November 27th, 2015
Happy Holidays! As has become a tradition, it’s time to consider an early holiday CD. In 1981, legendary tenor Placido Domingo recorded Christmas with Placido Domingo with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. The album, containing 10 Christmas classics, was released by CBS Records, and the original CDs released in the U.S. and Europe were assigned catalog number MK 37245. Let’s take a look at the original U.S. CD release.
The U.S. issue of Christmas with Placido Domingo shows the label as CBS, but the MK catalog number prefix represents the CBS Masterworks classical music label. This was an early U.S. CBS release by virtue of the statement, “Disc manufactured in Japan by CBS/Sony, Tokyo, Japan” on the inserts. This means that there is a Japanese CBS/Sony pressing that pre-dates U.S. pressings.
As is typical for U.S. CBS titles, the Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of Christmas with Placido Domingo is very rare. Instead, one will typically find a U.S. pressing of some sort (e.g., DADC or Columbia-Pitman pressings of varying vintage). In this post, we will consider a different, unusual pressing of Christmas with Placido Domingo.
The disc featured here was pressed in Japan by JVC. It arrived on shelves after discs pressed in Japan by CBS/Sony. It is estimated that the JVC pressing is from 1985 or ’86, meaning that it coincided with discs pressed in the U.S. by DADC. As noted in this previous holiday post, CBS farmed out production of some CDs to JVC in Japan beginning in 1985 to keep up with demand in the U.S. These Japanese JVC pressings of U.S. CBS titles are generally rare.
The JVC pressing of Christmas with Placido Domingo has “MADE IN JAPAN” printed along the perimeter. It also bears Digitial Identification Code “DIDC 20039”, where the ‘C’ stands for Classical. Japanese CBS/Sony and early U.S. DADC pressings contain “DIDC 20039” in the matrix code, but this does not appear in the matrix code for the Japanese JVC pressing. Rather, the JVC pressing features the catalog number in the matrix code. Specifically, the matrix code on the JVC pressing is “MK – 37245 – A1E21”.
Shown below are the cover and back insert for the U.S. issue of Christmas with Placido Domingo, along with the Japanese JVC pressing.
I hope you all have an enjoyable and safe holiday. Be well!
The cover for Christmas with Placido Domingo (CBS, catalog number MK 37245). Note “Noël avec” (French) and “Weihnachten mit” (German) as translations of “Christmas with” along the top.
The back insert for Christmas with Placido Domingo (CBS, catalog number MK 37245). There is no barcode, which is unusual for a U.S. CBS release. Note the statement, “Disc manufactured in Japan by CBS/Sony, Tokyo, Japan” along the bottom. This indicates that this title was first pressed in Japan by CBS/Sony. The European Label Code in the lower left corner, LC 0149, suggests that this CD may have been released simultaneously in Europe. There is, however, a distinct European issue that was released under the same catalog number (i.e., unique inserts and CD label design).
The Japanese JVC pressing of Christmas with Placido Domingo (CBS, catalog number MK 37245). The disc has “MADE IN JAPAN” printed along the perimeter. The Digital Identification Code “DIDC 20039” printed at 3 o’clock appears in the matrix code for Japanese CBS/Sony and early U.S. DADC pressings. However, the matrix code for this JVC pressing is “MK – 37245 – A1E21”.