassical.com for specifics. Andrew Rose claims that pre-1945 78s now have their audible upper frequency range increased from between 5-6 kHz to somewhere between 11-13 kHz. He also goes further, boldly announcing that these transfers render “all previous transfers and restorations …entirely obsolete.” Since he’s embarking on a wide programme of XR restorations this is a defiant claim. He takes a modern recording of the work in question and utilises it as a reference file – as he did in bass-stiffening and percussion-enhancing the famous Heward Moeran Symphony recording. I’ve just reviewed his XR work on Kathleen Long’s post-war, 78-based, Fauré Deccas (see review). The sonic improvements in immediacy were certainly apparent.  Here however he takes on a much earlier 1929 Paris classic, the Thibaud-Cortot Kreutzer Sonata.

After the science what do one’s ears tell one? I set up an A-B-C test and took my (Italian) HMV DB1328-1331 – the one that announces the violinist as a certain G. Thibaud – and stacked it up against Mark Obert-Thorn’s transfer on Biddulph LAB028 (a 1990 transfer) and the XR. Then as usual in this kind of examination I continually switched between the three. The results to my ears remained constant. The noise suppression – Cedar-ing I suppose – leaves a grainy, steely subculture of sound. Fair enough. The main point of interest however is the XR work itself. Doubtless Andrew Rose would say I can’t hear properly – or hear what I want to hear. Well, so be it, but I find this, after the Long, rather disappointing. To me this transfer sounds curiously synthetic and treble starved; the constriction also, in a way I can’t explain, seems to affect Thibaud’s tone, which seems fractionally to become cloudy, as it certainly doesn’t on the 78 or in Obert-Thorn’s quite noisy but essentially unfussy transfer.

In the end it doesn’t matter about graphs, reference copies, Natural Sound, predictive elements and finding harmonics embedded in high frequency noise – it depends on how the transfer appeals. I appreciate Rose will not agree. Many other people also won’t agree and will enjoy this – download it and see. If possible have access to another transfer and better still go and listen to the 78. I liked Rose’s work with the Long Deccas but not this Kreutzer. It’s going to be trial and error, one at a time it seems, in my XR experience.

Jonathan Woolf

 


 

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage



Musicweb sells the following labels

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
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
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.