Rajski/PCPO – Beethoven: Symphony No.5 In C Minor Op. 67 (TACET, 180g, German pressing)

# Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
# Vinyl
# Number of Discs: 1
# Format: FLAC
# DR Analysis: DR 14
# Label: TACET Records | L 240
# Size: 24-bit/192kHz (1.15GB), 24-bit/96kHz (657MB) and 16-bit/44.1kHz (169MB)
# Recovery: 5%
# Scan: yes
# Server: File Factory

I’ve often said that TACET can do no wrong. Check out this album and find out why!

And yes, side 2 plays backwards.

From the TACET website:

“Tube Only” means: only tube microphones and amplifiers were used for the recording. For transfer to a digital disc (CD, DVD or SACD) a connection to an A/D- or a DSD transformer must be activated. For the LP, however, (except for rare exceptions, justified for musical reasons) the signal is even stored on a tube tape recorder and then mastered with valve equipment, so that one would be right in saying that for the entire production not a single transistor was used.

We have always been especially pleased to receive so much feedback about our Tube Only productions. This motivates us even more to keep working with this technology and rescue it from oblivion. People have told us that the music sounds warmer, without losing any of its TACET brilliance. The timbres glow more.

We have also heard that people have the impression of a more homogeneous sound, whatever that is meant to be. So let everyone listen to their own hearts and to the Tube Only recordings and feel something special! Even the sheer joy of this slightly nostalgic outstanding technology can be reason enough to like these productions. Yet what would it all be without the wonderful work of the artists!

Further added benefits in production include half-speed – and/or backwards mastering, which TACET have been famous for since their oréloB recording. There are 40 years of vinyl know-how behind this release

Why cut it backwards? Better LP sound!

Unlike a normal LP, the needle is put down at the lead-out groove and moves outwards. Behind this apparent gag is nothing other than the wish to achieve the very best sound possible with the general awareness that music often begins softly and ends loudly. A great pity that this phenomenon is not taken into account when employing the usual cutting technique, for the further the pick-up arm moves towards the center, the more information has to be stored per groove centimeter with a constant revolution speed. The result: with an increasing level of sound, the high notes tend to suffer from distortion.

In order to demonstrate that this undesirable effect can be compensated, the director of TACET, Andreas Spreer, chose to put some of the Beethoven symphonies to the test. The result is unparalleled excitement and brilliant sound, which escalates with every millimeter that the needle progresses along the groove to its final climax.


There has been a surprising number of Beethoven symphony cycles appearing on vinyl, and mostly very fine ones at that. TACET’s set with the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra under Wojciech Rajski is unique among them, claiming to bring out the particular orchestral devices which Beethoven used, and to add clarity and transparency to the sound.

The standard of playing has been exemplary on the entire series, and this one is no exception. The chamber orchestra is close to the size of orchestras which Beethoven would have used, so the balance between winds and strings affords much greater internal clarity than with full-scale modern symphony orchestras.

The Fifth symphony is given a crackling performance, with precise ensemble and a real sense of its drama and ultimate culmination in the majestically triumphant Finale. The depth of tone generated by the players leaves nothing to be desired in a comparison with large symphony orchestras. Rajski realizes that the Fifth is about rhythm just as much as any work by Stravinsky, and he keeps a steady pulse, just a little slower than Gardiner and Van Immerseel, which use Beethoven’s metronome mark.

Some conductors go even faster than this, but the piece is labelled ‘con brio’ and not ‘con fuoco’. Rajski and his band are superbly rhythmic in their playing, and never merely metrical. This Fifth is as exciting and challenging as any I have heard, the famous VPO/Kleiber notwithstanding.

– John Miller, HRAudio.net

Track Listing:

Side One
01 – Allegro Con Brio
02 – Andante Con Moto

Side Two
03 – Allegro
04 – Allegro

Recorded in the Church of Stella Maris in Sopot Poland, 2008
Neumann M 49 and U 47 tube microphones were used for the recording.

Additional info can be found here and here.

Ripping Info:

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
Ortofon Quintet Black S
PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter
RME Hammerfall 9632 ADC

Processing: Sound Forge 10, iZotope RX3

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12 thoughts on “Rajski/PCPO – Beethoven: Symphony No.5 In C Minor Op. 67 (TACET, 180g, German pressing)

    • I haven’t heard all of them, but the ones I have heard are all fabulous. Like everything on the TACET label.

      I’d love to hear the SACD cycle in surround some time. I’ve heard great things about that too.

  1. Fantastic recording. Dynamics and decay to spare and a beautiful full-ranging sound from this chamber orchestra. A very fine version indeed.

    Great rip Steve! The background couldn’t be blacker 😀

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