I ordered a number of cd's, which I received two weeks ago. It was the first time that I bought cd's from you. But it will surely not be the last time, as I am very pleased with your restorations of famous performances like those of Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Lipatti and Schnabel. They sound much better than the versions I already owned. I have never experienced Rachmaninov's playing, recorded almost hundred years ago, in this way, as if I'm present in the recording studio. So, thank you for this!
Henk de Regt, Netherlands
YSL 78-001 Rodzinski Vol. 1
I received the order. I started with Scheherazade. My first Scheherazade was my parents' old 78 Rodzinski set. The sound is still in my memory. Your pressing is exactly the same. IF ONLY ALL HISTORICAL PRESSINGS would stop filtering and do what you do. Even Pearl was not perfect. I've never heard a proper pressing of the Schnabel/Sargent set. The closest by far was my RCA Victor LP set of the concertos. Even you can't do everything. Thanks a million.
Laurence Levine, Arizona
I must thank and congratulate you for the Medtner Society transfers. Of course the content is invaluable and wonderful to have. It comes up as fresh as if recorded yesterday. Technically these transfers are just like putting a 78 in excellent condition onto a superb player in ideal conditions (a rare experience) - in other words, you have lost nothing of the original and conveyed the information on the disc with the minimum of interference. That sounds like praise of what ‘hasn’t' been done, but it is actually positive recognition of a superb technical achievement.
Simon Nicholls, London - UK
Thank you for the Horowitz Vol. 6 (YSL 78-201), Rodzinski Vol. 23 (YSL 78-181), and Weingartner Vol. 1 (YSL 78-038).
Coming back to Horowitz in the Chopin Ballade, after hearing it with today's pianists, is to rediscover a world of breathtaking magic and musical significance. Wow! And the sound is quite remarkable, too.
It will be interesting to compare Rodzinski's test pressings against your transfer of his commercial Brahms 1st, but on first hearing, the sound and performance are very good. And yours is the best sound I've heard on the Weingartner Brahms 1st.
Philip Blackmarr, USA
YSL 78-030 and YSL 78-031
Dear Mr. St. Laurent
I just received the two volumes of the Casals recordings of the Bach Cello Suites and they finally sound, to my ears, the way they should sound. I also own the EMI (too filtered) and the Naxos (same). Your transfers are the best of all.
I will be ordering more in the future when the tax man permits!
Again, congratulations. Someone has finally transferred these treasures the way they should be heard.
Best regards, Rod De Cecco
YSL 78-019 Rachmaninov Vol. 1 YSL 78-101 Landowska Vol. 7
The recordings are as splendid and even better than advertised ! The freshness of the sound is phenomenal. These recordings are a treasure.
You know, other CD re-issues of the Rachmaninov sound as if he is playing in the neighbouring room. What you have produced sounds immediate.
I am glad to hear the earlier Goldberg Variations of Landowska, a rhythmically tighter performance than the later recording, with her splendid musically intelligent grasp and alive phasing – human and not at "super"-human tempi (as some artists like to show-off).
Thanks so much!
Best of luck with your enterprise!
I look forward to developments.
Alan Stott, Stourbridge UK
Dear Yves: I guess when Stradivari made each violin he figured " that's good ", and rightly so. But sometimes he must have said " that's very good! ". Anyway, that's how I feel about the Kreisler Beethoven Violin concerto and the Busch Brandenburgs, which I just got today. For years I've known these in all their many reissues, but I have just heard rhythmic and tonal details in the Kreisler I never heard before. As for the Busch: at last! Serkin sounds warm and full, Moyse's trills are so palpable, and so on, which no other transfer has come close to getting. In short, the music is let out of the woolly closets it has been kept in for 75 years. So remarkable!
Thank you, as always.
Karl Schrom USA
As a subscriber of CRC I am reading with great interest in particular the write-ups on historical CDs. After reading in the latest issue on the Ignaz Friedman transfer, I decided to look into your website and was stunned by your offerings. I liked the BBC radio broadcasts, which is a great source of additional knowledge. Now, I am waiting for the CDs to see how different they are from those in my collection (Friedman Pearl, APR + Dante). I am especially keen to hear the result of your none-filtering approach. Hope this is just the first batch of great music.
Thanks for the last shipment. Great music in great quality transfer. Spend half a day just enjoying this music Thanks!
Peter Buescher, Germany
PRO ARTE QUARTET
I have now received the CDs you sent me, for which thank you very much. Having listened to them, I must say that I am impressed with the quality of sound you have achieved - I have one of the Testament issues of some of these Pro Arte recordings, and in my opinion they are definitely inferior to yours. Once again thank you.
Stephen Assenheim, UK
MEDTNER 'S COLLECTION
I received volumes 1 through 3 of your Medtner edition last night. I have heard most of them by now.
I do not need to go back to any selections included "in some other labels to appreciate the difference," as it is immediately obvious, and would be to anyone who knows shellac-to-cd transfers at all. Since, as you say, you "never use any filtering process to eliminate surface noise," you have not eliminated any of the "presence" of the sound, which gives a greater transparency and immediacy that is, to my ear, the "élan vital" of true music listening.
I have always believed that the "newer formats," that is going from shellac to vinyl then later to cd and now to "enhanced" whatever, has been mostly not for "art" but for money. The record merchants want always to expand market share by "dumbing down" the product, homogenizing to make historic more palatable, or force us to replace our collections as new technology "advances." From many years' listening to all these "advancements," it has been my impression that shellac had more vividness and better imaging, or at least the good ones did, than any successor format.
Thank you again!
Recevez mes sincères salutations,
Marc Matzner, Hollywood - USA
Sorry I reply in english but my written french is not so good...I have received the 4 CDs 2 days ago , I have listened to all of them and I wish to congratulate with you very very warmly. I am an old man absolutely crazy about music since about 70 years....I studied piano and composition and harmony coming from a family of professional musicians(my father was prima viola in Torino Rai orchestra and my mother a pianist and choir conductor),and even if in my working life I have been a physicist and manager in the semiconductor field , I never gave up to practise piano and consacrate all my free time to Music. As a consequence of this "maladie", mes maisons include two concert grands(a Steinway and a legendary Grotrian Steinweg 1929 vintage) and 3 assorted uprights, some 6000 music books and scores, some 4500 LPs, over 5000 CDs , hundred of live recordings , DVDs etc, and of course high end Lynn based Hifi s.
I bother you with these details not to boast anything but only to underline that I am not an easy to please auditeur , ma bouche n'est pas facile.... Bien, I do not know how you achieve what you achieve , but especially as all the music you sent me, and with the same interprets and the same dates( except for the Long K 535), I have, and moreover in multiple CDs issues, I assure you that " non c'e' partita" there is no match respect to the others. La profondeur, the perspective of the different piani sonori, the feeling of presence , the absense of that slight sense of flattening artificialite' that is so difficult to achieve in the digital world, is compensating whatever noise that other issues do eliminate "buttando il bambino con l'acqua sporca", on dit en italien. Perhaps the utmost example of all this is in the incredible "Fuga con qualche licenza" of the 106 with Kempff ! Quite apart from the fact that the way He( and no less the others of these discs) play would send all today's piano-machine -gunners , chinese and non chinese, to the nursery school, your transfer has left me haletant et a bouche ouverte ! Perhaps only the 1924 Rachmaninoff's pieces were few angstroms behind.
The Etude en forme de valse and the Saint Saens Concert ? Fantasmagorico. Encore zillions de congratulations , and let me know of any other major issues of yours . In any case i wish you the utmost success.
Guido Zargani Piccardi, Italy
I'm very very thankful to you. I can't hear your wonderful Medtner compact discs without tears in my eyes.
Your wonderful choice of needle and equalization invited Medtner to my listening room.
And I listened to his piano quintet for the first time. I'm thankful sincerely that this was recorded.
I'll be so happy if you continue your work now.
I thank you again and again.
Kenya Mori, Japan
Just got the CDs I ordered from you and want to tell you that they sound just great. For the first time I listen to transfers that manage to sound as my own 78s with the fullbodied sound you get when played through equipment made to reproduce 78s preserving the original dynamics and transient bit.
As I have most of the 78s in the CDs I had from you it is easy to make a comparison. I have, on many occasions, made those comparisons with commercial CDs and records from my own collection and very rarely do they match the impressive sound of the 78s.
More often what you hear are heavily filtered and electronically manipulated items proudly presented as the best you can get. What is really sad is the fact that with these butchered transfers you can do very little to help up the situation by using tone controls. I do not know what kind of equipment you use but the result sounds very similar to what I hear when using my own professional equipment from the 50s.
So to sum things up I am really glad that there is at least one transfer engineer who has got the skills and musical ear to get things right.
Goran Soderwall, Sweden
I haven't listened to the Casals yet, but yesterday in the evening I listened to your YSL transfer of the Rachmaninoff recording of Carnaval, and clearly you have done the best transfer ever of this uniquely great recording, giving it a subtlety and focus I have not heard before from all the many lp and cd transfers I have heard over the years. What a marvelous piano he used for his marvelous playing, too--this is the kind of sound that is now famous as "prewar" Steinway sound, and the whole effect left me marveling anew at this tremendous achievement. I had not realized how fine the original quality was, but then it takes your effort & care to bring that out! Interestingly, the 1929 recording quality is plainly notches above the later 1940 recordings. Anyway, thank you again for this revelation; you are doing great things. I am looking forward to hearing the Bach soon.
Karl Schrom, USA
The Medtner collection
Dear Mr.Yves St-Laurent,
Just thirty minutes ago I received your small packet, and now I have just started listening to Medtner Vol.5. Excellent and superb sound quality!! I am feeling as if Medtner himself were visiting us and playing just for me and my family now. Thanks a lot!! ...
... I listened to all the Medtner recordings you sent, some of which I did repeatedly (over five times indeed!). Especially I have been very, very moved with Medtner's performance of his Piano Quintet, probably released for the first time in public as far as I know. Medtner's musical exaltation in the last part (vol.7, track 12) is enormously impressive that it made me tears. It is really his swan song, full of dignity and glory.
Your art of restoration is superb and the quality always excellent !
Music critic and musicologist, working as professor of musicology in a private university in Tokyo
The Medtner collection
Volume 1 creates a landmark because, amazingly, Medtner's recording of his concerto no.1 has not previously been commercially released on CD. I have heard four audiophile transfers of this work but St Laurent's beats them all. Most of the other pieces have previously been released on CD but the St Laurent transfers are often preferable. I particularly commend volume 5 featuring the unpublished 1930 and 1931 recordings, where the transfers are superior to Appian's from the same source discs; and the famous Schwarzkopf-Medtner recordings in volume 6. If you have the EMI transfers of these songs I would urge you to acquire the St Laurent disc and hear Schwarzkopf's voice in its full glory.
Chris Crocker, Medtner Organisation UK www.medtner.org.uk
YSL 78-000 Sampler CD - YSL 78-010 - YSL 33-015 - YSL 78-022
I was delighted by your discs, which I received yesterday. These transfers are exactly what I've been looking for. The Cortot is overwhelming, the Rubinstein Mazurka is the first time I've heard those recordings transferred such that I can hear what the 78s sounded like: open, sense of room sound, color, much better than the EMI & Naxos transfers. Why do these transfer experts filter and limit the dynamics and color, all in the name of suppressing surface noise, which is not really bothersome at all, and much less important than the color and dynamics?
Anyway, I'll order more of your titles today--I can't wait to hear the whole Saint-Saens with Cortot, the whole of Op. 110 with Fischer... thank you so much for these wonderful productions, which include the fine inserts with the album covers pictured, which I also appreciate! And you may be onto something with your use of black discs--why that is I don't know, but the vividness is just so satisfying. Best to you. I'll keep looking for more things as you issue them.
Karl Schrom, New Haven - USA
Having heard Mark's feature on BBC radio this morning about your transfers, and hearing the excerpt of Cortot/Saint-Saens played , I just wanted you to know how impressed I was with the sound quality. The ear quickly adjusts to the layer of crackle, and underneath this I heard amazing clarity and purity, particularly in the lower and lower-mid frequencies - it was even approaching modern sound quality in some places. I'm looking forward to my sampler, and will no doubt be ordering from you after that!
Alex Demetriou, Norwich - UK
This is announced as "Edwin Fischer, volume 1" by St-Laurent Studio, so hopes are high for further issues.
[ ...] The transfer is so expertly managed that one almost forgets it is a consideration, and Fischer's justly famous Mozart is magical in its crystalline elegance.
Colin Clarke in Classical Recorgings Quarterly (autumn 2010)
YSL 78-001 and 78-012
I received my discs yesterday. I immediately listened to the Rodzinski. It was excellent:
- An unrestricted atmosphere of the hall
- a wallop on attacks
- proper scale of instruments in the well defined space
- deep, tight sound for tympani
- an unabated frisson from the upper partials emerging out of the unfiltered surface noise
No doubt the engineers of the discs deserve credit for what we hear, but you deserve credit for letting the records speak for themselves.
The Koussevitzky is playing now. Good job.
Jim Stavang, Los Angeles
I just listened to the Koussevitzky CD. It is a wonderful transfer, one can clearly sense the acoustics of Symphony Hall and the production values are terrific. I look forward to acquiring more. I hope you are considering a transfer of the Koussevitzky/BSO Beethoven Sixth. Regards,
Ernie Robles, Los Angeles , California
Richter Sofia CD - YSL 33-015
Was out of town for a few days and my CD was waiting when I got home tonight. Amazing work! The sound was unlike any CD of this recital I've heard. And I knew early on I was in for a treat when I could even clearly hear the coughs and sneezes of the audience. Great sound from the piano and your sampler CD is equally impressive! I have quite a few historical recordings and I can't remember recordings as old as some of these are ever sounding as good. I'm also impressed with your ability to lessen the interference of the pops and crackles in your finished product.
I'll definitely be returning for more recordings. Thank you!
Graham Dillard, NJ USA
Congratulations! Your site is enormously impressive. There are a number of fine historical labels, but none can match the quality of your website - very beautifully laid out and user-friendly, and generous (e.g., track samples, etc.).
I think the discs are really superb. I've especially enjoyed the Rodzinski, Edwin Fischer, and Koussevitzky CDs. The Rodzinski/Scheherazade has tremendous presence and body - outstanding transfer work. And one can really hear Fischer's beauty of tone - I've never liked EMI's CD issues of his recordings (Bach WTC; the Mozart was a litle better).
Thanks again for sending me these CDs. They will be a permanent part of my collection!
Joseph Moore, Spain
writer for Classic Record Collector, ...
I just received and listened to the Medtner CD Vol. 1 (YSL 78-004) you sent. You have done a wonderful job, and a real service to Medtner enthusiasts like me!
I compared the Tragic Sonata on your disc to the Appian CD of the same, and the concerto no. 1 recording to that of Nos. 2 and 3 on Testament. Your transfer provides quite audibly greater frequency and dynamic range and is therefore more involving and revealing.
Thank you for the good work.
Ed Schwartzreich, Vermont - USA
«Yves St-Laurent possesses an exceptional ear, that allows him to determine the exact speed, the ideal sound curve of the 78s that he is transferring: through his unique re-centering technique, he is able to obtain an incomparable stability of pitch! The music is delivered in all its fullness, with unequalled clarity and presence, without any kind of filtering of frequencies, that unfortunately affects the great majority of commercial transfers.
For the first time on CD, here is the real sound of 78s, all the music absolutely intact, with all its dynamic range, nuances and harmonics…these are simply the best 78s tranfers I have ever heard!»
Jean-Pascal Hamelin Pianist,
Conductor Artistic Director of the Palexa CD label
«If you are looking for an incredible musical shock, try the St-Laurent Studio 78 rpm transfers. You will experience the unique sensation of real live performance. Yves St-Laurent is a true artist with an uncommon sensitivity for music. He is a craftman jeweller in that field!»
Jean de Ladurantaye Award nominated sound engineer since 1970