Before this all gets too exotic, the crucial question is posed. Just how does it sound? First, we put Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante KV 364 in the CD player. This is a wonderful recording by Kenneth Wilkinson for Decca from 1963, recorded with the Moscow Philharmonic under Kyril Kondrashin. It was digitally transferred from JVC’s master tape and released under the label XRCD. The soloists are David and Igor Oistrakh, father and son. In this recording, the world renowned violinist David Oistrakh has left the violin part up to his son, Igor. He is content here by providing accompaniment on the viola. Russia owns six Stradivarius violins, making them available to the musicians. Not bad!
The interpretation does not necessarily have anything to do with historical performance practice, at that time never a consideration. The Russian soul shines through over and over again, especially in the 2nd movement, Andante. The recording is - as expected by Decca recordings of that time - exquisite. Exposing the tonal difference between the violin and the slightly larger viola is the easiest part for the MIPA. The wooden timbre of the instruments is also reproduced very naturally, one of the most difficult tasks for a hifi system. The soloists are standing far in front of the orchestra, the latter represented as a very detailed body of sound, without decaying into a collection of individual instruments. The Forte passages are reproduced completely without effort and with full force.
Alternative program: The Sermon with Jimmy Smith on the wailing Hammond B3 organ. The Hammond B3 has an incomparable sound due to the generation of an electro-mechanical tone on one hand and on the other hand, the Leslie cabinet. These speakers create a kind of vibrato using two motorized tweeters rotating around a vertical axis. Through Smith, this organ gained incredible popularity in the 60’s, but later, unfortunately also in dentist office music.
In conjunction with the MIPA, it is interesting how the mighty "growl" of the Hammond comes across in the lower and middle registers. Although that really seems to be a strength of the tube amp, the MIPA follows very closely behind. This recording is not necessarily technically insane, and the MIPA immediately makes it quite noticeable that there was some electronic editing done here. The artificial reverb that Rudy van Gelder loved to use is also recognizable right away. This is not natural room reverberation. The original recordings are mono, but back then van Gelder made separate two-track recordings of several different musicians, later mixed together into a stereo recording. That is also discernable with the MIPA. It is also easy to hear that the bass runs do not come from a bass player, but were played by Smith using the organ pedals. Smith’s groove and love of playing is captured incredibly well and also really comes through; it’s impossible to sit still. This is not taken for granted at all, because I have heard this recording elsewhere and it just babbled on.