From Analog Tape

Sonatas for Violin & Piano

David Abel, Julie Steinberg

Original Recording Format: Analog Tape
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This is Brahms’s second violin and piano sonata (1879), the first written when he had just turned sixteen, having disappeared and then been recovered; it was finally destroyed by the composer as not worthy. The work has been termed Regen-Sonate (Rain Sonata) because it uses material from two songs, Op. 59, written to the poetry of Claus Groth, evoking the sad past. The raindrop material is present in each movement, especially the third. The overwhelming impression of this tragic work affected Clara Schumann intensely, she writes, over a period of time.

This sonata shows the composer at his most original, still experimenting with form near the end of his life. Debussy writes that the first movement shows “curious evolving, giving the impression of an idea turning around on itself, like a snake biting its tail.” The work is remarkable, as the composer points out, in its joyousness and impetuousness, reflecting nothing of the depression and illness that Debussy was feeling at the time of its writing. Contrary to these, he says, “the spirit breathes when it wishes to.” And further, it shows “what a sick man can write in time of war.” Debussy himself gave the first public performance with the violinist Gaston Poulet at the Salle Gaveau in May 1917, his last public appearance in Paris.

Bartok’s Rumanian collection numbered more than 800 cylinders and over 4,000 songs at the time he wrote these dances. It is amazing to think of the perseverance it must have taken for him to manage collecting trips on the outer rim of the Austro-Hungarian empire during World War I. His letters chronicle some of the difficulties of communication and transportation. Exhaustion followed the last trip.

Julie Steinberg – Piano
David Abel – Violin


Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Major, Op. 78 - I. Vivace ma non troppo
Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Major, Op. 78 - II. Adagio
Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Major, Op. 78 - III. Allegro molto moderato
Violin Sonata in G Minor - I. Allegro vivo
Violin Sonata in G Minor - II. Intermede: Fantastique et leger
Violin Sonata in G Minor - III. Finale
Roman nepi tancok (Romanian Folk Dances)

Total time: 00:47:03

Additional information





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Mastering Engineer

Analog – Bruce LeekAnalog to High Definition DSD Digital Transfer:Bruce Brown, Puget Sound StudiosPuget Sound Studios received the tapes from Wilson Audiophile Recordings, LLC, in a wooden crate. Master Tapes were then catalogued in an excel spreadsheet. Each Master Tape was then inspected, cleaned with an anti-fungal solution, and then a lubricant was applied to prepare the Master Tapes for the transfer process. Approximately 8 of the first 13 reels had to be baked to reformulate the binding. This was done in an incubator at 135 degrees for 24 hours and then they were left to cool back down to room temperature for the next 24 hours. All splices were inspected and repaired, if necessary. 


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A spaced-pair of Schoeps microphones, driving a vacuum tube line-level amplifier, are used to capture a naturally open, and dynamically accurate sonic presentation.


The analog recording was made at 30 inches per second on Wilson Audio’s exclusive Ultramaster™ Recorder, built by John Curl.

Original Recording Format


David A. Wilson

Recording Engineer

David A. Wilson, Jon Skoczylas

Recording location

Mills College Concert Hall

Release DateOctober 25, 2014

Press reviews

The Absolute Sound

Perhaps the most transcendent of David Wilson’s brilliant recordings, this remarkable album of solo violin accompanied by piano comes as close to putting the two performers in the listening room as any ever made.

Recorded on Wilson’s Ultramaster Recorder, built by John Curl, and using a spaced-pair of Schoeps microphones driving vacuum tube electronics, the recording has a close perspective which heightens transparency and engagement as well as wonderfully capturing the beautiful tonality of Abel’s Guarnerius violin and Steinberg’s Hamburg Steinway without exaggerating their size. The duo performs these works as if they are one.


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