PHASE FOUR STEREO SPECTACULAR
Decca created Phase Four Stereo in 1961 at the height of the stereo age when the general public wanted to hear music in wide-spread stereo and clarity. They used a 20-channel mixer to focus on particular instruments, and the recordings were welcomed by hi-fi enthusiasts. This new issue is a 40 disk set of many of these issues, all of "pop" music. Conductors include Stanley Black. Frank Schacksfield, Ronnie Aldrich, Ted Heath, Eric Rodgers, Edmundo Ross, and Robert Shaw. Many feature two pianos, one on each side of course. Each of the 40 disks is illustrated with the original LP cover and contains contents of the original LP, and program notes are the same—contents for each LP side are included. And as a result, playing time for these CDS is quite limited, well less than an hour. This very expensive set is no bargain in playing time. Technically, some might enjoy these recordings although there is little dynamic range—everything is just about the same level, and separation is very pointed. I found little of lasting interest in these recordings, although there are some intriguing effects, particularly on the James Bond disk, and those by Edmundo Ross with his varied percussion. Other Decca multi-disk sets are priced much lower. It is difficult to understand why this one is premium price. This site praised a Decca Phasse Four issue of classical recordings, at budget price, and there are many other multiple-CD issues worthy of attention-see our BARGAIN LIST.
R.E.B. (January 2017)