Record Labels

The following is a list of the different labels that have produced CDs that are in my collection. The number in brackets represents the number of CD discs or sets I have from the company.

Be sure to visit About This Collection for information about the music samples.

All music examples in this site are protected under the "Fair Use" Section 107 of the Copyright Law (U.S. Code, Title 17).

Sources of "official" recordings

These are the recordings Toscanini approved for release by the license holders.


RCA Gold Seal (GS) "Arturo Toscanini Collection" (71) - This is probably the best quality that we will see for most of this material. In a few cases, the sound on earlier LP releases is still superior (if you can still remember how to make your brain filter out LP defects).

RCA Red Seal (RS) "The Immortal" (12) - Advertised as a UV22 SuperCD Encoding from original sources whenever possible. A decade of new technology since the Gold Seal release was suppose to make "more musical and accurate remasterings." The actual transfers from the masters may have in fact been more musical and accurate, but what was pressed to the CDs is something entirely different. What my ears hear is mild fake stereo and reverb with some additional noise suppression that has filtered the highs and removed the detail from strings. I don't want to give the impression that these transfers are bad or unlistenable. Some of the earlier releases tended to be somewhat bright and if your sound system has some upper end emphasis, which is not uncommon, then you may actually prefer the new releases. This is just a return to the old RCA philosophy that for historic monaural releases to sell, the general public will prefer them with reverb and fake stereo and will not tolerate any residual hiss or noise. Whether they are "musical" is a matter of personal taste, but they are not "accurate".

The opening of Beethoven's 9th on Gold Seal "Arturo Toscanini Collection"

and on Red Seal "The Immortal".

There are a few exceptions where the new release is superior.
The new RS of the Mendelssohn Fifth when set to mono and the treble boosted.
The new RS Schumann Third is in much better sound than the original GS, but the best sound is on the RCA Germany LP.
The new RS Ponchielli "Dance of the Hours" is better.

EMI (4) - Mostly OK sound for their age.

Testament (11) - From RCA and EMI Masters including the telecasts

Sources of quality broadcast recordings

The following three labels are actively making releases or have broadcast performances in their catalogs in generally excellent sound.

Naxos Historical (32) - Some excellent Mark Obert-Thorn transfers and transfers from the collection of Richard Caniell. The Caniell transfers are generally excellent with nothing artificial added and delicate use of noise reduction. At least a few in this series are marred by being transferred badly out of pitch. The Mendelssohn Violin Concerto / Wagner Parsifal P&GFS for example, is pitched 3% fast.

The start of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto on Naxos 8.110817.

Here it is in the correct pitch.

Guild Historical (14) - The Caniell project has moved to this label with again excellent transfers. I am just beginning an analysis of pitch accuracy and have not checked any from this label yet, but none have musically struck me as being very far off.

Music & Arts (21) - Generally excellent transfers with a few exceptions such as the Music of France set, the Sibelius, and the Tchaikovsky.

Other sources of broadcast recordings

The following labels have released one or more discs of varying quality. Some of these labels are still active and others are no longer available. There are additional labels that have issued material but I do not have them in my collection.

American Classics, Opus One (1) - A good transfer of Gershwin.
APR (2) - Decent transfers.
Arkadia (1) - Very nice transfer of 1948 Brahms 2nd Concerto.
Arturo Toscanini Society (1) - OK transfer of unusual Italian material.
AS Disc (2) - Generally decent transfers.
BBC Legends (1) - BBC radio broadcast.
Biddulph (1) - Decent transfer of HMV material.
Dell' Arte (5) - Generally decent transfers.
Disco Archivia - I have not purchsed anything from this label.
DOREMI (1) - Decent job of transferring a bad source of Brahms Violin Concerto.
Fonit Cetra (2) - The Wagner 1952,53 material is well transferred but the 1954 material is in mono and can't compare to the stereo M&A. The Brahms is poorly transferred.
Grammofono 2000 (3) - The Wagner transfer is merely and exact rip of the RCA Gold Seal. The Madison Square Garden concert is heavily reverbed. The Beethoven/Dvorak disc has mild reverb and fake stereo but is not too bad.
Hunt (6) - I have not seen this label in a long time. Generally poor transfers with reverb.
Legato (2) - Decent transfers.
Lys (2) - The Martucci set is probably reprocessed from the old ATS LPs or the same masters and is not bad. The Schubert/Schumann disc is also good.
Melodram (3) - Generally poor sound.
Memories (8) - I have not seen this label in a long time but should be avoided unless you like lots of reverb.
Minerva (1) - A disc of Wagner that sounds like a rip of the RCA Gold Seal with the high frequencies filtered out.
Movimento Musica (1) - Fairly decent transfer of Verdi.
Myto (1) - Decent transfer of first NBC concert.
Pearl (1) - Decent transfers of the early NY Philharmonic.
Palladio (1) - Poor transfer of some French material.
Nuova Era (6) - Generally overly filtered highs.
The Radio Years (5) - Horrid sound with fake stereo and reverb.
Relief (9) - Good transfers with the exception of the Beethoven 1 & 4 which have heavy reverb.
Standing Room Only (1) - rather poor sound of the La Scala 1946 - 48 material.
Stradivarius (2) - Mediocre transfers.
Symposium (1) - Mostly OK transfer of popular favorites.
Urania (1) - Mediocre transfer.