Stereo Spectacular Charles Munch/Boston Symphony vinyl

One of my favorite classical recordings is the "Stereo Spectacular" that is the Charles Munch/Boston Symphony performance of Camille Saint Saens Symphony No 3 in C Minor (also called the Organ Symphony). It is a popular audiophile recording because of the magnificence of both the high- and the micro-dynamics - resulting in a dramatic and enjoyable time.

This particular recording is a technological tour-de-force demonstrating the art of recording. To achieve an optimum soundstage with spectacular imaging, the orchestra left their usual seats and was spread out all over the front half and full width of the Boston Symphony Hall!! Where the audience would normally sit.

The great Symphony Hall organ was separately mic'ed. This resulted in a rather strange soundstage if you have loudspeakers capable of accurately portraying height information. The orchestra was unusually low - like they were playing in a huge pit - with the massed violins far on the left front (and down), the right front had the violas, cellos and basses. Right in the extreme back left, you hear the piano. The woodwinds were spread out all over the center back, overlapping the strings left and right.

On top of this all, overlaid the organ. When the 32Hz note first comes in towards the 2nd third of the first movement, it sounds like a tsunami washing over the orchestra. Quite unexpected, and if you are used to hearing this particular piece 'live' it sounds a little strange.

However, audiophiles will assure you that it sounds spectacular 

I have many pressings of this. The first original pressing (1S/1S stampers) would cost you dearly. The Classic Records Quiex re-issue is excellent and is an excellent alternative. In digital, the SACD can't be beat. You might even be able to find an original 4-track reel-to-reel tape on eBay.

But no matter which pressing, it is a performance I enjoy tremendously. One I've sat through many, many times.

Mono & Stereo friend Gary Koh of Genesis Advanced Technologies, Inc.