_Performers – Szeryng

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

More Top Quality Violin Recordings

Hot Stamper Pressings of Living Stereo Titles Available Now

3S/ 4S RCA Shaded Dog.

Third in a series of masterpieces for violin and piano.

This is one of the pressings we’ve discovered with Reversed Polarity.

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.

Tchaikovsky / Violin Concerto – Another Dubious RCA

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

Our Favorite Performance of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto

1S/1S Shaded Dog. Ooh, let the drooling begin. 

Here is our admittedly very old review for exactly the one copy we had on hand to play, although, to be fair, we have played more than one copy of the album over the years, and it never sounded especially good to us.

The violin is very immediate sounding on this recording, maybe too much so.

Either way, the sound of the orchestra is where this record falls short.

It’s congested, thin and shrill in places. The right copy of Heifetz’s performance on LSC 1992 is a much better record overall. Some may prefer Szeryng’s way with this famous piece, which, as a matter of taste, is fine by us of course.

If you’re listening for just the performance and the sound of the violin, you may find this record to be more acceptable.

We have a section for Living Stereo records that, like this one, we were hoping would have better sound, and we call it:

Further Reading

Tchaikovsky / Violin Concerto / Szeryng – Munch

A decent reissue, a record worth buying at the right price but no Demo Disc by any means.

This plum label original Victrola pressing is actually better than most pressings of the rare Shaded Dog that we’ve played, LSC 2363. The violin tone is lovely on side one, but the orchestra is not what it should be.

Side two has Tartini’s Devil’s Trill which takes up about half the side and has the best sound here, earning a grade of A+ to A++.

Szeryng is excellent throughout.

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

Hot Stamper Pressings Featuring the Violin

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…)

Brahms / Violin Concerto / Szeryng / Monteux

Hot Stamper Pressings Featuring the Violin


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 – Shaded Dogs Vs. Red Seals in 2010

Hot Stamper Pressings Featuring the Violin

[This commentary was written years ago, not sure if this is still true.]

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.


This Red Seal Super Hot stamper Two-Pak may comprise 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.)

Add to that some of the sweetest, richest, most “rosiny” violin tone we’ve had the good fortune to hear, along with 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.

How They Break Down (more…)