Szeryng: Brahms Violin Concerto - German RCA VICS-1028 (red/silver Telef. pressing)
Jacket VG / LP NM
This fine LP from German RCA Victrola (VICS-1028, German Teldec · Telefunken-Decca pressing, red/silver "Living Stereo" label) features Henryk Szeryng's sovereign performance of the Brahms Violin Concerto in D Major Op. 77, with Pierre Monteux conducting the London Symphony Orchestra – taped in the fabled acoustics of Kingsway Hall 18-20 June 1958. This recording won the Grand Prix du Disque 'Academie Charles Cros'.
Few violinists have scaled this work's Olympian heights nor sounded its exquisite poetry with such equal mastery – a positively glowing reading, that neither Szeryng nor Monteux ever bettered. Szeryng would revisit this work twice in the studio: in 1962 for Mercury, with Anatal Dorati and the LSO, and in 1973 for Philips, with Bernard Haitink and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
There are, in addition, at least 4 extant 'live' accounts: 1961, Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt and the Sinfonieorchester des NDR, Hamburg; 1963, Paul Paray and the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire; 1967, Rafael Kubelik and the Sinfonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks; 1971, Erich Leinsdorf and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. But Szeryng never received finer accompaniment than here, Monteux a warmly empathetic Brahmsian.
Indeed, the great French conductor more than once confessed his preference for Brahms above all other repertoire. 1958 marked the beginning of Monteux's remarkable Indian Summer with the London Symphony Orchestra, an inspired partnership that produced definitive accounts of Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe as well as sunlit Brahms Symphony No. 2 in D Major Op. 73. The sound is of demonstration quality – outstanding on every count.
Incidentally, the liner notes on the reverse side of the jacket are provided in German, French, and English.
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, particularly to the lower-left corner, slight creasing, and mild ringwear/discoloration to the rear panel. However, there are no seamsplits, bends, owners' markings, or other defects and the album remains solid, bright, glossy, and attractive – overall, this is a very good collector's copy.
The condition of the LP itself is near-MINT. Although surfaces are not absolutely silent (and thus I have rated it NM vs. MINT), really this is a very fine copy and playback is truly superb. However, if you must have absolutely perfect surfaces, then please do not buy this LP. Overall, this rates as a very fine collector's copy.