The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (closer to M-- to EX++ in parts)*
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (closer to M-- to EX++ in parts)*
- This original Shaded Dog pressing of Rubinstein and Szeryng's extraordinary performances of Beethoven's sonatas for violin and piano boasts stunning Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) Living Stereo sound from first note to last - just shy of our Shootout Winner
- Both of these sides are Tubey Magical, lively and clear, with the kind of three-dimensionality that will fill your listening room from wall to wall that only the best vintage vinyl can offer
- The immediacy of Szeryng's violin is simply in a league of its own, with some of the sweetest, richest, most "rosiny" violin tone we’ve had the good fortune to hear
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*NOTE: This record was not noisy enough to rate our M-- to EX++ grade, but it's not quite up to our standards for Mint Minus Minus either. If you're looking for quiet vinyl, this is probably not the best copy for you.
These Nearly White Hot Stamper pressings have top-quality sound that's often surprisingly close to our White Hots, but they sell at substantial discounts to our Shootout Winners, making them a relative bargain in the world of Hot Stampers ("relative" meaning relative considering the prices we charge). We feel you get what you pay for here at Better Records, and if ever you don't agree, please feel free to return the record for a full refund, no questions asked.
Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in exceptionally clean shape. Most of the will have at least some amount of ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG
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 years to find that many clean pressings.
However, that said, we’ve played dozens and dozens of good violin recordings, and we have no problem recognizing good violin sound when we hear it. Don’t be fooled by the lack of Hot Stamper classical listings on the site. The vast majority of killer classical records never make it to the site; they go directly to our best customers, customers who want classical recordings that actually sound good. Not just the kind of Golden Age Recordings that are supposed to.
This vintage Shaded Dog pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it -- not often, and certainly not always -- but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What The Best Sides Of "Kreutzer" and "Spring" Sonatas Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1960
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren't veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we've heard them all.
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.
Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
What We're Listening For On "Kreutzer" and "Spring" Sonatas
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
- Sonata No. 9 for Violin and Piano in A, Op. 47 ("Kreutzer")
- First Movement: Adagio Sostenuto
- Second Movement: Andante Con Variazioni
- Sonata No. 9 for Violin and Piano in A, Op. 47 ("Kreutzer")
- Third Movement: Finale. Presto
- Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano in F, Op. 24 ("Spring")
- First Movement: Allegro
- Second Movement. Expressivo
- Third Movement: Scherzo. Allegro Molto
- Fourth Movement; Rondo. Allegro Ma Non Troppo
Violin Sonata No. 9 (Beethoven)
In the composer's 1803 sketchbook, the work was titled "Sonata per il Pianoforte ed uno violino obligato in uno stile molto concertante come d’un concerto" ("Sonata for the piano and one obligatory violin in a highly concertante style like a concerto"). The final movement of the work was originally written for another, earlier, sonata for violin and piano by Beethoven, the Sonata No. 6, Op. 30, No. 1, in A major.
Beethoven gave no key designation to the work. Although the work is usually titled as being in A major, the Austrian composer and music theoretician Gerhard Präsent has published articles indicating that the main key is in fact A minor.
The sonata was originally dedicated to the violinist George Bridgetower (1778–1860) as "Sonata mulattica composta per il mulatto Brischdauer [Bridgetower], gran pazzo e compositore mulattico" (Mulatto Sonata composed for the mulatto Brischdauer, great madman mulatto composer). Shortly after completion the work was premiered by Bridgetower and Beethoven on 24 May 1803 at the Augarten Theatre at a concert that started at the unusually early hour of 8:00 am. Bridgetower sight-read the sonata; he had never seen the work before, and there had been no time for any rehearsal.
After the premiere performance, Beethoven and Bridgetower fell out: while the two were drinking, Bridgetower apparently insulted the morals of a woman whom Beethoven cherished. Enraged, Beethoven removed the dedication of the piece, dedicating it instead to Rodolphe Kreutzer, who was considered the finest violinist of the day.
After its successful premiere in 1803, the work was published in 1805 as Beethoven's Op. 47, with its re-dedication to Rudolphe Kreutzer, which gave the composition its nickname. Kreutzer never performed the work, considering it "outrageously unintelligible." He did not particularly care for any of Beethoven's music, and they only ever met once, briefly.
Referring to Beethoven's composition, Leo Tolstoy's novella The Kreutzer Sonata was first published in 1889. That novella was adapted in various stage and film productions, contributing to Beethoven's composition becoming known to the general public.
Rita Dove's 2009 Sonata Mulattica reimagined the life of Bridgetower, the sonata's original dedicatee, in poetry, thus writing about the sonata that connected the composer and the violinist who first performed it.
Violin Sonata No. 5 (Beethoven)
The Violin Sonata No. 5 in F major, Op. 24, is a four movement work for violin and piano by Ludwig van Beethoven. It was first published in 1801. The work is commonly known as the Spring Sonata (Frühlingssonate), although the name "Spring" was apparently given to it after Beethoven's death. The sonata was dedicated to Count Moritz von Fries, a patron to whom Beethoven also dedicated two other works of the same year—the String Quintet in C major, Op. 29 and the Violin Sonata No. 4—as well as his later Symphony No. 7 in A major.
Beethoven initially intended to pair this work with his Violin Sonata No. 4, Opus 23, and the two sonatas complement each other in both key and character. However, the two were not published together and thus have different opus numbers. The reason for the separation is unknown.