_Performers – Szeryng

Brahms / Sonatas #2 & 3 / Rubinstein and Szeryng – Reviewed in 2010

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

3S/ 4S RCA Shaded Dog. The sound is actually quite decent when you INVERT the ABSOLUTE PHASE. If you cannot or will not do that, this record will not sound good — it’s somewhat hard and bright. It will never be a Top Shaded Dog but it is a good one with the absolute phase inverted.

This record is third in a series of masterpieces for violin and piano.

Lalo / Symphonie Espagnole / Szeryng / Hendl – Reviewed in 2011

More of the music of Lalo

More Symphonie Espagnole / Szeryng / Hendl

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This is an AMAZING sounding early Plum Victrola pressing, one of the BEST SOUNDING Victrolas we have ever heard — when (and only when) you have a copy that sounds as good as this one does. This is by far the best side two we played, out of the three copies we had on hand, earning our top sonic grade of A+++. This pressing on side two ranks right up there with the best of the hundreds of Shaded Dogs we’ve played. I haven’t had a Shaded Dog of this title to audition in a long time, but I sure don’t remember it sounding like this. 

Musically and sonically this is an audiophile DREAM come true. The orchestration is rich with many colors, calling to mind such audiophile-friendly pieces as Capriccio Italien and Capriccio Espagnol. (more…)

Brahms / Violin Concerto / Szeryng / Dorati – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

More of the music of Johannes Brahms 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

These later Mercury stampers are wonderful: gorgeous woodwinds, a large, full-bodied orchestra and of course a Tubey Magical violin to die for. Both sides earned SUPERB Super Hot Stamper grades (but for very different reasons). The exciting sound is matched by an equally exciting performance by Dorati. Dorati and the LSO pull out all the stops; they’re staking out a position as to just how powerfully and emotionally this work ought to be performed.

The opening is so dramatic — in the style of the First Brahms Symphony — that it’s hard to imagine there is any recording medium that can capture it without a fair amount of dynamic compression. This vintage pressing suffers from a relatively (in our experience) small amount of congestion and shrillness at the opening and elsewhere.

I find it hard to believe that any attempt to record the work would not encounter quite a lot of difficulty with the prodigious dynamic power of the piece. (more…)

Beethoven / Kreutzer & Spring Sonatas / Rubinstein – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

More recordings featuring the violin 

More Beethoven / Kreutzer & Spring Sonatas / Rubinstein 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

This Red Seal may be a reissue, but the sound is absolutely STUNNING on side two. The immediacy of the violin was simply in a league of its own, leaving all others in the dust. Add to that some of the sweetest, richest, most “rosiny” violin tone we’ve had the good fortune to hear, tonality that is as close to perfection as imaginable, and you have yourself one helluva great sounding work for piano and violin. The performances are extraordinary as well, as you might imagine from the likes of Szeryng and Rubinstein.

RCA is famous for its chamber recordings, which tend to be quite rare for some reason. Let’s be honest: we did not conduct this shootout with a dozen copies of the album. It would take us five years to find that many clean pressings. We had exactly three as a matter of fact: a shaded dog, this red seal, and the Cisco Heavy Vinyl reissue of LSC 2577 (admittedly a different recording) from a few years back. (more…)

Brahms / Violin Concerto / Szeryng / Monteux

More of the music of Johannes Brahms 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

DEMO QUALITY SOUND!.

One of the most amazing violin concerto records I have ever heard! Makes most of the Heifetz records pale in comparison. The performance is sublime as well.

When you hear the gorgeous texture of the massed strings at the beginning of this work you know you are in for a magical Living Stereo experience. It only gets better. Szeryng’s violin is as sweet and musical as any I have ever heard. This has to be one of the greatest Golden Age recordings in the history of the world. Its reputation is probably hurt by the fact that it’s so rare that few people have had a chance to hear how good it is.

If you love this work, one of the classics of the violin repertoire, you will be hard pressed to find a better performance with better sound. In my mind, there simply is no competition for this record.

Beethoven Kreutzer and Spring Sonatas – Shaded Dogs Vs. Red Seals

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The Shaded Dog original RCA pressings are the best, right?

Not in our experience. We think that’s just another Record Myth.

In this listing for one of our Hot Stamper 2-packs we compare the sound of the originals (which tend to be crude, veiled, recessed and a bit smeary) with the reissues, which can be awful or wonderful depending on which side of which copy you are playing.

OUR COMMENTARY

This Red Seal Super Hot stamper Two-Pak may be comprised of reissue pressings, late ones even, but the sound is SUPERB. And with a Two-Pak, you get two great sides (just not on the same records of course). The immediacy of the violin was shockingly good; it was Right There, solidly between the speakers, the kind of sound that left the vast majority of pressings we’ve played of LSC 2377 in the dust. (Including the sound on the “bad” sides, which are mediocre at best.)
(more…)