Beethoven: Sonata in G Major, Op. 96: Enescu: Sonata No. 3, Op. 25: David Abel and Julie Steinberg

Album review
Beethoven: Sonata in G Major, Op. 96: Enescu: Sonata No. 3, Op. 25: David Abel and Julie Steinberg

David Abel and Julie Steinberg

Beethoven: Sonata in G Major, Op. 96: Enescu: Sonata No. 3, Op. 25

Label: Wilson Audiophile
Media: LP
Genre: Classical

These are the first recordings by David Wilson I have received for review. Listening  to them has provided a distinctly pleasurable but not particularly exciting experience. The performances are quite low key, especially In the Beethoven Sonata. There are no virtuoso pyrotechnics, which is fine. The producer and artists are striving for a warm and intimate chamber-like effect, but the overall result lacks snap and excitement.

They are recorded with a pair of Schoeps microphones at a nearly ideal distance from the instrumentalists. It is moderately close. There is (mercifully) no massive bigger-than·life magnification of the instruments. There is no wiry violin or clangy piano. Everything is rounded, perhaps a bit too much. The sweet, warm, smudgy sound of the violin and cello is quite romantic. The piano is just a bit dull. The instruments do not have a tremendous sense of air surrounding them, but this is in keeping with the intimate atmosphere.

Placement of the instruments is pinpointed and imaging stable. The violin is just inside the left speaker, the piano is located to the center and slightly behind the violin and the cello to the right of center.

Surfaces are good; not outstanding. There was a fair amount of grunge and a few clicks on the Dvorak disc. I have no way of knowing how much playing or abuse they were subjected to before arriving here.* One gets the impression on viewing the grooves and overall project that the surfaces were probably nearly flawless when new. Anyway, they do no present a problem.

All in all, these records provide a very pleasant listening experience.  Musical as they are, however, they do no generate enough excitement on a sonic or interpretive basis.  I would certainly like to hear more Wilson recordings and would especially like to see him apply his obviously sensitive and musical approach to recording a full orchestra.  I might also add that these reviews were down just before deadline, necessitating playing the records in the midst of a typical humid August heat wave which could certainly have a deleterious effect on the sound.

More Info

  • primary artist, David Abel
  • primary artist, Julie Steinberg
  • producer, Dave Wilson
  • LP

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