Mastercuts Review has a thorough review of the Reference Mastercut Series release Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite/The Song of the Nightingale, and considering we are just a few days away from the third Mastercuts Series release, we think it's a great time to share what people think of the first one!

"Reference Recordings Returns to Vinyl With a Bang!"
by Michael Fremer of

"With the advent of high resolution digital downloads and USB DACs, Reference was able to market full resolution, master quality recordings with its HRx series but the company was built upon a vinyl foundation and the folks at Reference always hoped they could find a way back if only...

If only demand returned and if only a reliably quiet pressing plant could meet their needs.

Well, that time is now, with the release of this album (Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite/The Song of the Nightingale) and another one, a reissue of Dick Hyman's From the Age of Swing (RM-1501), which was originally pressed on vinyl back in 1994...

"So in typical Keith O. Johnson fashion, this Firebird plays out on an enormously wide soundstage that you'll experience from a comfortably mid-hall seating position that will allow you to experience the grand sweep of Stravinsky's ballet. You're not going to be watching it, but you might as well be, so evocative is the piece. The rhythms are erratic, the instrumentation and harmonic structure unusual, and the orchestral dynamics explosive. Even if you think you don't iike classical music, you'll be able to pull a film score out of your head listening to this and if you read the annotation that describes what you're hearing, so much the better.

Assuming your system does deep bass, there's a big bass drum hit that will scare the shit out of you and once the adrenalin flows, the piece will snap into focus. It also has the advantage of being a short twenty minute or so ride since this is the revised "suite" version and not the original longer ballet. "The Song of the Nightingale" is equally evocative and short. It's also a gorgeous piece of music...

"As for the pressing, it's a 200g record pressed at Chad Kassem's Quality Record Pressings using the plant's completely refurbished and rebuilt FineBuilt hand press. Yes, these are pressed by hand and the results are incredible. My copy was not "hand selected". It was sealed like all of them.

The opening section is extremely quiet musically—and the first minute or so of a 200g LP is the most difficult to press quietly—yet the copy I got was absolutely dead, black silent...just like Japanese pressed records were back in the "old days."

Highly recommended..." - Michael Fremer,

Read the full review on!

Order RM-1502 Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite/The Song of the Nightingale Securely from Reference Recordings!

And stay tuned for another Reference Mastercuts Series release coming out on Friday!

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