Kudos for our 33 1/3 version: “Grade A. The exceedingly rare 1s/1s pressing of this disc has been celebrated and sought after ever since Carol B. Kessler wrote her famous article in TAS on the best RCAs (she ranked the 1s/1s Pines the #3 RCA of all-time). If you don’t have a 1s/1s pressing, you will doubtlessly find this remastering sensational. Since I do have a 1s/1s, I’d have to say that there are aspects of the 1s/1s that are marginally superior to the Analogue Productions reissue — and vice versa. Though beautiful, string tone doesn’t seem quite as silken on the Kassem reissue as it does on the RCA original; on the other hand, the staggeringly powerful bass on “The Pines of the Appian Way” (replete with gong and organ) retains all of its thunder and then some on the Analogue Productions re-pressing with, once again, a fair measure of tape-like ease and authority. (As with The Reiner Sound, the base is a little murky in spots, probably the results of mic preamp overload. In any event that occasional murkiness is also present on the 1s/1s and the Classic reissue.)” — Jonathan Valin, The Absolute Sound.com, June 11, 2013.
A highly sought-after RCA shaded dog Living Stereo title, the performance and sonics found within rate a 10/10. A must have — the dynamics are monstrous! Whichever other Respighi tone poem recordings you ultimately purchase, you MUST own this one. Since the early ‘60s it has been the standard by which all others have been judged, and in terms of both sound and performance, it has never really been surpassed. The final march of Pines is simply incredible: Thundering bass drum, crashing cymbals and gongs, bellowing brass — nobody since has brought the whole thing off with the same combination of excitement and discipline.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Fritz Reiner, conductor