Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Deutsche Grammophon SLPM 138 714: David and Igor Oistrakh play Bach, Beethoven, and Vivaldi

Deutsche Grammophon SLPM 138 714

Bach: Concerto for 2 Violins and String Orchestra, BMV 1043
Beethoven: Romance for Violin and Orchestra in G major, Op. 40; Romance for Violin and Orchestra in F major, Op. 50
Vivaldi: Concerto grosso in A minor, Op. 3, No. 8

David Oistrakh, violin
Igor Oistrakh, violin
Sir Eugene Goossens, conductor
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Pressing: German, 1970s non-tulip

Condition: NM

Date first published: 1964

Stampers: N/A

Performance: 8/10

Sound: 7/10

Price range: $24-242 (mean $57) on popsike

Comments: The performances on this recording are wonderful.  The father-son duo of David and Igor Oistrakh play two popular Baroque "double" concertos for two violins and string orchestra, and father David takes the solo spotlight in Beethoven's two Romances for violin and orchestra.  The Bach double has plenty of energy, and the slow movement is especially lyrical in the hands of the Oistrakhs.  I found the Vivaldi to have a little less verve than I would've liked, particularly in the third movement, which drags in tempo when compared to the recording of the same work by I Musici (Philips 6768 307).  The Beethoven Romances are lovely; David Oistrakh produces a characteristically warm, singing tone with his instrument.

There are no shortage of recordings of the Bach double.  I've historically favored the 1970s EMI recording with Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, and Daniel Barenboim conducting the English Chamber Orchestra (ASD 2783) for the rich, more romantic tone of the violinist, but I've come to appreciate and enjoy the swifter tempos and lighter textures of some of the more recent historically-informed performances (e.g. Rachel Podger and Bojan Cicic, Petra Mullejans and Gottfried von der Goltz on period instruments; Julia Fischer and Alexander Sitkovetsky on modern instruments).  Though not as widely performed as the Bach, the Vivaldi nevertheless has its share of recordings, my favorite being the one by I Musici on Philips.

As you can see in the photo above, I have a later 1970s German pressing, so I can't comment on the sound quality of the original "blue tulips" pressing.  In spite of the near mint visual appearance of the record, the sound was still plagued by heavier than expected surface noise and intermittent pops and tics.  I can't quite explain it, but I have experienced this problem with a number of other Deutsche Grammophon recordings.  Fortunately, the noise didn't detract too greatly from the music. 


  1. Does your dead wax copyright date of 1964? A later dg pressing should have no noise. They polished there pressings and polished away the high end anf trouble but also on any noise.

    1. And treble for the typo above.

    2. No such copyright date on the deadwax. This was a later pressing, which normally would have quiet surfaces. I listened to a few DG late pressings this evening, and they sounded pristine. A number of the early blue tulips pressings were a bit "dirty" sounding, too.