HD-Vinyl 24/96 (RCA Living Stereo) Khachaturian/Kabalevsky – Masquerade Suite/The Comedians

This is one of the niciest and most desirable vinyls of the “Living Stereo” serie.
Complete new rip, with the new phono-amp and the new cart.

# Composer: Aram Khachaturian, Dmitri Kabalevsky
# Orchestra: RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
# Conductor: Kiril Kondrashin
# Vinyl (1960)
# Number of Discs: 1
# Format: Flac
# Label: RCA Living Stereo
# DR-Analysis: DR 11
# ASIN: B00000GV4H

# Size: 775 MB
# Scan: yes

# Server: FileFactory


I think ‘fun’ is the best word to describe these works, produced by the genious duo Layton & Mohr.

Kondrashin came to the U.S. in 1958 to conduct concerts for Van Cliburn. While he was recording the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto with Cliburn, RCA also had him make these recordings (originally two LPs) with pickup musicians in New York’s Manhattan Center. The nucleus of the orchestra was composed of members of the old NBC Symphony, and the ensemble plays splendidly, with violinist Oscar Shumsky earning his solo credit. Kondrashin leads spirited performances of these warhorses, mostly music so vulgar we should be ashamed of enjoying it as much as we do.

There are so many treasurable recordings that RCA has in their archives, one can only wish they would take their virtual responsibility of getting them to the market a little more seriously.

“The Masquerade Suite” and “The Comedians” in particular have incredible style and sweep. These pieces which have been for so long relegated to the status of pops concerts level become in Kondrashin’s hands the decided masterpieces of colorful writing and wonderful orchestration that they actually are. I must go so far as to say that these interpretations are definitive. We like to think of all the technical advances we have made in the last decades, but the sonics of the original analog tapes make these pieces sound like they were recorded yesterday rather than 50 years ago. There is not a trace of compression or distortion. Volumes on a good stereo system can be put to earthquake level. The final movement of the Kabelevsky is a speaker buster with Kabelevsky’s ample use of kettle drums for the grand finish. On the other side of the coin, there is Oscar Shumsky’s incomparable violin playing in “The Masquerade Suite” with its heartfelt second movement’s large violin solo. This is a “must-have” recording. We have absolutely magnificent performances of two masterpieces of orchestration from the mid-twentieth century Russian school.

Analyzed folder: /96kKhaKab_MasqCom/96k Khatchaturian-Masquerade – Kabalevsky-The Comedians
DR        Peak        RMS        Filename
DR8        -1.09 dB     -12.65 dB     A1 Masquerade Suite – Waltz.wav
DR11        -6.72 dB     -22.29 dB     A2 Masquerade Suite – Nocturne.wav
DR9        -1.33 dB     -13.71 dB     A3 Masquerade Suite – Mazurka.wav
DR10        -4.06 dB     -19.45 dB     A4 Masquerade Suite – Romance.wav
DR10        -1.04 dB     -14.27 dB     A5 Masquerade Suite – Galop.wav
DR11        -2.60 dB     -17.18 dB     B1 The Comedians, Op26 – Prologue.wav
DR10        -0.60 dB     -13.11 dB     B2 The Comedians, Op26 – Comedians’ Gallop.wav
DR11        -1.42 dB     -19.26 dB     B3 The Comedians, Op26 – March.wav
DR12        -7.55 dB     -25.66 dB     B4 The Comedians, Op26 – Waltz.wav
DR10        -0.95 dB     -13.37 dB     B5 The Comedians, Op26 – Pantomime.wav
DR14        -6.08 dB     -24.35 dB     B6 The Comedians, Op26 – Intermezzo.wav
DR11        -5.64 dB     -21.96 dB     B7 The Comedians, Op26 – Little Lyrical Scene.wav
DR13        -1.76 dB     -21.41 dB     B8 The Comedians, Op26 – Gavotte.wav
DR12        -5.16 dB     -21.86 dB     B9 The Comedians, Op26 – Scherzo.wav
DR9        -0.59 dB     -13.40 dB     B10 The Comedians, Op26 – Epilogue.wav
Number of files:    15
Official DR value:    DR11


Ripping Infos

  • RCM: Okki Nokki
  • TT: Clearaudio Champion Level II
  • NEW !!! Cartridge: Sumiko Black Bird
  • Phono stage: Pro-Ject Phono Box RS
  • ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
  • Pre Amp: Unison Research Unico Pre (Tube)
  • Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
  • Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
  • Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
  • Software: iZotope RX Advanced v2.02, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Light de-Clicking with iZotope RX Advanced, significant clicks manually removing, no De-Noising

If You hear some clicks and pops here and there, Who cares?
Id rather have a few light anomalies instead of destroying the music. Enjoy the music, not the ticks & pops.

  • DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
  • Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5

If you like what i do, please consider that a little donation would be very appreciate. I reinvest all donations in maintenance of my rig, for purchasing cleaning solutions and, most important of all, purchasing of new vinyls.
Click on the “Donate”-button. Thank you very much !

Download from FileFactory

2 archives
PW: LaWally

24 thoughts on “HD-Vinyl 24/96 (RCA Living Stereo) Khachaturian/Kabalevsky – Masquerade Suite/The Comedians

  1. Listened to the Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto yesterday for the first time, was really impressed; now I’m going to listen to the piece by him I already know in the superb recording quality thanks to you.

  2. When I was growing up in the 60s, there were a handful of albums that you could count on finding in everyone’s LP collection. This was one of them. Dave Brubeck’s Time Out is another one.

  3. Sorry, I was a little delayed from Download to get here.
    I confirm the remarks of Aquaria, above.

    Rach, you outdid yourself in the technical excellence of an already beautiful product.
    Much thanks!


  4. Great music, astounding sound and magnificent a-d transfer! Russian orchestras and conductors regularly perform some of these pieces, like Hachaturian’s Waltz or Gallop and Kabalevsky’s Comedian’s Gallop, as encores. Master Kondrashin has transfered much of the energy and spirit of this music to the musicians and to us listeners. Many thanks Mr. Rachmaninov for this treasure!

  5. Thank you RACHMANINOV for your fantastic work here at this wonderful site. I just noticed that all the FLACs I downloaded again were in MONO sound so I decided to experiment and convert one of them to a .WAV file and low and behold that .WAV file played back in gorgeous Living STEREO sound (I did the same thing with the Heifetz/Sibelius and came out with beautiful STEREO likewise). Evidently it must have something to do with the 96k 24bit FLAC format because all of the 16bit 44k FLACs I download here and elsewhere always play in STEREO. Maybe one of you Tech Heads here can explain this. Needless to say, thank you again RACHMANINOV for providing us with all this wonderful material and keep up the good work.

    • Hi PJ…indeed a strange problem that I never heard before.
      But yourself gave the answear to this problem:
      Converting to wav = stereo.
      This is normally impossible. I mean, if a file is in mono, it is in mono for all times, it cannot be reconverted in stereo.
      I don’t know what it is, but the problem is on your side. Maybe your system is not able to play 24/96 flac files properly so it switchs (?) automatically in mono, this is the reason why 16/44 files are good audible in stereo. 16/44 files are more than 3 times “smaller” than 24/96 files…

      Believe me, I make flac files for almost 3 years (few thousands of records) all the same way and until now, never has someone reported this error.

  6. Dear Rachmaninov, I am afraid I’m coming out of this situation with egg on my face. It turns out that the GOM media player I was auditioning your downloads with lacks the ability to playback 96K 24bit files in STEREO. It reverts to MONO playback. So I downloaded the VLC player and it plays your 96K files in perfect STEREO. As somebody once said “always check the simple things first.” Thank you so much for your quick response to my problems and for all the hard work you are doing to make this site the best Classical Music site on the Web.

  7. fantastic RCA recording, and a wonderful transfer.
    Just wanted to point out that the photos of the label show this is a second pressing, not an original living stereo. Not sure if this matters any.

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