Post image for Vinyl Review: Stravinsky – The Firebird, Dorati, LSO (Speakers Corner 180g)

Vinyl Review: Stravinsky – The Firebird, Dorati, LSO (Speakers Corner 180g)

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Sound: 9.2
Pressing/Packaging: 9.4
Value: 9.7

Speakers Corner reissue released in 2008. 180g vinyl. Catalog Number: Mercury SR90226. UPC: 4260019714978. MSRP: $35. Buy on

Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird (Complete). London Symphony Orchestra. Antal Dorati, conductor.


As per our review philosophy, we focus reviews here exclusively on sound quality. Lots of analysis out there already of the musical aspects of this fine Stravinsky ballet score.

I compared the Speakers Corner to a still sealed ’70s Golden Imports reissue and a recent Decca 180g pressing. I don’t have an original Mercury, nor do I have a Classic Records on hand. Both are expensive.

Sound: 9.2

At only $20 US new, the Decca is tempting. Unfortunately, my copy sounded like popcorn, making it essentially unlistenable. The other two Dorati LSO Decca titles I got were quiet (Starker Dvorak and Szeryng Brahms), although each had other issues. Those were German pressings, while my Firebird was Dutch.

The Golden Imports is exciting at first, and a bargain at roughly $15 US used. It is transparent and has tremendous mid bass. Timpani whacks at end are HUGE. But overall, the sound is cold, brash and homogenized. The frequency extremes are missing, as are many levels of dynamic and harmonic shadings present on the Speakers Corner.

For $35 US, the Speakers Corner is the one to get. Compared to the Golden Imports, it’s warmer, more resolved and more nuanced. It has more levels of timbral and dynamic gradations, and all the colors of the orchestra are reproduced. It lacks some bass punch, however, and the noise floor might be just a hair more noticeable.

(See reference system for context on sound evaluation.)

Pressing/Packaging: 9.4

Pressing quality on the Speakers Corner is wonderful. Flat, centered, and free from flaws and anomalies. Cover construction, weight and printing are excellent as well. One request, however. I wish reissue companies would remove the text typically included on back covers that often describes the original pressing techniques and replace it with a description of their own. Ideally this would identify the source (always original analog master tapes, right?), equipment, mastering/cutting engineers and pressing plant. Hey, I can dream!

Value: 9.7

If you don’t have a clean original or a Classic Records pressing, skip the eBay madness, and pick up a sure thing with this gem.

Speakers Corner reissue LP on