ORG Announces 15 New London/Decca and Mercury Double 45 Classical Releases

ORG today announced an ambitious London/Decca and Mercury classical release schedule for the 4th quarter of 2013 and 2014.

The 14 titles are:

1. ORG153 BORODIN - Symphonies 2, 3 Ansermet (LONDON CS 6126)

2. ORG157 BIZET Carmen & L'Arlesienne Suites - Ansermet, OSR (LONDON CS6062)

3. ORG159 STRAUSS Also Sprach Zarathustra - Mehta (LONDON CS6609)

4. ORG162 GRIEG Piano Concertos - Lupu, Previn (LONDON CS6840)

5. ORG163 STRAVINSKY Firebird Suite - Dorati (MERCURY SR90226)

6. ORG164 PROKOFIEV Romeo & Juliet - Maazel (LONDON CSA 2312) (3 LP SET TO BE RELEASED AS 6 X45 RPM BOX SET)

7. ORG165 MOZART Piano Concertos - Curzon, LSO (LONDON CS7251)

8. ORG166 MAHLER Symphony 3 - Mehta, Los Angeles SO (LONDON CSA2249) (2 LP SET TO BE RELEASED 4 X 45RPM BOX SET)

9. ORG167 MENDELSSOHN/BRUCH Violin Concertos - Ricci, LSO, Gamba (LONDON CS6010)

10. ORG168 KHACHATURIAN Spartacus - Khachaturian, VPO (LONDON CS6322)

11. ORG169 DEBUSSY Nocturnes/RAVEL Mother Goose - Ansermet, OSR (LONDON CS6023)

12. ORG170 BRAHMS Violin Concerto - Szerying and Dorati, LSO (MERCURY SR90308)

13. ORG171 DVORAK Cello Concerto - Starker, Dorati, LSO (MERCURY SR90303)

14. ORG172 RESPIGHI Ancient Airs and Dances - Dorati (MERCURY SR90199)

15. ORG173 RAVEL La Valse - Paray (MERCURY SR90313)

All titles will be mastered and lacquers cut by Bernie Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering from the original analog master tapes using Bernie's updated mastering and cutting chain.

CarterB's picture

Any favorites in this list? I don't listen to much classical--though I gained an appreciation in college. I've been looking for one or two awesome sounding classical LPs--I have been streaming a few recommended ones to see if the music works for me but haven't found the right match. 

Also, any updates on ORG's Royal Ballet reissue? That seems like a good classical sampler and the sound is supposedly legendary?

Michael Fremer's picture

Yes, The "Firebird" on Merc is legendary both for sound and performance. The "Ancient Airs" is great too. And of course the "Also Sprach...." . The list was pulled from the most popular so you can't go wrong with any of them actually. No word on the Royal Ballet but yes the sound is legendary and stupendous but moreso than the performances, which are okay for the most part but really, that one is the one you play for friends (and for youself) when you want an OMG! moment. Especially if your system goes deep. The Kingsway Hall room rumble is life-like and that sets up the amazing spatial picture...

SimonH's picture

Looking at the list none jump out at me and say buy -  there must be so much choice that you aren't going to please everyone but I would have hoped for something grab.

BTW I am pretty pleased with the new Sony 180gm Vinyl Issue of the 1958 Bernstein/NTP "Le Sacre Du Printemps".

Michael Fremer's picture

Really? The Dorati "Firebird" is superb for one. I think the list is very enticing. BTW: I didn't know Sony issued on vinyl that Rite of Spring... was it done domestically? Licensed out?

SimonH's picture

The "Rite of..." is issued by Sony Masterworks US  - the sleeve says "newly remastered from the original analogue sources" and was cut at Sterling.

As for the "Firebird" I have the Classic and Speakers Corner issues and don't like it enough to buy at 45 - they get pretty expensive by the time they get to the UK.  If it had been the "Rite" then maybe. 

All the best Si

Ptruce's picture

Any word on where they are going to be pressed?  I think that may become rather important going forward with the increased demand at all the plants ...


Michael Fremer's picture

RTI presses all ORG titles.

grey17's picture

I would be interested to know how these compare to the equivalent Speakers Corner reissues.

Jon's picture

Whilst I certainly appreciate new LP releases in the classical market, I have to sometimes question the actual titles chosen for reissue. I am not going to deny that many titles in this selection are both popular and well-regarded, however I cannot help thinking the classical LP reissue market is turning away from the hitherto notion of releasing material that appeals to music lovers who happen to be vinyl-appreciating audiophiles and instead is becoming some sort of pissing competition as to who can produce the best sounding reissue for the umpteenth time.

Take the Mercury Firebird for example (ORG163). The material has already been released twice - once by Classic Records (remastered by both Wilma Mozart-Fine and Bernie Grundman) onto both 33 1/3 RPM and 45 RPM vinyl, and also by Speakers Corner. Now we get a third release of exactly the same material which may or may not use the same quality source used for the earlier Grundman reissue. The Ravel was also reissued by Classic Records with remastering by the same personnel.

It is a similar situation with six other titles. The Borodin (ORG153), Bizet (ORG157), Khachaturian (ORG168), Debussy (ORG169), Dvorak (ORG171) and Respighi (ORG172) have all previously been released by Speakers Corner and in my opinion they are very good efforts indeed.

Not only that, but the Dvorak (ORG171) and the Brahms (ORG170) were also recently reissued by Universal Classics themselves using Wilma Mozart-Fine's digital transcriptions as the source (and they actually sound very good indeed despite the digital source).

The Curzon Mozart (ORG165) was also released onto 200 gram vinyl by Esoteric two years ago using a high resolution digital source, though admittedly that was a very limited edition.

The Prokofiev (ORG164) is also a very odd choice. Surely the original Mercury recording SR90315 was the one to release here. I appreciate that the one chosen is the complete work over what was 3 LPs, but the Mercury recording is a landmark performance and is of extraordinary fidelity - one of Mercury's very best efforts. Not only that, but the one existing analogue reissue of the Mercury (Speakers Corner) is not a particularly good effort, since you are always going to struggle to get 60 minutes of heavy-hitting Prokofiev scored for large orchestra onto a single 33 1/3 RPM LP without significant compromises. This release above any other was the one that would have benefitted the most from the ORG approach of being cut onto 4 x 45 RPM sides. I even wrote to ORG to suggest this title about 18 months ago, so perhaps they think they know better than their loyal customers or are otherwise ignoring them.

Of all the titles listed here, the majority are likely only going to appeal to audiophiles who listen to music principally because they are audiophiles. There will also obviously be some appeal to those who for one reason or another never purchased previous reissues of the same material. For music lovers themselves who are also audiophiles and who only buy vinyl, however, I have to wonder how many of these newly-announced titles are going to appeal. They are going to be considerably more expensive than the existing reissues (except in the case of the reissues by Classic Records) and in my experience - as the owner of all the classical ORG reissues and over 100 Speakers Corner titles - is that the pressing quality of RTI is consistently inferior to Speakers Corner, which in turn is inferior to the pressing quality of the individual titles and sets currently being released by Universal and remastered at Emil Berliner studios by Maarten de Boer (those prejudiced against digital source material need not apply).

The other consideration is that the analogue master tapes are now that much older than they were for the previous reissues and this may mitigate the improvements in the remastering chain.

I am the biggest fan of Bernie Grundman's reissues - I know when I buy one it is going to be a top drawer effort and almost certainly better than anything else that has come before. So I have no doubt in my mind these reissues will indeed sound better than the ones which have come before. But whether this is enough to entice me to spend my limited budget on many of these titles I am not so sure, since I already own most of them (as Speakers Corner and  / or Universal reissues).

I could give these vinyl reissue companies lists of titles that are musically and technically worthy in the Decca and MLP catalogues and yet none of them have ever been reissued (and I have already done so). Perhaps these companies should be listening more to people such as myself who are music lovers first (whilst still being serious audiophiles), who have formal training and practical experience as classical musicians and have almost certainly listened to far more of the original classical recordings over the last 40 years than they have. Sometimes the customers arguably do know better, but so far as these new releases are concerned, I have only ear-marked 4 of them for purchase.