This very nice looking Columbia LP has SUPERB SOUND on side two. The violin is much sweeter than on side one and there’s much less distortion during the loud passages. If we were grading this as a Hot Stamper we’d give it about an A+ – A++. And on top of all that, Isaac Stern, never one of my favorite performers, is actually wonderful here. He plays beautifully.
Ormandy is another person who rarely gets the respect he is due, probably because his Columbia recordings sound bad as a rule. This is the exception. The recording is 95% as good as it could possibly be. This is a truly outstanding Brahms Violin Concerto in every way!
Side one is pretty good as well. It’s very lively and the violin sounds great — it sounds like it’s right there in the room with you. The loud passages on this side do suffer from compression distortion. Overall we’d give it about an A.