Schneiderhan/Baumgartner: Vivaldi 4 Seasons (rec. 1959) - DG 135 024 (small tulip label)
Jacket VG / LP EX / German pressing
This superlative LP from Deutsche Grammophon (135 024, English pressing, small tulip label, stereo) features violinist Wolfgang Schneiderhan’s under-rated account of Vivaldi’s 'The Four Seasons' Op. 8 Nos. 1-4, from 'The Trial of Harmony and Invention', recorded on 2 October 1959 in the Grossersaal of the Musikverein, Vienna, with conductor Rudolf Baumgartner and the estimable Festival Strings Lucerne.
Filling out the disc is Vivaldi’s magnificent Concerto Grosso for 2 Violins, Cello, Strings, and Continuo in D minor, No. 11 from “L’estro armonico” Op. 3, in which Scheiderhan is joined by Baumgartner (on 2nd violin and conducting), cellist Claude Starck, harpsichordist Eduard Kaufmann, and the Festival Strings Lucerne – taped on 4 August 1958 at Schloss Klessheim, Salzburg.
Wrote the veteran critic Edward Greenfield in his review for the April 1968 edition of The Gramophone: “A.P. welcomed the original issue of the Lucerne version of the Four Seasons (on a 10-inch Archive disc), comparing it closely with the version from I Musici on Philips, which arrived in the same month. He felt that Baumgartner's interpretation was not quite so picturesque as that of the Italians, but he complimented the group on its alert rhythms and clean, spry playing. One can readily endorse that verdict, and in the bargain field it would be hard to find anything to match this. By now this music has become almost hackneyed (strange fate for any Vivaldi) and Baumgartner's occasionally unconventional tempi (for example the very fast, light account of the first movement of "Spring") certainly make one listen afresh. Any nineteenth-century heaviness could hardly be more removed. The fill-up is welcome too. This Double Violin Concerto (stereo helping the separation of soloists) is of course the piece that Thurston Dart transcribed by turning it into a fourharpsichord concerto. Again there is excellent playing from Baumgartner's Lucerne Festival Strings.”
Incidentally, the front cover art reproduces “The Four Seasons”, a painting by Abel Grimmer (1570-1619, Antwerp).
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the jacket is VERY GOOD. There is a small bend/crush to the upper-right corner, as well as slight bumping at the other corners. There are also a few minor instances of creasing edgewear and a few stray pen marks to the rear panel. However, there are no seamsplits, bends, or other faults, and the whole remains very solid, bright, and glossy – a handsome collector's copy.
The condition of the LP itself is EXCELLENT. Although the surfaces are not perfectly silent, really this is a fine copy and playback is superb, close to NM. If you must have a flawless or NM copy, then please do not buy this LP. Overall, rates as an excellent collector's copy.