Acoustic Sounds

Bamberg Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Jakob Hrůša

Dvorak Symphony No. 9 From the New World

Music

Sound

Produced By: Rainer Maillard

Engineered By: Rainer Maillard

Mixed By: Rainer Maillard

Lacquers Cut By: Sidney Claire Meyer

By: Michael Fremer

November 24th, 2023

Genre:

Classical

Format:

Vinyl

The EBS Team Produces Another Explosive Direct-to-Disc With the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra

includes an "encore"

Many a western themed orchestral work ("western" as in cowboys), as well as probably some "eat beef" television commercial music keyed off of Antonín Dvořák's bold Symphony No. 9 (originally called Symphony No. 5 but not getting into that here). The Czech composer began writing it shortly after arriving in New York City on September 26th, 1892, but the set's annotator Alexander Moore makes clear that while the symphony is from the new world, it is not of the new world.

Yet the annotation also notes that the composer explored indigenous music and "memorized the Native American dances and songs" while attending the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. It also notes Dvořák had as a student and college orchestra librarian Harry Thacker Burleigh, considered today as "the father of the spiritual".

A year after his arrival, Dvořák told The New York Times "that the future music of this country must be based on what are called the songs of the Negroes and Indians." How right he turned out to be!

"But leave out the nonsense that I used Indian or American motifs, because that is a lie. I have written only in the spirit of these American folk songs," he told a journalist. Leonard Bernstein, probably in one of his televised "Young People's Concerts" demonstrated that the familiar and grand Largo theme could also be played in a romantic German style or in a Chinese style." Nonetheless, when you listen to side three of this set (the Scherzo-Molto Vivace) as well as hearing the Beethoven shout out, you'll be transported both to a cattle round-up and a walk through the Bohemian woods.

Not that any of this is critical to enjoying the easily accessible piece (it's one of those "if you want a way into classical music try this" symphonies). Nor is having spectacular D2D sound critical to enjoying this sprawling piece, but it doesn't hurt and the sound here is spectacular. Producer/engineer Maillard chose a three microphone set-up: a pair of Neumann M49 for left and right and for the center one a Josephson C700S.

Bamburg set upThe visual and sonic picture from the audience perspective well back in the hall—the microphone placement puts you far further forward:

Bamberg SymphonyThe Direct-to-Disc sound here is as transparent, three-dimensional, and cohesive as recorded symphonic music can be. The microphones have disappeared. Brass sounds bold and and string tonality is rich and well detailed. Woodwinds are equally well-served. Hell, this is just a monumental recording and performance. With no edits possible and everyone playing for perfection, the recording either suffers from boredom due to overcautious playing, or all positive hell breaks loose, and that's what happened here. Side four's Allegro con fuoco concludes the symphony with an exhilarating orchestral explosion—an insistent summation that effectively reprises the entire work. The sound will have you feeling that you were there.

So What's on Sides 5 and 6?

Having completed what the orchestra and conductor thought was a perfectly spectacular concluding take, it decided to reprise an encore it had recently performed following a live before an audience performance of "From the New World", so a fresh lacquer was put on the lathe and side five contains "Waltz Op. 54 No.1" recorded with no rehearsal in a single take.

Side six contains an alternate take of side 3's Scherzo-Molto Vivace, but one the orchestra and conductor felt was second best compared to what's on side 3. Why was it included? Because there's a technical issue with side 3's cut. The timpani beat at the side end was "more intense" than expected so the groove depth had been set too low (obviously there's no "preview head" to guide the cutter head as to cutting depth and groove spacing), resulting in what's called a "tear off", which means during playback at groove 12 in bar 300 the stylus "loses all guidance", resulting in one of three scenarios (all of this is discussed in the full-sized booklet):

1) the stylus (it's called a "needle" in the booklet) immediately "slithers" back into groove

2) the stylus "slides" back into groove 11 when the anti-skating pull strong outward pull. This creates a loop".

3) The stylus "slides" directly into groove 13 if the skating force pulls inward, the result being the final chord of the third movement would go missing.

According to the notes, since the break-off is very short and there's little lateral deviation, the first of the three possibilities above happens "in the vast majority of turntables."

I didn't hear it and I did hear the final chord. I don't think you'll hear it either, but if you do miss getting this limited edition sonic and musical spectacular, you'll hear it from your inner voice: "why did I hesitate to get that?". This is as good as recorded symphonic music gets as far as I'm concerned and Mr. Maillard's finest sounding D2D classical production—not that the others are anything but exceptional. Yes, you'll have go get up a few times to turn over the record but as I like to remind: for many, standing up is a good thing!

Rainier MaillardUh oh! Do I see a "tear-off"?

cutting 45rpmconductor Hrůša

Conductor Jakob Hrůša also wielded the baton for Accentus' previous Bamberg Symphony Orchestra D2D release, Smetana's "Má vlast" now sold out (hint).

About the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra from the notes and website:

The Bamberg Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1946 by German musicians in exile from the former Prague German Philharmonic Orchestra as well as from Karlovy Vary and Silesia. Under its first principal conductor Joseph Keilberth the ensemble quickly established itself as one of Europe’s leading orchestras, having toured the concert halls of the world more than any other German ensemble through 1968 and having been the first German orchestra to tour Asia, Africa, Europe, and the United States after the war.

Keilberth’s successors included James Loughran and Horst Stein. A parade of famous conductors has also helped create the orchestra’s characteristic sound, including Rudolph Kempe, Hans Knappertsbusch, Clemens Kraus, Eugen Jochum, Georg Solti, and Günther Wand. In more recent years the orchestra has been joined by Christoph von Dohnányi, Christoph Eschenbach, Mariss Jansons, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Giuseppe Sinopoli.

You can purchase this set through Naxos or from Accentus

All that's left to do is compare this performance to Istvan Kertesz's with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (the original Decca SXL 2289 will cost you considerably more than this D2D box set, though there's an Esoteric (the audio company) reissue (ESLP-10002) cut "One Step" in Japan using a digital file produced with Esoteric equipment using no limiting, filtering or EQ. I can't imagine it achieves this level of sonic transparency and verisimilitude but I'll find out now.

Music Specifications

Label: Accentus Music

Catalog No: ACC40626

Pressing Plant: Optimal

SPARS Code: AAA

Speed/RPM: 45

Weight: 180 grams

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Source: Direct to Disc Lacquer Cut

Presentation: Box Set

Comments

  • 2023-11-24 01:28:22 PM

    Come on wrote:

    Thanks, ordered!

  • 2023-11-24 03:26:40 PM

    Mark Ward wrote:

    Ordered! I can't wait to hear this. Michael, you paint quite the picture of just how good this is! We all have so much to be grateful for to Rainer Maillard and Sidney Meyer, and the whole EBS team. Now if only other labels (like DG) would start using this d2d technology for the occasional NEW release - like the forward thinking Accentus have.

  • 2023-11-24 04:33:00 PM

    It’s a trap wrote:

    ordered. Dad, why are there less presents under the tree this year? sorry kids, Santa is feeling inflation a bit too. Instead, Santa decided to make a donation to the Human Fund in your name for the sum of 275 dollars.

  • 2023-11-24 06:33:05 PM

    Andrew Curtis wrote:

    Checked my Ma Vlast receipt from 3 years ago. This is about double the price. Is that just inflation?

    • 2023-11-25 01:58:06 PM

      JACK L wrote:

      Hi

      "This is about double the price. Is that just inflation?" qtd A Curtis

      This is a ripoff "inflation", IMO.

      JACK L

      • 2023-11-25 06:08:58 PM

        Michael Fremer wrote:

        8 new copies of Ma Vlast are for sale on Discogs. The least costly is almost $500. So there's that!

        • 2023-11-26 04:15:32 PM

          JACK L wrote:

          Hi

          Yes, Direct-to-disc should always sound better than going thru the AAA tape mastering media. Better sound for higher price ! Can't complain!

          I wish the Direct to Disc Lacquer Cut could be replaced by Disc Metal Cut similar to Teldec first done in 1988. It would sound even much much better!

          JACK L

          • 2023-11-26 08:23:28 PM

            Anton wrote:

            There is controversy regarding the sound of DMM.

            Wikipedia has a summary, interesting thing!

            • 2023-11-27 11:56:36 AM

              JACK L wrote:

              Hi

              "There is controversy regarding the sound of DMM." qtd Anton

              As posted somewhere in TA before, any digital media CD/LP are yet to impress me as much as my AAA old LP collection, including my 40+ original digital mastered LPs, let alone reissues!

              Yet to my sheer surprise, the 1985 EMI digital remasterd LP employing the Teldec DMM technology : "Wagner", performed by Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Herbert Karajan, which I picked up expectedly from my favourite thrift store for a buck only last month, sounds sooo much better than my 40+ digitally mastered LP. Hair-split details, spatially OPEN ! Sounds closest to my AAA analogue LPs though still not yet t there.

              Listening is believing

              JACK L

        • 2023-12-01 08:09:29 PM

          Marc wrote:

          Hi Michael, bought the Ma Vlast today for 275 Euros from ACCENTUS MUSIC GMBH. I asked how many are left and was told approx 6 sets. Kindest Regards Marc

    • 2023-11-25 06:05:21 PM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      I will ask the folks at Accentus

      • 2023-11-25 07:54:26 PM

        Andrew Curtis wrote:

        I ordered. Wasn't double after all, but still a 60% increase. I'll reiterate a comment I made on you Ma Vlast review... this is some damn fine graphic design and typography. I'm not a classical fan, but your review and particularly the design gets me over the line.

  • 2023-11-24 08:15:30 PM

    David MacRunnel wrote:

    Just ordered mine! Thanks for the great review, and I can't wait to hear this one!

  • 2023-11-25 07:46:31 PM

    Marc wrote:

    Very few copies left of ma vlast. The copy I received last week was numbered 1102 / 1111. Sold for 275.00 euros not including shipping and fees. New World sold for 180.00 euros. Email Christin at Accentus to check on Ma Vlast. https://accentus.com/discs/482/

    • 2023-11-25 07:54:56 PM

      Come on wrote:

      Where did you find New World for 180?

      • 2023-11-25 09:47:17 PM

        Marc wrote:

        Direct from Accentus Music. Both sets with shipping and fees totaled 514,55 euros.

  • 2023-11-25 10:26:28 PM

    bill schweitzer wrote:

    less than $200 shipped to US from Grooves.land

    • 2023-11-25 10:33:00 PM

      bill schweitzer wrote:

      $200 + today with the fluctuating euro . 7 in stock. Mine was ordered day of issue. After getting Ma Vlast, I didn't need to wait for a review. Can't wait to hear it.

  • 2023-11-27 04:00:53 AM

    Kim Petersen wrote:

    Would have sprung for this if I didn't have the first version. Sad to - again - see us first movers shafted by re-do's, and yet I'm happy that those who didn't get the first one now get the chance.

  • 2023-11-27 07:04:49 PM

    Thomas Ream wrote:

    I am thankful I follow Tracking Angle! Even though I had a long email conversation with Accentus about sourcing the Ma Vlast (there was a feature in Gramophone on the D2D sessions), I had heard nothing about this until I read this here. Placed my order via Presto Classical immediately. Michael, it would be great if we could hear from Accentus about their future D2D plans. Ma Vlast was a first class production and I am more than willing to continue to support these. Also it would be great to hear if the Berlin Philharmonic has any plans to follow up the D2D Haitink Bruckner 7th. Thanks!

  • 2023-11-29 01:58:57 PM

    James Blast wrote:

    I'm listening to the recording right now. Thank you reviewing this, mr Fremer. I ordered it just a few days ago, after reading your review. It's a great package; the quality is in the playing, recording, production and packaging as well.

  • 2023-12-02 06:45:47 PM

    Jennnifer Martin wrote:

    Ordered. Thanks for the heads-up!

  • 2023-12-17 08:16:17 PM

    Johnny wrote:

    Wow, absolutely stunning. I’m so glad I pulled the trigger on this. Breathtaking dynamics and detail. Very very impressive. Best orchestral vinyl I’ve ever heard.

  • 2023-12-20 11:16:43 AM

    Thomas wrote:

    I just received the second box and again it contains 140 gram LPs. Did anyone get 180 gram LPs?

  • 2023-12-21 11:42:00 PM

    Michael Goetz wrote:

    Ordered and thank you for the heads up and detailed review. Never gone wrong with your recommendations and this piece is perhaps my classical favorite.

  • 2024-01-07 02:58:51 PM

    Thomas Ream wrote:

    I just listened to it. The sound is out of this world, and the performance is what I would call committed and exciting, although you'll never mistake the Bambergers for the BPO, VPO nor the CSO. Hrusa takes the exposition repeat tin the first movement, something that I don't believe is very common. The 3 microphone approach means that all balances are organized by Hrusa and the winds, for example, come up organically through the orchestra and not via spotlighting. I own a number of other 9ths - Kertesz (both the VPO and LSO), Walter, Szell, Kubelik, Fricsay, and others I am sure I have forgotten about but none of them sound anywhere near as good as this. It would be awesome if we could learn about future D2D plans from Accentus. I'm all in.

  • 2024-01-26 10:41:54 AM

    Rudguy66 wrote:

    This is arriving at my house today. I saw this post from Accentus Music after I bought it, but not worried about it. Still, I figured I'd post it here.

    https://accentus.com/a-message-concerning-our-from-the-new-world-vinyl-box-set-vinyl-weight/

    "A MESSAGE CONCERNING OUR “FROM THE NEW WORLD” VINYL BOX SET – VINYL WEIGHT Dear valued customers,

    shortly before the year’s end, a customer brought to our attention that the vinyl records in our direct-to-disc vinyl box ACC40626 “From The New World” were not manufactured as 180g vinyl, as per our order with the pressing plant. Instead, they were produced as 140g vinyl, in contrast to our labeling on the product and our communications with distributors and customers. This discrepancy has affected the entire limited edition of 1,893 copies.

    We are currently awaiting a response from the pressing plant on this matter.

    We have accordingly updated the information on our website, www.accentus.com, and the dedicated webpage, d2d.accentus.com, and have informed the distributors as well. The remaining boxes available for sale will be appropriately labeled on the products.

    You may rest assured that the reduced weight of the pressing does not compromise this product’s sound quality and uniqueness.

    We apologize for the unintentional misinformation resulting from an error beyond our control. We appreciate your understanding, as well as your continued loyalty to Accentus Music and our products.

    Sincerely, Paul Smaczny CEO, Accentus Music GmbH