About Strauss: Elektra (Speakers Corner) by Richard Strauss:
Richard Strauss was filled with doubt as to whether he would be capable of expressing in music the crazed revenge of "Elektra" after writing his opera "Salome" with its shocking story. It is quite understandable that he had trouble in composing the work, although such difficulties are not in the least evident during the course of the drama or in the musical flow. Drawing on natural sources, the forceful melodies make use of polyphonic, complex motifs and extreme dissonances. Here and there, Strauss’s typical chordal harmonies gleam through, though hardly audible, taking the harsh dissonances and chromaticism to the very extremes of atonality.
Sir Georg Solti, whose outstanding Strauss interpretations constitute the focus of his life’s work, leads the enormous orchestra through the highly complex score and provides his singers with a powerful but finely chiselled sound. Birgit Nilsson personifies an icy-cold Elektra consumed with hatred, and her counterpart Regina Resnik as Clytemnestra is no less extreme in her role. Gerhard Stolze, one of the greatest singers of his time, masters the exhausting role of Aegistheus, and Tom Krause is highly convincing as the determined Orestes. The phenomenal acoustics of Vienna’s Sofiensaal provided an ideal recording venue, and the audible quality of the sung text is excellent – although the final bloodbath can scarcely be expressed in words.
Recording: June, September and November 1966 at Sofiensaal, Vienna, by Gordon Parry and James Brown
Production: John Culshaw and Christopher Raeburn
About Speakers Corner
At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Speakers Corner all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records.
During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s – or employed existant tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.
A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.
We should like to emphasise that Speakers Corner Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle. We have one digital recording in our catalogue (Alan Parsons / Eye In The Sky“), but even in this particular case we used the analogue tapes for cutting.
We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production.
To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects – excluding the exception above – and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.