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Mercury Living Presence...the plot thickens!

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  • #16
    Originally posted by regnaD kciN View Post
    So, I decided to spring for the Paray 24/96. While the new remastering can't overcome the sonic weaknesses of Ford Auditorium, it's a huge improvement, particularly in capturing the acoustic. While the CD, for me, gave the impression of the sections almost in isolation booths from each other, here we have a unified soundstage and a sense of the musicians actually playing together.

    I'm still not as big a fan of Paray's reading as some people (read: HP) are, mainly because the Detroit Symphony sounds smaller and not as tonally-secure, particularly in the strings, as the Boston Symphony under Munch or the City of Birmingham Symphony under Frémaux, to name two of its leading competitors, but at least, this time, I can come away from the recording understanding why some might rate it highly, which was never the case from the CD.

    While I was at it, I also picked up the companion 24/96 mastering of Mercury SR90143, with works by Hindemith, Schoenberg, and Stravinsky, performed by the Eastman Wind Ensemble under Fennell. This is one Merc that never got reissued on stand-alone CD or SACD, although I understand it was included as a bonus disc in the third MLP box set. I can only assume that this was passed over because, frankly, the works were considered to be too "modern" and minor to be of general consumer appeal. Be that as it may, it's a simply stunning recording of demo quality, and has immediately found a place on my "top high-res downloads" list. Hearing the results of these two releases, mastered using the Plangent Process and supervised by Thomas Fine, I find myself wishing that the powers that be at Universal would authorize new transfers of all the Mercury titles (it'll never happen, but we can dream). Regardless of the reputation of the previous CD transfers, these are really enough of an improvement to justify a "do-over."

    NIce to see thread revived. Does anyone know whether the remastering continued for the Mercuries? My main issues on my many Mercuries were pressing almost to the label, often noisy vinyl, and being American records, having previous owners who didn't take care of their records.

    Larry
    Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,SoundsmithZephyrII+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Doshi3.0,Merrill Trident Master Tape Pre,Herron VTPH-2A
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    • #17
      Originally posted by astrotoy View Post

      NIce to see thread revived. Does anyone know whether the remastering continued for the Mercuries? My main issues on my many Mercuries were pressing almost to the label, often noisy vinyl, and being American records, having previous owners who didn't take care of their records.

      Larry
      Unfortunately, I haven't seen any others yet. I get the feeling that classical reissues are seen increasingly as a dead-end, unless there's a "big-name" (Karajan, Bernstein, Heifitz, etc.) on the cover.

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