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Hergest Ridge Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.1 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, July 27, 2000
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Hergest Ridge (Part One) - Mike Oldfield
  2. Hergest Ridge (Part Two) - Mike Oldfield


Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 27, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: 1974
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Blue Plate Caroline
  • ASIN: B00004T9AG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,356 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Back in the '70's, not long after RIDGE'S release, my mother let me pick out several gifts as usual, that I could have before the "Santa" gifts that went under the tree. Having played the single version of TUBULAR BELLS to death already, I knew I wanted the album and anything else that Mike Oldfield had done. The beautiful blue-green cover of RIDGE hooked me before I even heard the music, and I picked them both. BELLS entranced me as I had expected, but it was RIDGE that made me an Oldfield fan for life. I am not completely sure what happened to my original vinyl copy, but as of now only a beaten-up cassette version of the original mix remains.
Flash-forward almost thirty years. I have longed for a clear, remastered version of the original album mix, and unfortunately, MO fans, this ain't it. I would hate to believe that it was the composer himself who effectively vivisected his own masterpiece, but if he is responsible, then that is exactly what's happened. Much of the beautiful textures and nuances that made the original mix such a dreamy delight are gone; in the first movement alone, a mandolin solo is truncated, much of Ted Hobart's majestic rendering of the melody on trumpet is gone, as well as Chili Charles' snare drum track, and much of the lush string section is muted or rendered close to non-existence. The rest doesn't fare much better.
For those who have never heard this piece, it's probably fine for you to hear this version, but I urge you to seek out the original if you can find it. For dyed-in-the-wool MO fans and aficionados, be warned: CAVEAT EMPTOR. As of now I have the first CD release as well as the remastered version, and I can tell you the difference right off the bat: technically, the new version has a crisper, clearer sound.
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Format: Audio CD
Despite becoming a No.1 album in the UK, Hergest Ridge remains an often overlooked gem. Sandwiched between two more accessible and dynamic albums (Tubular Bells and Ommadawn) Hergest Ridge is, overall, a quiet pastoral affair that beautifully depicts the idyllic region on the border of England and Wales from where it gets its title. It¡¦s not a piece of music that will immediately grab you but those who persevere will be greatly rewarded, though the thunderstorm section on side two may leave opinions divided.
As pointed out by others, this version of the album is the re-mixed version that first appeared on the Boxed set in ¡¦76. As I own the original vinyl versions of both Tubular Bells and Ommadawn, I can compare the difference and it's mainly with improved clarity and better sound quality. After reading the reviews on this page it is interesting to learn that Hergest Ridge - which I have never heard in its original form - was radically altered. Not only that but it appears that orchestral versions of the album also exist. This leaves me both excited (that these versions exist) and frustrated (that they may never see the light of day). So, come on Virgin how about a double special edition featuring the original mix and orchestral version and give Oldfield fans a real treat.
The re-mastering in this series is uniformly excellent but the cheap booklets and banal liner notes spoil things somewhat. The one nice touch is the formation of the Tubular Bells logo on the spine. To get the full image requires buying the full set, however, and as this would require the purchase of some of Oldfield¡¦s poorer efforts (most notably Platinum and the execrable Earth Moving) my logo will never see completion.
Best bit: the gorgeous 4 minute section from around 8'40".
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was absolutely thrilled last week when I saw that Hergest Ridge was available again in CD format, and I immediately ordered a copy. Much to my dismay when it arrived yesterday, I found this remastered version less than satisfactory. It was like being in the Twilight Zone, where things seem familiar but they're just somehow not quite right! In the process of remixing/digitizing Hergest Ridge, a significant amount of the musical subtleties and tone colors have either been obscured or removed altogether. The homogenous depth and blend of sound present in the original LP release is gone. Instruments stick out it places destroying the perfect balance achieved in the original. Harmonic passages are inappropriately brought to the fore -- extremely out of balance, obscuring main musical ideas in some passages. Since my original copies have been in storage for the last five years, I have not had the opportunity to listen to Hergest Ridge in at least that amount of time. Even so, having been intimately familiar with the piece, I knew right away what was different. To someone who has never heard the original, this remix is probably just fine; however, to those of us who have been fortunate enough to have experienced the musical qualities of the original, not to mention the emotional responses associated with it, the remix simply doesn't hold a candle. I'm not sure what the motive behind this new rendition was, but I would hate to think that it was in response to trendy current technology to clean up pops and hisses in pre-digital aged recordings in order to appeal to the current generation of listeners who don't know any better. In fact, I feel it is a disservice to the new generation to not give them the opportunity to hear a really great work like this in its original state.Read more ›
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