Janaki String Trio's Young Beethoven  Is Musical and Sonic Gold

In this, the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birthday, Yarlung Records offers a recording worthy of the master, a delectation from the Janaki String Trio that was originally recorded in 2006 in Zipper Hall. The sonics are as inviting as the playing.

With mastering engineers Steve Hoffmann and Bob Attiyeh as well as Bernie Grundman performing the 45 RPM vinyl cutting, this recording of the Beethoven String Trio in C Minor, an early work composed in 1797, was in very good hands, and it shows. Even Beethoven, who liked to take occasional shots at the performers of his works by noting that they were mere drones expressing his genius, might have been impressed by the rich and warm and transparent sound of this album, one that is pretty much guaranteed to satisfy all but the most curmudgeonly of listeners. To paraphrase the venerable Dr. Johnson, if you’re tired of this music, then you’re tired of life.

One of the most delightful aspects of this album is the supremely self-assured emplacement of the violin, viola and cello in their respective positions in the soundstage. You might think that Yarlung’s employment of a single AKG C-24 tube stereo microphone would render it difficult to follow each separate instrument as it coheres into an ensemble, but nothing of the kind occurs. There is no smearing, no blurring, no nothing to interfere with your enjoyment of the music. Arnold Choi’s impassioned cello playing comes through splendidly and Serena McKinney’s violin work is nuanced and absorbing, not to mention the viola playing of Karie Kadarauch which is enticingly resonant.

This crack ensemble was in its matutinal hours during this performance, but it remains a treat to listen to this recording. Yarlung, you could even say, with this LP has hit a hole in one.

mraudioguru's picture

...for my new word of the day! "Matutinal". Had to look that one up. Great review.

TapeTech's picture

Yarlung also offers this recording on open-reel tape (2 track, 15 ips).