On 27/03/2014, DAVID BURNHAM wrote:
> As I've mentioned here before, I've recently purchased the Westminster
> box set, the Mercury Vol. 1 & 2, (but I haven't gotten 2 yet), and
> most interesting, the latest incarnation of the complete Toscanini.
> I'm amazed by the range of qualities of remastering in the Toscanini
> set. Some are dreadful, like the late '40s early '50s versions of the
> Beethoven Symphonies. These are painfully over-modulated with the
> tympanies regularly going into distortion, (I didn't recognize the
> names of the remastering engineers on these ones). One advantage of
> this set is that it includes the recordings by the Philadelphia
> Orchestra and the BBC Orchestra which weren't included in the '90s
> set. The Philadelphia recordings are a marvel of recorded sound, high
> fidelity even by today's standards, considering that these recordings
> were made at roughly the same time as the wretched sounding Horowitz
> Tchaikovsky concerto which was such a popular album; I've never heard
> definitive version of why these were rejected for issue when they
> were recorded. The first story I heard was that the recordings were
> defective and unusable. This seems absurd since RCA had been recording
> this orchestra in this hall probably more than they had recorded any
> other orchestra - they should have been able to record them in their
> sleep! The Mendelssohn "Midsummer Night's Dream" would have been a
> particularly useful set to have on the market since nobody had
> recorded this much of the score before. Also it's strange that, if
> these records weren't to be issued, that Toscanini didn't re-record
> the material with the NBC until several years later.
I have the complete 1990s edition (in its special case), and it does
include all the Philadelphia recordings, on four CDs.
My impression is that the problem with these recordings was that the 78
rpm discs had very large numbers of clicks, because substandard wartime
materials were used. The 1990 transfers do have very clicky backgrounds.
I have the 2006 transfers in a 3-CD set. These are DSD transfers. The
clicks are all gone and the string sound is much improved.
Presumably the 2006 transfers are the ones used for the current complete
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