Schneiderhan/Kempen: Beethoven Op. 61 - Eterna 820 005, superb issue
Jacket VG / LP EX / German pressing
This outstanding LP from Eterna (820 005, thick East German pressing, blue label, mono) features the great Wolfgang Schneiderhan in the second of his four recordings of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major Op. 61, here accompanied by Paul van Kempen and what was then perhaps the finest orchestra on earth, Furtwangler’s Berlin Philharmonic.
It would be a mistake to automatically bypass this East German issue in favor of the more familiar “yellow label” original. There early Eterna pressings are truly outstanding, with “richly dynamic open mono, one to play to the non-believers” (Volker Müller).
Schneiderhan’s famous stereo re-make with Jochum, as well as the ‘live’ broadcast with Furtwangler, have greatly overshadowed this ‘middle’ reading, and its relative neglect against the near-continuous showing of Menuhin’s near-contemporaneous EMI account with Furtwangler is difficult to reconcile, given the remarkable playing heard here.
van Kempen left a slender, but magnificent Beethoven discography, that includes positively Wagnerian accounts of the ‘Eroica’ and the Symphonies Nos. 7 & 8. His collaboration with Kempff in the Piano Concertos is well-known, but the equally inspired accompaniment he draws from the BPO here for Schneiderhan leaves no doubt that he was among the 20th Century’s most powerful interpreters of Beethoven. In short, this is one of the great Beethoven Violin Concerto performances on record.
Recorded in the rich acoustics of Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin-Dahlem during 17-21 May 1953 (producer: Elsa Schiller / engineers: Wolfang Lohse and Alfred Steinke), DG provided an ideal soundstage for Schneiderhan, never balancing him too closely, yet reproducing his distinctive timbre with absolute fidelity, his accompaniments superbly balanced.
Incidentally, the liner notes on the reverse side of the jacket, provided in German only, were written by Wolfram Schwinger.
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 bumping/wear at corners, as well as general edgewear and a small bit of writing to the rear panel. However, there are no bends, seamsplits, or other defects, and the album remains solid, bright, and very attractive – overall, a very good collector's copy.
The condition of the LP itself is EXCELLENT. The surfaces are not always CD silent, but in general the playback is magificent – overall, this is an excellent collector's copy.