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EMI

Home to a Select Group of Our Favorite Classical Recordings

  (Item #: allemi) 



We've never been all that hot on EMI's orchestral recordings. We discuss the issue at some length below for those of you who may be interested. An excerpt:

We could never understand why audiophiles revered EMI the way they did back in the '70s. I chalk it up to the limitations of the equipment, bad rooms and poor record cleaning.

EMI Classical Albums with Hot Stampers

EMI Classical Albums We've Reviewed


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Beethoven / Symphonies 8 & 9 (Choral Symphony) - Giulini

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: beethsym8-9_2005) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

SLS 841. Two fairly quiet (for EMI anyway) LPs with BIG SOUND -- the kind of sound this work demands. This is obviously a huge orchestra and chorus. It sure sounds like it anyway. The production is first class all the way. The soloists sound particularly real, surrounded by dozens of other musicians in a big hall. I like the way Giulini plays this as well.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Brahms / Four Symphonies / Boult (4 LP Box Set)

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: brahmfours_5009_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This is an IMMACULATE looking EMI 4 LP Box Set. These recordings have much more presence, as well as beautifully textured strings, unlike many of the typical ’70s mid-hall, vague, cold sounding EMIs that some audiophiles seem to like. (At least they seem to like them much more than I do.) In fact the more I play this set the more I like it. Boult quite a bit of energy to these performances, especially considering his age at the time (he was in his 80s!).

More of the music of Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)


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Haydn / Cello Concertos in D & C / Rostropovitch

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: haydncello_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This is a Minty 1976 EMI British Import LP with very good sound and ENCHANTING music. The vinyl is very quiet. Haydn’s cello concertos are engaging and relaxing at the same time. The sound is quite good for EMI -- it seems to fit this music perfectly (although more top end would have been nice). The tone of the cello is exquisite.

More of the music of Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)


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Holst / The Planets / Boult

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: holstplane_2011) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This 1967 recording of the work has one very special quality that's not often heard on classical vinyl -- THE FEEL OF LIVE MUSIC. This is also something you will not often hear us say about EMI recordings from the late '60s and '70s. (Unlike HP and most audiophiles in the '70s, we find EMI's recordings leave a lot to be desired, lacking in warmth, with a thin, sour, overly clear presentation. Great for muddy equipment but bad news on higher resolution modern rigs.)

Super Hot Stampers on both sides means this Planets can take on any pressing you have of the piece and show you what you've been missing out on all these years.

More of the music of Gustav Holst


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Holst / The Planets/ Previn (2 45 RPM LPs)

Just Awful

  (Item #: holstplane_45) 



This Minty looking EMI 45 RPM Japanese Import 2 LP set with the OBI strip and Little Sign Of Play (LSOP) is widely considered one of the great Planets, but it's not, based on our playing of a copy we had years ago, which means it belongs in our Hall of Shame.

The best copies on British or Dutch EMI vinyl are clearly better than this "audiophile" pressing.

More of the music of Gustav Holst


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Holst / The Planets / Previn / LSO

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: holstplane_emi_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This Beyond White Hot Stamper Planets has Out Of This World sound on side two, where it earned a Four Plus sonic grade for its MINDBLOWING orchestral power, especially from the brass section, a subject we discuss at length below.

This is some of the best sound I have ever heard coming out of my two speakers, if not THE best. Side two of this very copy takes the recording to a level we had no idea was possible. Out of the fifty or so copies of The Planets we've played in the last decade or so, this is without a doubt the best side two of them all.

More of the music of Gustav Holst


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Massenet / Le Cid / Fremaux / City of Birmingham Symphony

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: masselecid_emi_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This is a record that clearly belongs on a Super Disc list; if Harry hadn't already put it there we certainly would have. (We would love to compile a Super Disc list of our own, but unless you have just the right copy of whatever title you find on the list, you may not have anything like Super Disc sound quality, so why a list at all? It creates more problems for audiophiles than it solves.)

More of the music of Jules Massenet (1842-1912)


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Mussorgsky / Pictures at an Exhibition / Muti

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: mussopictu_3645_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This White Hot Stamper EMI Two-Pak gives you the complete Pictures at an Exhibition and the Firebird Suite with TOP PERFORMANCES and SUPERB SONICS from first note to last. It took two separate discs to make it happen, but we managed to find the two copies with sides that matched up in order to bring both of these works to LIFE.

Since this is my All Time Favorite performance of Pictures, this record of course comes very highly recommended. It's a piece of music that has been recorded countless times, and I've played scores of them, but the only one that truly satisfies is Muti's with the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1979.

More of the music of Modest Mussorgsky


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Super Hot Stamper

Paganini / Violin Concertos 1 & 2 / Menuhin / Erede

  (Item #: paganvioli_emi_1910) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • A superb UK pressing with a Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) side one, mated to a very good sounding side two - exceptionally QUIET vinyl too
  • Two of the truly great virtuoso/romantic violin concertos, boasting superb 1961 EMI Golden Age Analog Sound
  • The complete first Violin Concerto on this vintage LP has killer sound, right up there with our Shootout Winner from the last go around
  • It's simply bigger, more transparent, less distorted, more three-dimensional and more REAL than most others
  • The best balance of orchestra and soloist we know of for both works, with sound to rival the greatest concerto recordings we've played
More of Niccolò Paganini's music


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Paganini / Violin Concerto 1 & 2 / Menuhin

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: paganvioli_emi_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

Another remarkable Demo Disc from the Golden Age of recording, in this case 1961, with the benefit of more modern mastering from the '70s, a combination that works wonders on this title, as you will hear from both of these White Hot sides.

The sound is so transparent, undistorted, three-dimensional and REAL, without any sacrifice in solidity, richness or Tubey Magic, that we knew we had our shootout winner with this copy.

More recordings featuring the violin


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Prokofiev / Peter and the Wolf / Young Person’s Guide / Previn

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: prokopeter_2935) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

ASD 2935. Excellent sound.

See more of the music of Sergei Prokofiev


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Prokofiev / Symphonies No. 1 & 7

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: prokosym1_emi_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This White Hot Stamper pressing (on BOTH sides!) contains one of my favorite performances of the Classical Symphony, and it also carries the distinction of having the best combination of sonics and performance that we have ever heard on vinyl. (There is a recording by Previn and the LA Phil from 1986 with a performance To Die For; unfortunately it comes with the kind of mid-'80s tear-your-head-off-digital shrillness that makes the CD medium the worn out joke we analog lovers know it to be.)

More of the music of Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)


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Rachmaninov / The Bells / Previn

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: rachmbells_3284_2008) 



This is a Minty EMI original looking pressing of the famous TAS List title. You will have a very hard time finding a nicer one than this!

Since it is such a famously well-regarded recording we decided to clean it up and gave it a spin. Side one has sweet string tone and a super-extended top end, and it plays very quiet.

Side two is not quite as good; it's fuller but lacks the extension on the top that side one has in spades. It's also quiet at mostly Mint Minus. (EMIs from this period are almost never quieter than that.)

More of the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)


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Saint-Saens / Symphony No. 3 ("Organ") / Fremaux

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: saintsym3_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

One of Saint-Saens' greatest masterpieces finally comes to Better Records with true Demo Disc sound. Huge, lively, spacious, dynamic - both sides earned our top grade of Triple Plus (A+++). What this copy did better than any other was show us just how rich, smooth and Tubey Magical the 1973 sound could be.

More of the music of Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921)


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Tchaikovsky / Capriccio Italien - Boult

Our Shootout Winner from 2007

  (Item #: tchaicapri_boult_2007) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

ASD 3093. EMI Postage Stamp Label LP with DEMO QUALITY SOUND and a performance to match! I can''t remember when I''ve enjoyed these pieces more. The energy of the playing complements the dynamic, powerful and rich sound. A great EMI!

Recorded by the Two Christophers, this record features selections from Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov.

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
.

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Tchaikovsky / Symphony No. 1 ’Winter Dreams’ - Muti

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: tchaisym1_3213_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

Minty looking EMI Postage Stamp pressing with EXCELLENT SOUND and a remarkably energetic and nuanced performance. This is the first recording of this symphony that I''ve ever liked. Muti gets it! And the sound is actually quite good for EMI in this period, 1976. Stuart Eltham is the recording engineer and he is to be commended for getting some real dynamics and power into the grooves of this record.

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)


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Vivaldi - Cello Concertos -- Paul Tortelier

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: vivalcello_emi) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This is a minty EMI British Pressing from 1981 featuring Paul Tortelier on the cello. The sound is very good in the EMI tradition, but even better, the music is WONDERFUL. These Vivaldi concertos are lovely. I was unfamiliar with them, so discovering this music today was a joy. And the vinyl is VERY QUIET. This record plays like it's brand new, which is what it appears to be. The cover is mint as well.

Contains "Concerto in G Minor for Two Cellos" and "Concerto in C for Violin and Two Cellos".

More of the music of Antonio Vivaldi


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Grace Williams / Fantasia On Welsh Nursery Tunes / Groves

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: willifanta_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

Super Hot Stamper sound for this TAS List title, containing the most famous piece for which Grace Williams is known. The sound is BIG and RICH, two adjectives we rarely apply to a '70s EMI. Big maybe -- lots of EMI's are big, but the reason you see so few EMI Hot Stampers on our site is that they are usually big in a vague, phasey way, which is a sound I frankly have never seen the need to take seriously, TAS Listing or no TAS Listing. (Screen speakers tend to sound that way to me, and I've never been a fan of them either.)

But rich -- now that's a sound we do like! It's also not shrill and hard like most EMI's. Instead it's transparent, lively and tonally correct from top to bottom.


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