Ernest Ansermet / Suisse Romande - Stravinsky. Petrushka -&- Fire Bird - Decca 1949/1950

Igor Stravinsky:  "Fire Bird"  - suite 1910/1919
Introduction & Dance of the Fire Bird  ~ Dance of the Princesses  ~ Dance of King Kastchei  ~ Lullaby  ~ Finale       WAV  Mega Download
Decca  ACL 78    1960 LP/c.1958 matrix: ARL 1808 -2Dr     
Igor Stravinsky:  "Petrushka"  - Ballet 1911  
Side One:  First Tableau: The Shrovetide Fair   /   Second Tableau: In Petrushka's Room
Side Two:  Third Tableau: In the Moor's Room   /  Fourth Tableau: The Shrovetide Fair (evening)
LXT 2502  +   ACL 31      4 files zip FLAC  Mega Download
L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande  conducted by  Ernest Ansermet 
Decca  LXT 2502    1952 LP/1949 'Wax' matrices: ARL 222 -3AW / ARL 223 -5AW 
Decca  ACL 31   1958/9 LP/1958 matrices: ARL 222 -1Dr / ARL 223 -2Dr    Rec: Oct.1950 (Fire Bird) -&- 29-30 Nov 1949 - Victoria Hall, Geneva
(LXT 2502: CBS EQ / RIAA playback.  ACL 31 has greater 'clarity'/lower distortion (see comments..).  LXT sleeve-note / EMG reviews  >>>



  1. Thank you for this, just a little comment to help you for improve your transfers Col/-10dB EQ is usually related to early FFRR Decca LPs, specially before 1951/52, then you can use the proper FFRR EQ (@450 Hz/-14dB), after 1955 the apropiate option will be use RIAA playback curve. Of course this were manual indication that must be aproved by the ear, and my tips were for dubbing purposes only that you can easily modify with Audacity or with the free Equalizer by Bryan Davis. Sorry for be so technical, and again, thank you for you efforts.

  2. Hello Pablo.
    I think you should have told Decca 'how to improve their transfers' at that time...as this (LXT 2502) is about the best they did for quite some time...

    It is more complicated than you seem to believe (or have read).

    The very earliest Decca (like this) were designed for the US market - with CBS EQ (+16dB treble/-14dB bass @ 10kHz/50Hz).

    Almost immediately Decca's HF pre-emphasis @ 10kHz was reduced from +16dB to the +10-12dB range - until 1954/5: their old HF curve being similar to the new 1955 standard for 78 playback..and with, supposedly, 4dB too much bass over that 1950-1954/5 period if now played RIAA.

    In this particular case (LXT 2502- 1949 'CBS' mastering EQ) it was more appropriate to play-back RIAA - as reducing the treble by 2.5dB (and increasing bass (@50Hz) by 3dB) would not create a 'better' sound as it would not take into account the diminished HF capabilities of the mastering equipment (this applies for some years later..) so RIAA provided a better overall bass-to-treble playback balance..despite what you may think (and which I could easily have corrected for by Audacity re-EQ of the raw file)

    I now sometimes slightly compensate for the <+1.5dB 'dip' between 2-10kHz which affects almost all MM cartridges: however..I used a Decca for this/Desormiere dubs..and that cartridge has a flat/rising treble...

    None of which can 'improve' the inherently higher distortion that can be heard in the 1949 mastering/electronics...though the 1958 ACL transfer is 'too bright' using the Decca cartridge...

  3. hypersausage24 May, 2013

    Will you able be doing Ansermet's Sacre? Thanks for this transfer.

    1. Hello,

      'Deliberately' didn't include it as my '100% mint' original copy of LXT 2563 didn't seem all that 'Hi-Fi' when I last checked it - quite a few years ago (very 'dull' without some [drastic..] re-EQ - see above)- but also have a 'new' stereo SXL of the later version.

      The 'problem' is almost all Ansermet's have recently been put onto Decca Eloquence CD's - and I've the majority of the pre-1963 releases - but have disposed of a few SXL stereos - retaining the mono's (original LXT's /a few ACL reissues, etc) and there are only a few 'dubious' CD transfers (apparently there's 'something wrong' with the current R-K Coq d'Or) - so is it justified in spending time on any - apart from, say, Tchaikovsky 6 / R-K Xmas Eve, etc - as the original mono LXT's (which sound very good) as such mono versions don't then get re-issued on CD ?

      The reason for this was that few (now) will have heard the 1949 mastering - so thought it might be of interest to compare with the current CD / ACL LP reissue, above.

      I might well do the (excellent) LXT version of the 1957 Petrushka - maybe add the mono LXT of the 1955 Firebird - but will need to again check-out that LXT Sacre - as it may not be a 'suitable source' - and I don't have a later mastering of that particular issue..(Decca re-cut much of their older catalogue circa 1956-1958).

  4. I grew up with this recording of 'Petrouchka' as my dad had bought it (in London) in the very early 1950s. I'm interested in your comment about the early Decca LPs being intended for the US market and made with CBS EQ. Is that the same as NARTB EQ which was the setting we used on the Leak amp to play these early releases in the 1960s?

    Thank you so much for these transfers - they bring back memories of a very exciting time.

    1. I've added the EQ statistics given in Percy Wilson's 1957 "The Gramophone Handbook" - which includes NARTB details; but don't think the Leak Varislope (could have used my Leak Point One/Varislope Stereo setup/s, I suppose) actually sounded like this with that knob @ that setting as, from memory, the sound became 'hefty' (not used them for quite some time - though the sound-quality for LP/78 transfers was very good!) .

      The CBS EQ was even used for a 1961 Melodiya mono of I.Oistrakh/Ginzburg in Brahms Violin Son.1/2 (recorded 1960 by EMI) which I 'tried' yesterday - and there was a printed slip advising reduction of treble/increase bass due to the 'different' EQ (the sound is very bright - but most other old/er Russian monos are terribly dull - despite the CBS EQ/RIAA playback!).

      I consider these about the best Decca's - so long as the tape-to-disc transfer wasn't awful, early on; mainly as before 1953 they used the EMI tape-recorder - at 30 inches/second; after they used Ampex @ 15ips -and am sure they lost much 'fine detail/extended HF/dynamics' from then on..

  5. Anonymous27 May, 2013

    I've never actually listened to Ansermet conduct any of these works, but considering I always hear him called a "ballet conductor", I'm assuming these works are a specialty of his. I'll give it a shot. Thank you for the transfers.

    1. Well: I'm not intending transferring The Lot (and have A Lot), but the 1951 LXT 'Sacre' (have just checked) sounds quite OK - but will, possibly, instead upload the original 1957 mono RCA RB Monteux/PCO version - having just listened to much of it (pretty-well-disciplined playing).

      It would be interesting to upload the original mono LP's of Ansermet's 1955 Fire Bird / 1957 Petrushka - but Decca's pressings of that vintage simply take too long to hand-edit; and these are being 'offered' essentially for 'technical comparison' (and presumably someone bought the recent Eloquence CD's ??).


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