Readers Review Stereophile's Poem LP

In the Fall of 1989, Stereophile magazine released its first recording, of Gary Woodward and Brooks Smith playing flute sonatas by Prokofiev and Reinecke, and a work by American composer Griffes that gave the LP its title: Poem (footnote 1). The full story was published in the September 1989 issue (p.66). We wanted to offer our readers an LP of acoustic music made with the minimum of electronics and processing—the sounds of the instruments would be as true to reality as possible. The images of the instruments were also captured with a purist microphone technique so that, with even a halfway decent system, a true soundstage would be created between and behind the loudspeakers when the recording was played back.

We were pretty sure that we had succeeded in these intentions; confident enough, in fact, that we felt it worthwhile to commission Stereophile's readers to write reviews for publication. In the January and February 1990 issues, therefore, we asked readers to submit reviews of no more than 500 words, with the promise that the six that we consider the best would appear in print. We would also invite the overall winner to be our guest in Santa Fe, while all those whose reviews were published would receive a copy of the Stereophile Test CD and an advance pressing of our next LP, of Brahms piano works including his third Sonata, in f, which we expect to release in July.

Our thanks go to all those who wrote reviews of Poem; with no more ado, here are the winners. As can be seen, the opinions and the styles in which those opinions are presented vary considerably. (You should note that we have, in fact, printed seven reviews: as one of the winning entries was from someone with whom the magazine has a business relationship—he is a well-known hi-fi dealer—we felt that we should extend the number of winners accordingly.)—John Atkinson

Footnote 1: Poem is currently available on CD only from our secure "Recordings" page.—John Atkinson

PROKOFIEV: Sonata in D for flute & piano, Op.94
REINECKE: Sonata in E ("Undine"), Op.167

Gary Woodward, flute; Brooks Smith, Steinway piano
Stereophile STPH001-1 (LP only—CD release is planned for late 1990 (when LA and JA can agree on a digital mastering system that they feel doesn't significantly alter the master tape's sonics). Kavi Alexander, eng.; John Atkinson, Richard Lehnert, Larry Archibald, prods. AAA. TT: 52:38