# Composers: Emil Waldteufel, Erno Dohnányi, Imre Kálman, Josef Lanner, Josef Strauss
# Orchestra: Philharmonia Hungarica
# Conductor: Antal Dorati
# Vinyl (2015)
# Number of Discs: 1
# Format: Flac
# DR Analysis: DR 14
# Label: Mercury Living Presence | 478 8058
# Size: 24-bit/192kHz (1.98GB), 24-bit/96kHz (1.01GB) and 16-bit/44.1kHz (274MB)
# Recovery: 5%
# Scan: yes
# Servers: File Factory
From the label:
It was a startling development in the world of high fidelity when Mercury released its first Living Presence recording in 1951. Listening to the recording of Moussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” with the Chicago Symphony under Rafael Kubelik, Howard Taubman, then chief music critic of the New York Times, wrote it was “like being in the living presence of the orchestra.” Following this spectacular first release, Mercury produced more than 350 classical LP records during the next 19 years.
Mercury Living Presence artists included: conductors Rafael Kubelik, Antal Dorati, Paul Paray, Howard Hanson, Frederick Fennell and Victor Alessandro; pianists Byron Janis and Gina Bachauer; cellist Janos Starker; violinist Henryk Szeryng; and Los Romeros, the First Family of the Spanish Guitar.
Mercury’s innovative approach, master-minded by recording engineer C. Robert Fine, was based on the premise that, given a hall with excellent acoustical properties, a single ultra-sensitive microphone should be capable of capturing the sound of a symphony orchestra with unprecedented clarity, realistic balance and crisp definition. Though single-microphone recordings had been made before, the idea of recording large-scale symphonic works was bold and innovative.
When the stereo era dawned in the mid-1950’s, Fine expanded and improved on this technique, opting for three microphones (left, center, right) to capture the full width, height and depth of the orchestral sound along with startling clarity and detail.
The Mercury team never used extra “touch-up” microphones, even for recordings of concertos, operas or solo works. Thus, the true clarify and full panorama of the sound was vividly captured, as well as the perspective and spatial dimension of an actual performance.
Antal Dorati was so famous as a ballet conductor that it should be no surprise that he excels at waltzes. This is one of the finest collections of Viennese Music ever issued. Nothing is overdone or exaggerated. The performances by the Philhamonia Hungarica are pointed and delicately etched, but with a reserve of power and virility. The other performances, by the Minneapolis Symphony, are perhaps a bit less authentic sounding but even more suave and musical. The sound engineering is very good, although a bit veiled by the high standards of Mercury Living Presence. In sum, this is a collection to set beside your Willi Boskovsky albums in its joy and authenticity. — David Saemann, amazon.com
01 – Waltz from The Merry Widow (Lehár)
02 – Waltz from The Gypsy Princess (Kálman)
03 – Village Swallows from Austria, Op. 164 (Strauss)
04 – Wedding Waltz from The Veil of Pierette, Op. 18 (Dohnányi)
05 – The Skater’s Waltz, Op. 183 (Waldteufel)
06 – Die Schönbrunner, Op.200 (Lanner)
The works by Lehár, Kálmán, Dohnányi, Waldteufel, and Lanner, as well as Village Swallows, were recorded between June 5 and 9, 1958, in the Großer Saal of the Wiener Konzerthaus on 3-track half-inch tape, using one Schoeps M201 and two Neumann KM-56 microphones. These waltzes were originally released as SR90190.
Recording Director: Wilma Cozart
Musical Supervisor: Harold Lawrence
Chief Engineer and Technical Supervisor: C. Robert Fine
Original LP front and back covers
Pressings by OPTIMAL on 180g vinyl
Lacquers cut by Sean Magee at Abbey Road Studios
All vinyl is cleaned on a VPI 16.5
Milty Pro Zerostat 3
Technics SL1200-MK5 (modified)
– Rega RB300 arm with RB700 wiring
– Michell Tecnoweight
– SoundSupports armboard
– Trans-Fi Audio ResoMat
Audio Technica AT33PTG/II
AVID Pellar preamp
RME Hammerfall 9632 ADC
Processing: Sound Forge 10, ClickRepair (manual mode only), iZotope RX3
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