Columbia SAX 2352
Beethoven: Archduke Trio Op. 97
David Oistrakh Trio:
David Oistrakh, violin
Sviatoslav Knushevitsky, cello
Lev Oborin, piano
Date first published: 1959
Price range: $40-560, mean $265 on popsike
Comments: The David Oistrakh Trio, consisting of Oistrakh on violin, Sviatoslav Knushevitsky on cello, and Lev Oborin* on piano, was formed in 1940 and produced a number of recordings**, including these three stereo recordings for EMI/Columbia: SAX 2281 (Schubert Trio in B-flat), SAX 2352 (this one), and SBO 2753 (Beethoven Triple Concerto, 10" LP). All three of these records are relatively rare and expensive.
This is a fine performance of Beethoven's Trio No. 7, Op. 97 "Archduke". On the front cover of the album, we have depicted the dedicatee of Beethoven's trio, the Archduke Rudolf of Austria, also an amateur pianist and composition student of Beethoven. The photo on the back cover of the album shows the musicians seated apart by at least a few feet; however, spatial separation of instruments on the recording sounded much closer. At times, I wondered if I had purchased a mono record by accident. Overall, the sound is warm but a little dry. For the amount of money which I'd paid for this album, I was hoping for something a little better than this. I guess this is what one should expect for a chamber music recording in early stereo from 1959. If you are interested in checking this album out, I'd advise you to first take a listen to EMI Classics for Pleasure reissue CFP 40006, then decide whether or not investing in the SAX is worth it.
As vinyl alternatives, I would suggest the recordings of Stern-Rose-Istomin Trio (CBS), the Trio di Trieste (Deutsche Grammophon), and the Beaux Arts Trio (Philips). There are several digital alternatives as well. I like the Beethoven trio recordings of the Florestan Trio (Hyperion) and Gryphon Trio (Analekta).
*Interesting facts: Lev Oborin was the winner of the first International Chopin Piano Competition in 1927. He was also the dedicatee of Khachaturian's Piano Concerto.
**Many of these have been reissued on CD as a Brilliant Classics Historic Russian Archives boxed set "Oistrakh Trio Edition".