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Classical - Released November 11, 2016 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released February 10, 2010 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released March 31, 2009 | Living Stereo

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Artur Rubinstein's classic performances of Chopin's piano concertos for RCA were digitally remastered for this 1986 reissue, and the transfer from the analog tapes is clean, while the pianist's presence and clarity are enhanced in the mix. Rubinstein's performances of the Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11, with Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and the New Symphony Orchestra of London, and the Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21, with Alfred Wallenstein and the Symphony of the Air are perfectly delightful, if old-fashioned renditions, with a feeling of Romantic ardor and sentimentality held in check by the pianist's refined sense of proportions and elegance. Of course, with many excellent recordings available, this disc will be desired most by connoisseurs of historic recordings, but less so by fans of contemporary artists in all-digital recordings. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 23, 2007 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released January 23, 2007 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released January 23, 2007 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released February 7, 2006 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released February 7, 2006 | Living Stereo

While by no means bad performances, the performances on Pops Caviar -- Russian Orchestral Fireworks are by no means good performances, either. They have, like Nietzsche's übermensch, transcended concepts like good and bad because they are, from conception to execution, pops performances, specifically, Boston Pops under Arthur Fiedler performances. For listeners who don't immediately recall the series of pops recordings Fiedler made for RCA in the '50s and '60s with the Boston Symphony Orchestra re-named the Boston Pops Orchestra, the difference between the BSO and the BPO is not one of quality -- good, bad, or mediocre -- but of brow -- high, middle, or low. As the BPO demonstrates here in works by Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, and Khachaturian, this difference means the difference between clean, full strings and sweet, lush strings; between warmly characterful winds and colorfully blended winds; between clear, strong brass and big, bold brass; and, especially, between suave, polished percussion and gargantuan, bludgeoning percussion. In other words, the quality of the playing is still first-rate, but the quality is aimed at what used to be called a middle-brow audience, an audience that knew what it liked and what it liked was loud, colorful, and a bit sexy. Fiedler is a more than capable conductor who leads performances notable more for their excitement than for their subtly: listen to the brilliant balances in Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Overture or the driven tempos in Borodin's Polovetsian Dances. These are the performances to get if you're looking for excitement and thrills, but if you're looking for performances with as much excitement but more subtlety, try Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra's recordings on Philips. Gergiev believes in the quality of Borodin's gloriously lyrical melodies and Rimsky-Korsakov's incandescent colors, and his recordings are as thrilling as performances as they are compelling as interpretations. RCA's remastering of the original living stereo sound reproduces the flash of the LPs, but lacks some of the depth. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 7, 2006 | Living Stereo

RCA's Living Stereo LPs of the 1950s represent something akin to the moon shots of the following decade: technological achievements that have still not been equaled, almost 50 years later in the case of this 1958 recording. They were engineering accomplishments above all, and they evoke an era when good old American know-how was widely admired. The photo of Virgil Fox on the cover of this album fits the concept; he seems almost scientific in his frameless eyeglasses. And this music shows off the RCA sound at its very best. The organ, too, is American; it is the Aeolian-Skinner instrument at Riverside Church in New York, a sonic spectacular that merited its own section of the liner notes (the original text of which is reproduced in the booklet). Not a glimmer of sound issuing forth from its pipes escaped the reach of producer John Pfeiffer and his equipment (not even what sounds like a truck driving past the church at one point). It is quite characteristically 1950s-American of the notes to complain of the paucity of great organ music written "while the pipe-organ was in its most vigorous stage of development technically," and what happens musically is that the Baroque selections are amped-up to meet the specifications. Fox's Bach is very appealing in its sheer towering sound, but a bit overdone in its too-varied articulation (as if the music were being earnestly explained to us), accelerandos, multi-octave doublings, and big, 1950s-movie moments of sentiment. As we get closer to our own time, things improve; a Canon in B minor by Robert Schumann has a whiz-kid impatience that Fox catches nicely, and the famous Pomp and Circumstance march by Edward Elgar (the one played for graduations and weddings) is included as a bonus track; it was recorded during the original session but never released. With the Toccata from the Symphony No. 5 for organ in F minor, Op. 42, and with Henri Mulet's Thou Art the Rock, which were written with extreme organs in mind, things really get rocking. Invite your friends over, fire up your Super Audio CD player, and pump up the volume. You'll shake not only your house, but the whole damn zip code. Maybe it all was, like the Apollo space program (which at its height consumed 4.4 percent of the entire national budget of the United States), all a bit too much. But if you're in search of five-star sound with which to challenge good speakers or headphones, here it is -- and give the reissue team an extra asterisk for a superb CD transfer. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 1, 2005 | Living Stereo

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Among the label's earliest explorations of stereo reproduction, these vivid, historic recordings by Charles Münch and the Boston Symphony Orchestra have been staples of RCA's catalog and reissued many times over the years in all formats. This 1994 reissue in the refurbished Living Stereo series presents the analog recordings of Ravel's Boléro, La valse, and Rapsodie espagnole, which were recorded between 1955-1956, and the 1957 recording of Debussy's Images, all digitally remastered to impressive effect. After hearing Münch and the BSO at their peak in these spectacular performances, one can only feel grateful that RCA took such loving care in preserving the original masters; audiophiles will appreciate the exceptionally clean sound and evergreen orchestral sonorities that are remarkably vibrant and detailed for recordings of this vintage. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 25, 2005 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released January 25, 2005 | Living Stereo

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There are few performances of the Offenbach/Rosenthal ballet Gaîté Parisienne to match Arthur Fiedler's delightful 1954 recording with the Boston Pops Orchestra, and the companion piece on this RCA Living Stereo reissue, the Rossini/Respighi ballet La boutique fantasque, is similarly a joy to hear again since the 1956 performance is still a classic among few competitors. Everything is vivid and sparkling in this sonic showcase: both historic recordings represent RCA's exceptional efforts in pioneering stereo reproduction, and as early examples of the art, they are astonishingly fresh and vibrant. Even by today's digital standards, these remastered ADD recordings stand up quite well in clarity, color, and frequency range. Yet even though several modern, all-digital recordings of Gaîté Parisienne and La boutique fantasque can boast superior technology, it's hard to find any who can top Fiedler for joie de vivre or his brilliant orchestra for expertise in this effervescent repertoire. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 25, 2005 | Living Stereo

Morton Gould's Brass & Percussion is an artifact from the halcyon days of high fidelity, a lost era when "Radio Row" in New York City was bursting at the seams with shops selling every kind of cutting-edge audio gear to hi-fi enthusiasts eager to blow away their wives, neighbors, and everyone else with big audio systems. Forthwith, Brass & Percussion has a BIG sound -- recorded in Manhattan Center with classic Neumann U-47 microphones and a huge symphonic band made up of crack East Coast professionals. RCA Victor decided to commence recording in stereo starting in 1953, figuring that before long, consumer-grade systems would catch up to the technology. RCA began issuing stereo tapes in 1955; vinyl albums finally did catch up in 1958. The digital compact disc version of Brass & Percussion, compiled by RCA producer John Pfeiffer in 1993, consists of two albums. Tracks 1 through 17 originate with the 1956 mono LP Brass & Percussion issued as LM 2080, although not all of these appeared at the time. The remaining ten tracks were recorded in 1959 and are culled from LSC SD 2308, Doubling in Brass, a rare item as a vinyl album despite winning a Grammy in the engineering category. Despite its vintage, all of the selections are in stereo on the CD. As to the performances, Morton Gould's own original music and arrangements come off the best, with his all-percussion work Parade being an especial sonic treat. The CD version of Brass & Percussion contains 14 Sousa marches, and while they are adequate performances, the "Living Stereo" recording tends to favor the high winds, percussion, and reverberation. The interpretation of Sousa, while enthusiastic and distinctive, is not as focused as it is for the other 13 pieces. Nonetheless, Brass & Percussion is an achievement in technical terms that was second to none in its day, and listeners will hardly believe such a live-sounding, loud, and powerful recording was made five decades ago. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 31, 2001 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released November 6, 2000 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released November 26, 1999 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released November 23, 1999 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released October 12, 1999 | Living Stereo

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Classical - Released September 28, 1999 | Living Stereo