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Is/was this a well known classical label in the States?


I bought a load of cheap and pristine Turnabout (LPs) some time ago and just got round to playing. The SQ on some at least is excellent. Wondering why they don't seem to feature in the accepted top division of labels, at least here in the UK?

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Too variable over the years. Vox started as a full-price label and brought out Turnabout in response to Nonesuch's introduction of a low-priced competitor. Some of the Turnabouts are worthy of consideration but, overall, I was never impressed with either Vox or Turnabout.

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile


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I don't know any of the background but I have a few of these "Vox Boxes" and they are all nicely pressed and are quiet. Good music too! Not a bad one in the bunch. I remember them as being quite reasonably priced...

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Rudy Van Gelder was recording engineer for many of the Vox recordings before moving to Jazz. If they are stamped RVG you know they are his. Occasionally, credit would be given to him on the cover, but that was not guaranteed.


I have a bunch of Vox recordings that I inherited from my wife's uncle when he passed away and I treasure them. They are all good.


"The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought", Sir Thomas Beecham. 



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Although Vox may have originally been a full priced label, I remember buying quite a few in the early mid 60's (1963-67) while in college for $1.98 and the 3 (sometime 4) record sets called Vox Boxes for $4 to $6. This is when full priced RCA, etc. were selling for $4.98 mono/$5.98 stereo.


I believe that Vox was the first label to take on a young Alfred Brendel as a solo artist (he was accompanying others in Decca and EMI recordings.) He did his first complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas and Piano Concerti on Vox/Turnabout. I even still have his recording of the delightful Schubert Impromptus bought 50 or so years ago. The mastering engineer is credited as Rudolph Van Gelder. Another artist featured on Vox was the Brazilian pianist Guiomar Novaes who played Chopin very well.


A couple of Vox Boxes made it to the Absolute Sound Super Disc list - the Gershwin box with Leonard Slatkin, and the Ravel Orchestral box with Skrowacewski. Reference Recordings did a couple of reissues of selections from the latter box. Buying Vox Boxes was a cheap way of getting complete collections of classical music - Like the 5 Boxes of the complete Dvorak Chamber Music, which I still have.


Another great sonic spectacular on the TAS Super Disc List is the Turnabout recording of the Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances and Vocalise with Johanos conducting the Dallas Symphony. Chad Kassem has done a super job in the reissue on his Analogue Productions label (also on the TAS Super Disc list).


In doing research for my Decca book, I found out that Decca even engineered a handful of the Vox Boxes under contract with Vox.


Vox ended up creating a supercheap label called Murray Hill, which were generally compilations in big boxes. Infamously they reissued the complete Furtwangler Ring Cycle (pretty sure it was the 1950 RAI version in mono) on 11 records (IIRC). Normally the Ring takes 16-19 records. In addition to filling the sides to well over 30 minutes each (compressing the dynamic range), they also speeded up the tapes so everything would fit.



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