Or, How Piss-Poor Engineering Can Nearly Kill A Recording.
Whilst browsing the new releases section of Gramophone a few months back, I spied a new reissue from Vox: a five-pack of Brahms' piano music played by Walter Klien. Hallelujah! I am a big fan of Mr Klien. His Mozart sonata cycle is my favorite, his Mozart concerto recordings are superb (if in rather poor sound), and his Schubert sonata cycle is glorious. So I determined that I should get his Brahms. When I found it at Arkiv for $16, the deal was sealed.
When reading the second-rate liner notes I noticed something unusual. A 'Producer's Note' warns the buyer of the compromised sound quality; it warns that there are drop-outs and distortion during loud passages. Were that only the case. Distortion is basically ubiquitous, at least in the solo repertoire. The second, third, and fourth discs contain the best music