The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- With two solid Double Plus (A++) Living Stereo sides, this original Shaded Dog pressing of these classical violin performances will be very hard to beat
- It's also fairly quiet at Mint Minus Minus, a grade that even our most well-cared-for vintage classical titles have trouble playing at
- This copy had the balance of clarity and sweetness we were looking for in the tone of the violin, and the orchestra sounds amazing - so rich and full-bodied
- These sides are doing pretty much everything right - they're rich, clear, undistorted, open, spacious, and have depth and transparency to rival the best recordings you may have heard
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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
If you want a recording that is going to put your system to the test, this is that record! That violin is real. The piano is also very well recorded, and the balance between those two instruments on this recording is perfection.
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 Beethoven's "Kreutzer" Sonata and Bach's Concerto For Two Violins 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 1961
- 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.
Learning the Record
For our shootout, we had at our disposal a variety of pressings that had the potential for Hot Stamper sound. We cleaned them carefully, then unplugged everything in the house we could, warmed up the system, Talisman'd it, found the right VTA for our Triplanar arm (by ear of course) and proceeded to spend the next hour or so playing copy after copy on side one, after which we repeated the process for side two.
If you have five or more copies of a record and play them over and over against each other, the process itself teaches you what's right and what's wrong with the sound of the album. Once your ears are completely tuned to what the best pressings do well that the other pressings do not do as well, using a few carefully chosen passages of music, it quickly becomes obvious how well a given copy can reproduce those passages. You'll hear what's better and worse -- right and wrong would be another way of putting it -- about the sound.
This approach is simplicity itself. First, you go deep into the sound. There you find a critically important passage in the music, one which most copies struggle -- or fail -- to reproduce as well as the best. Now, with the hard-won knowledge of precisely what to listen for, you are perfectly positioned to critique any and all pressings that come your way.
It may be a lot of work but it sure ain't rocket science, and we've never pretended otherwise. Just the opposite: from day one we've explained step by step precisely how to go about finding the Hot Stampers in your own collection. Not the good sounding pressings you happen to own -- those may or may not have Hot Stampers -- but the records you actually cleaned, shot out, and declared victorious.
What We're Listening For On "Kreutzer" Sonata / Concerto For Two Violins
- 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.
- Powerful bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- 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 In A, Op. 47 ("Kreutzer") - Beethoven
- First Movement: Adagio Sostenuto
- Second Movement: Andante Con Variazioni
- Sonata No. 9 In A, Op. 47 ("Kreutzer") - Beethoven
- Third Movement: Finale: Presto
- Concerto For Two Violins In D Minor - Bach
- First Movement: Vivace
- Second Movement: Largo Ma Non Tanto
- Third Movement: Allegro
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.
Concerto for Two Violins (Bach)
The Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043, also known as the Double Violin Concerto, is a violin concerto of the Late Baroque era, which Johann Sebastian Bach composed around 1730. It is one of the composer's most successful works.
Bach composed his Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043, around 1730, as part of a concert series he ran as the Director of the Collegium Musicum in Leipzig.
Around 1736–1737 Bach arranged the concerto for two harpsichords, transposed into C minor, BWV 1062.
1734–1738 Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach performed the concerto in Frankfurt an der Oder. After his father's death in 1750, Carl Philipp Emanuel inherited some of the original performance parts, likely doubles, of the concerto (surviving: parts for soloists and continuo), and likely also the composer's autograph score (lost). The extant original parts were later owned by Georg Poelchau [de], and were added to the Royal Library at Berlin (later converted to the Berlin State Library) in the 1840s. After the Second World War they were lost for several decades, eventually resurfacing in Poland.
Manuscript copies of (parts of) the concerto were produced around 1730–1740, in 1760, around 1760, around 1760–1789, and in the early 19th century. The concerto was first published in 1852, by Edition Peters, edited by Siegfried Dehn. In the first volume of his Bach biography (1873), Philipp Spitta describes the concerto as a product of the composer's Köthen period (1717–1723). After describing Bach's other extant violin concertos, those in E major (BWV 1042) and A minor (BWV 1041), he adds:
The D minor concerto is without doubt the finest of the set, and is held in due esteem by the musical world of the present day. Two solo violins are here employed, but it is not, strictly speaking, a double concerto, for the two violins play not so much against one another, as both together against the whole band. Each is treated with the independence that is a matter of course in Bach's style. In the middle movement, a very pearl of noble and expressive melody, the orchestra is used only as an accompaniment, as was usual in the adagios of concertos.
The Bach Gesellschaft published the concerto in 1874, edited by Wilhelm Rust. The Neue Bachgesellschaft reports around 25 known public performances of the concerto in the period from late 1904 to early 1907: most of these in Germany, but also performances in other European cities, including London, Madrid, Paris, Riga, St. Petersburg and Vienna, are mentioned. Outside of Europe, there was for instance the performance by Eugène Ysaÿe and Fritz Kreisler in New York in 1905. In London, Bach's Double became a repertoire piece, for instance regularly performed at the Proms.
After commenting that the "A minor and E major concertos are beginning to win a place in our concert halls," Albert Schweitzer writes, in the 1911 English-language edition of his book on Bach:
The concerto for two violins, in D minor, is perhaps more widely known still. It can be played at home, as its orchestral part can be easily transcribed for the piano. Every amateur should know the wonderful peace of the largo ma non tanto in F major.
Johannes Umbreit's piano reduction of the orchestral score was published by Henle.
Research by Andreas Glöckner, published in 1982, dispelled prior assumptions that Bach would have composed the concerto in Köthen: Bach's extant autograph parts indicate that the concerto was composed in Leipzig, likely in 1730 or the earlier part of 1731. The New Bach Edition published the concerto in 1986, edited by Dietrich Kilian. According to Peter Wollny, writing in 1999, "The Concerto for two violins in D minor BWV 1043 is today one of the best-known and most frequently performed works of the composer, above all by virtue of its soulful, song-like middle movement."
According to Michael Miller, writing for Penguin's Complete Idiot's Guides, the concerto is one of Bach's eleven most notable compositions. In the Rough Guides, the Double Concerto is described as "one of Bach's very greatest works." The BBC website describes the concerto as "one of Bach's best loved instrumental works." According to the British Classic FM website, "the 'Bach Double' is one of the most famous of his works." The uDiscover Music website lists it among ten essential pieces by the composer.