Vinyl Review: Wagner, Erich Leinsdorf Conducting The LA Philharmonic – Sheffield Lab 7 – Released 1977
Vinyl surface noise: 4+ (not pops and clicks)
Dynamic Range: 5
Stereo Imaging: 4+
Image depth/perspective: 4+
Overall frequency response: 4
- Ride Of The Valkyries
- Prelude To Act 1 (Concert Ending)
- Seigfried’s Funeral Music
- Forest Murmurs
This album was recorded using a single point stereo microphone at the MGM Studios in Culver City, California, where Sheffield Lab built a new four lathe cutting facility. The recording received a GRAMMY NOMINATION.
The day before I reviewed this album I had attended a classical choral and orchestral concert of Beethoven’s Choral Symphony (and others) at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center by the Seton Hall University Choir and the MidAtlantic Opera Orchestra conducted by Jason Tramm. So having just experienced live music I was ready and “primed” to compare orchestral performances. On listening to the recording I quickly concluded, after a few bars of Ride of the Valkyries, that such a comparison was not going to be fair to The MidAtlantic Orchestra. It is only half the size of the LA Philharmonic and the NJ PAC acoustics did not seem over kind to the orchestra. So I calmed myself, and focused on what was to be a tremendous musical performance on disc.
This pressing is the first all orchestral classical work that Sheffield lab recorded and they did an outstanding job of the engineering. The vinyl was also noted as being a heavier weight than any of the earlier pressings. This, however, did not help the vinyl surface noise that only rated a 4 to a 4+. Dynamics are first rate with absolutely no compression, and the image placement of all the orchestral sections sat nicely between my speakers with plenty of depth and perspective of the entire orchestral line up. The studio ambience was immediately evident providing a feeling of openness to the performance.
What I rapidly became aware of was the smoothness of the musical transitions from orchestral section to section and back again, it was just like watching a wave gently roll across the surface of a lake, no breaks, no interruptions and no hesitations. These smooth transitions often being punctuated by climatic musical interludes from the various brass and percussion sections. The level of musicianship was outstanding, and so it should be for an orchestra of this pedigree.
I have absolutely no classical background other than what I hear my wife and daughter playing at home or in concerts, so to musically judge what sounds to me as an outstanding performance would be unreasonable. Acoustically and musically this album sounds excellent to my ears.
If this is your style of music then go get a copy, you won’t be disappointed with either the musicianship, performance or Sheffield Lab’s cutting skills.