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Analogue Productions Puts You On The Podium w/Prokofieff’s Lieutenant Kije Suite/Stravinsky’s Song of the Nightingale Reissue

Analogue Productions Puts You On The Podium w/Prokofieff’s Lieutenant Kije Suite/Stravinsky’s Song of the Nightingale Reissue

Posted by Dr. Ryan Oldham (Dr. Oldham is an active composer in Kansas City teaching at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance and Curator of Classical Music at Vinyl Renaissance) on 11th Nov 2014

Analogue Productions And Quality Record Pressings Puts You On The Podium: 

A review of LSC-2150: Prokofieff’s Lieutenant Kije Suite (Op. 60) and Stravinsky’s Song of the Nightingale.

From the very first trumpet solo to the last silvery string tremolo, this record is engaging, polished, and expertly remastered.Short of transporting back in time and standing next to Fritz Reiner during the recording session, I can’t imagine hearing a more natural orchestral sound.

As you've come to expect from all Analogue Productions and Quality Record Pressings records, you'll enjoy the incredibly black quiet of this record.  Before the music starts, or prior to/between movements, the record is free of any distracting pops and ticks.

With any luck, you’ve got your system tuned and ready. You’ll want to crank this recording up to truly enjoy the wide dynamic contrasts.In Prokofieff’s “Suite from Lieutenant Kije” Op. 60”., you’re immediately thrown into a world of quiet trebles. The opening trumpet solo is round and velvety, immediately contrasted by a bouncy arrangement of piccolo, flute, and snare drum. And after a short guttural string tutti, a brass ensemble forte entrance secures your attention with bravado and majesty.

If you’ve listened to an Analogue Productions release before, you know the extraordinary quiet of their pressings and that they’re experts at mastering percussion.The Prokofieff suite really showcases this. I find this particularly true in the complexity of the snare drum, sleighbell, and triangle sounds. Such rich overtones rise off of these percussion instruments that you have to wonder why you never heard them so lovely before. Just one listen to the Troika, and you’ll agree.

Other timbres are treated just as gracefully in regards to overtone. The tenor saxophone solo in the second movement has an amazing amount of depth.And in the Wedding scene, the subtle mixing of tuba and bass drum is full, lively, and charming. The fifth movement is handled wonderfully. The placement of instruments during the mix can make or break the multi-thematic layering of this stirring finale. The music is artfully mastered here and you may find yourself applauding after.

Did I mention I love how full the timbres are treated? How intact the overtone series remains? Nothing puts that to the test more than the early works of Igor Stravinsky. His “Le Chant du Rossignol”, an adaptation from his opera Le Rossignol, showcases unusual pairings of instruments (for the time period), causing his usual clash of instrumental colors. Whether you find this combination exciting or unsettling (or both?), the instruments are presented with wild, true tones.

Again, the percussion treatment is outstanding. The tam tam is smokey and mysterious, ringing with a low, long decay. The celesta (rarely recorded this well in tune, I might add) rings with a kind of precision that makes you question, “Am I sure this isn’t mallet percussion?” Subtler tones, like the harp and E-flat clarinet, seem to find their own space and voice in this thick textured work thanks to this remastering.

More difficult tones seem to jump off the record in a way that is difficult to believe. Muted brass and double reeds are outstandingly realized. Keep in mind, any muted brass instrument is subject to a rearrangement of its entire timbre - overtones included. To hear them presented so “true to life” is difficult to comprehend.

Articulations are sharp and agile, from fast-moving tongued flute lines to sharp brass interjections. All seem to have meat and an appropriate nod to room decay. Pizzicatos are lovingly treated as well, ringing with the entire body of the instrument. Everything from the silvery violin harmonics to the dark, haunting trumpet solo are beautifully presented on this reissue.

Summary:

Truthfully, I do not know if this pressing could sound any better. I haven’t put it up against an original shaded dog with low stamper numbers, so you could argue that those original pressings still sound the best. But folks, you can buy this one on heavy, audiophile vinyl brand new at a cost considerably lower than a used and potentially compromised original press. To me, it is a no brainer. I heard things in this pressing that I didn’t hear before. Seriously, I had to pull out the orchestra score in the Stravinsky! Short of hearing this performance live, I cannot imagine a better presentation.