Saturday, August 31, 2013

Columbia SAX 2352 Oistrakh Trio Plays Beethoven's Archduke Trio

Columbia SAX 2352

Beethoven: Archduke Trio Op. 97

David Oistrakh Trio:
David Oistrakh, violin
Sviatoslav Knushevitsky, cello
Lev Oborin, piano

Date first published: 1959

Pressing: ED1

Condition: NM

YAX 211-5
YAX 212-6

Performance: 8/10

Sound: 6/10

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".


  1. Lovely, I've just ordered CFP 40006. I'll report back on whether it has more inspired sonics. I'm sure it will be near the bottom of the upcoming listening pile (skyscraper) given this review, so it may be a while.

    1. Why don't you move it to the top so you can do the quick sonic test?

    2. Because I will have doubles and some times triples on hand of other titles. One must prioritize. This I would only have the one copy.

  2. I've got CFP 40006, British early white square label, stampers: YAX 211-9G, 212-17. My hearing experience is similar to that of your B/S edition mentioned above. Although I admire David Oistrakh so much, this album is a little bit overrated, IMHO. The ASD 2572(Zukerman/Barenboim/Du Pre) is another good choice, either performance or sound effect.

    1. Thanks for your insight, though that's too bad that the CFP reissue hasn't improved on the sound quality. I agree -- the album is overrated and grossly overpriced.

    2. The Du Pre fetches quite a high price. After researching performances I finally went to Popsike for the final say on another Baker's Dozen:
      1. The record under review (I saw no one waxing poetic about this performance.
      2. Beethoven Trio #7 in B Flat opus 97 Archduke/Thibaud Cortot Casals Victor M 92 (this is a 78 and here it is for your listening pleasure (
      4. TRIO DI TRIESTE/archduke/1950's london lpll 599 dario de rosa, piano/renato zanettovich, violin/ libero lana, cello/ (saw no reviews on this one)
      5. ASD 2572 B/W DOG STEREO UK BEETHOVEN ARCHDUKE DU PRE BARENBOIM ZUKERMAN NM (saw little critical acclaim for this)
      6. Beethoven: Archduke Trio, Edwin Fischer, piano, Wolfgang Schneiderhan, violin, Enriko Mainardi, violoncello, live recording 9.8.1952, LO 518 Cetra(1979)
      7. HMV ALP 1184 BEETHOVEN ARCHDUKE HEIFETZ FEUERMANN EX (Perhaps the top performance, also on 78 rpm, and Shaded Dog LCT 1020)
      8. Beethoven Archduke, Trio Hongrois – George Solchany (pf), Arpad Gerecz (Vn), Vilmos Palotai (Vc) DF Stereo 740.006 [Les Discophiles Francais]
      9. Telefunken BLE 14110 - Beethoven "Archduke" Kogan Gilels Rostropovitch ED1 (saw some enthusiasm for this performance)
      10. Westminster XWN 18270 Beethoven "Archduke" trio, Janigro, Fournier, Badura-Skoda
      11. TRIO DI TRIESTE / Beethoven Archduke Trio / DGG Red Stereo SLPEM 136 220 (nice, early DGG)
      12. BEETHOVEN archduke, erzehogs trio BEAUX ARTS TRIO ; holland philips 9500895 stereo lp (well regarded performance)
      13. SUK TRIO BEETHOVEN ARCHDUKE OP.97 DENON PCM AUDIOPHILE LP (some like this and looks like available on Supraphon)

    3. The Casals would be the other top version (the 1929 mono youtube clip)

    4. Thanks for posting that list, Miles. I just found a copy of that Trio di Trieste, DGG red stereo, for $2 and will hopefully review it soon. I'd love to hear the Hoszowski/Vegh/Casals on Philips Hi-Fi Stereo as well as the Kogan/Gilels/Rostropovich on Telefunken (that was remastered on CD as part of a 2 CD set from DG of performances of that same trio of musicians), though I think the latter is in mono, am I right?

    5. I am going to start having a collector's complex if "just" means after my list came out! I'll be eager to hear what you think of that red DGG. Very hard label to find. The Casals is pretty big money, but the mono performance is the revered one. This list for me is something to keep in the back of my mind in case I stumble upon one of the Archduke's. I'll be happy if it worked for you in getting that nice tube DGG.

    6. Haha! No no, I bought it locally from a used vintage store last week, all classical 50% off! The early red tulip stereo DGG's are a mixed bag. Some of them sound nice, but not all of them. I've also found some of their surfaces to be a little noisy, too. I'll report back on the Trio di Trieste.

  3. I've got another Japanese B/S label printed in 1961, stampers YAX 211-1, 212-2 which presents wider sound stage and clearer instrument image than CFP 40006 reissue, but the overall sound quality is absolutely below the average of other SAXs, unfortunately.

    1. Wow, I wasn't aware that there were any Japanese B/S pressings. Do you have many of these? How do they compare to the British B/S pressings?

  4. This OS-3052 the the only Japanese B/S pressing I have.

    My earlist British SAXs are the semi-circle pressings. I think I'll decide to pay for my first B/S soon!

  5. Perhaps the great SAX hunter (aqlam) will lead us to our first kills. I'd hate for the three of us to be bidding on the same LP! I just got over 20 SAX discs in one order (six B&S). I'll have some doubles on pressings too which should be interesting for comparing labels (no triples yet). My big purchase in the B&S was SAX 2341 Falla-3 Cornered Hat/Ravel-Daphnis et Chloe no 2/Alb. Del Gracioso. Giulini/PO, which was well reviewed on this site.

  6. My personal favorite Archduke is still the CBS Istomin, Stern, and Rose Trio recording. Worn out my example, I need to hunt down another and get a nice original.

    1. I have always liked the trio recordings of the Stern-Rose-Istomin trio. I remember listening to them on CD when Sony released the recordings in boxed sets in the early 1990s.