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The disc this recording was transferred from was in remarkably good condition for its age, or at least this was my first impression. Clean, and relatively free of clicks and crackle, it seemed a pretty straightforward task.
However, I had not counted on two scourges of early vinyl - persistent swishing of the vinyl surface, and peak distortion, particularly end-of-side distortion. Correcting or alleviating these problems required a huge amount of work - each revolution of the disc produced a slightly different swish which required individual treatment tailored to its particular characteristics. At times progress was slow - but I believe the results were more than worthwhile.
Despite its age (and the recording date of 1951 is partially speculative, based on lengthy research), the sound quality has held up remarkably well, helped by the XR remastering, and it is truly a joy now to appreciate the delightful subtleties of Mewton-Wood's exquisite performance.
CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11
Noel Mewton-Wood, piano
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
conducted by Walter Goehr
Recorded in Hilversum in 1951
Transferred from Musical Masterpiece Society MMS 35
Restoration and XR remastering by Andrew Rose at Pristine Audio, June 2008
Cover artwork based on a photograph of Noel Mewton-Wood
Total duration: 38:39