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Quality of Mercury LP legal copies from Arkiv?


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#1 of 7 Dennis Nicholls

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Posted July 25 2008 - 01:32 PM

I've been waiting....

and waiting.....

and waiting....

well, you get the picture. I've been waiting for the Mercury Living Presence re-releases of out-of-print recordings of Szeryng's wonderful recordings on SACD. This apparently now will never happen since nobody gives a damn about SACD anymore. Posted Image

The original MLP copies on Redbook CD are also now OOP. Posted Image

Somehow ArkivMusic Classical Music - ArkivMusic has been licensed to make legal copies of the MLP discs on CD-R. I've gone ahead and ordered the Brahms/Khachaturian concerti disc and the Fritz Kreisler samplers with Szeryng since Arkiv only wants $14 per disc and ordering the original OOP copies costs a fortune on E-Bay.

Has anyone purchased these discs from Arkiv? Are they any good? Posted Image
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#2 of 7 Ockeghem

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Posted July 25 2008 - 04:08 PM

My post will not be too helpful to you, but I had some thoughts about Kreisler and others that came to mind when I read your post. Specifically, your post got me to thinking about some other recordings I own on the 'Archiv' label. A couple of the Archiv recordings I have on CD that come to mind are Music of the Crusades and Music of the Gothic Era (both by the Early Music Consort of London, under the direction of the brilliant David Munrow).

One of these recordings is somewhat bastardized as far as content; this is not too unusual, since a 3-LP set is often whittled down to one disc, and as a result, some tracks are omitted. Unfortunately, the cover art is often changed as well when transitioning to CD, as are the liner notes in some cases. These are some of the reasons I continue to use LP recordings in conjunction with CD recordings; that, and also because of the sound of an LP, which I prefer in some cases over that of a CD.

As far as F. Kreisler, I own the Beethoven, Brahms, and Mendelssohn concertos. In my opinion, his phrasing was as smooth as any violinst I've ever heard--up there with Dennis Brain (French horn), Glenn Gould (pianoforte), and Jacqueline du Pré (cello). Another great artist was Louis Krasner, whom I believe recorded the definitive Schoenberg Violin Concerto.

Another collection I sorely want to see make the transition to CD is that of Christopher Hogwood (as a harpsichordist/virginalist). His recording of My Ladye Nevell's Booke of Virginal Music (a 3-LP set) is top-notch, and his playing is virtually flawless. But the last time I checked, it was still not available on CD (the LP label is L'oiseau Lyre).
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#3 of 7 Dennis Nicholls

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Posted July 25 2008 - 08:05 PM

To prevent confusion I guess I should distinguish between the Deutsche Grammophon "Archiv" record label and the online retail store ArkivMusic. This thread is about the latter, which if I understand correctly is based in Pennsylvania.

Quote:
In addition, ArkivMusic has thousands of titles in its ArkivCD reissue program. These are recordings that have previously been out-of-print and are otherwise unavailable.

For more info see press release here ArkivMusic | Press Release 10/1/07 .
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#4 of 7 Dennis Nicholls

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Posted July 25 2008 - 08:19 PM

It looks like ArkivMusic has picked up the licensing rights from L'oiseau Lyre for the OOP Hogwood recordings.

Couperin: Harpsichord Suites / Christopher Hogwood | ArkivMusic
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#5 of 7 Ockeghem

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Posted July 26 2008 - 12:48 AM

Dennis,

Thanks for the 'Arkiv/Archiv' clarification, but it wasn't necessary (at least for me). I checked your link before I posted to be certain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Nicholls
It looks like ArkivMusic has picked up the licensing rights from L'oiseau Lyre for the OOP Hogwood recordings.
Well, this is certainly good news for me. Thank you for digging a bit on that. I should have mentioned that the composer of the work in question is William Byrd. When I searched under his name, I retrieved around ninety albums of keyboard music, and one of these is My Ladye Nevell's Booke of Virginal Music (Farr); I am going to pick this up pronto (which I did this morning). If you (or anyone else) is into renaissance keyboard music, this is one of the finest collections ever written--varied, very contrapuntally-oriented, and a delight to listen to for hours on end.

Incidentally, the description for MLNBOVM suggests that Arkiv does not know about the Hogwood collection, since they appear to say that there are no other complete recordings of the work with the exception of the Farr and Maroney recordings.

Byrd: My Ladye Nevells Booke / Elizabeth Farr | ArkivMusic

When I searched under Hogwood, I retrieved fourty-one entries. The one I am looking for was not there, but given what you've written and what the site is looking to provide, I'm hopeful that the recording will be available one day on a 2-CD or 3-CD set. But I am very pleased to discover the Farr work today. Posted Image

BTW, I was also quite happy to see The Art of the Netherlands (Munrow); this is the lone Ockeghem recording I could find there, but it's a good one. Posted Image

The Art Of The Netherlands / Munrow, Early Music Consort | ArkivMusic
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#6 of 7 Dennis Nicholls

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Posted August 02 2008 - 06:59 AM

Well my two discs came in this morning's mail....

Posted ImagePosted Image

These are the best "bootlegs" I've ever seen. You would have to know that they aren't the real thing ahead of time to spot the differences. They come in what appears to be original packaging! Posted Image The jewel case has the original color cover sheets and a multi-page insert. It bears the original Mercury order number on the spine. The disc itself has a copy of the original artwork although their printer has produced a smudged copy in some places. They only real give-away is the small disclaimer printed on the back cover.

Quote:
Reproduction authorised by Decca Label Group, a Division of UMG Recording, Inc. Distributed by ArkivMusic.

The sound quality is good. I previously owned the LP version of the Kreisler works disc and nothing got lost in the translation.

The Brahms concerto also has a very good recording. The soloist isn't placed too far forward, which may upset some listeners. The recording is amazingly clear, but then again it's a 1962 recording by Mercury. A standout passage: towards the end of the slow movement where the orchestra swells to FF and the strings play pizzicato over the swelling brass. The timbre of the strings is properly wood-boxy (I can't think of a good term to use) and stands clear over the brass. In most recordings this passage becomes mush.

I actually prefer another Szeryng recording of the Brahms concerto: one he did with Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony for RCA....also OOP now.
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#7 of 7 Ockeghem

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Posted August 03 2008 - 04:06 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Nicholls
Well my two discs came in this morning's mail....

Posted ImagePosted Image

These are the best "bootlegs" I've ever seen. You would have to know that they aren't the real thing ahead of time to spot the differences. They come in what appears to be original packaging! Posted Image The jewel case has the original color cover sheets and a multi-page insert. It bears the original Mercury order number on the spine. The disc itself has a copy of the original artwork although their printer has produced a smudged copy in some places. They only real give-away is the small disclaimer printed on the back cover.



The sound quality is good. I previously owned the LP version of the Kreisler works disc and nothing got lost in the translation.

The Brahms concerto also has a very good recording. The soloist isn't placed too far forward, which may upset some listeners. The recording is amazingly clear, but then again it's a 1962 recording by Mercury. A standout passage: towards the end of the slow movement where the orchestra swells to FF and the strings play pizzicato over the swelling brass. The timbre of the strings is properly wood-boxy (I can't think of a good term to use) and stands clear over the brass. In most recordings this passage becomes mush.

I actually prefer another Szeryng recording of the Brahms concerto: one he did with Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony for RCA....also OOP now.
Dennis,

That's wonderful. Enjoy those excellent recordings. My Byrd CD (a 3-CD set) arrived three or four days ago. The service was very quick, and the item arrived in excellent shape.

And another thanks for alerting me to the Arkiv site. I love the Elizabeth Farr recording of Byrd's My Ladye Nevell's Booke. It's every bit as good as the review of it on their site said it would be. And the liner notes (by Farr herself) as well as the link for the instruments rebuilt for the recording are an added bonus. I plan on visiting that site to see what models are available for sale. Posted Image
ockeghem2.jpg

 


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