The Anton Rubinstein cello sonatas were originally released by Danacord as a DMM LP. Direct metal mastering ensured a high level of sonic accuracy. When this recording was released in 1986, it was the last word in analog high fidelity.

Also included with this reissue is Rubinstein’s Piano Trio No. 5. This is the first release of the original master tape, and the audio quality is generally on par with the sonatas.

Gert von Bülow, cello, and José Ribera, piano deliver thoughtful performances of Rubinstein’s sonatas. The fine details captured by the recording add to the beauty of the performances. Von Bu¨low’s cello has a rich, resonant sound that seems quite natural. Ribera’s playing nicely balances the cello. His piano has a clean, clear sound that never overpowers his partner’s instrument.

The piano trio has a different ensemble dynamic and a slightly different audio mix. The upper register of both the violin and piano sounded to my ears a little soft. The overall ensemble sound seemed wrapped in a warm glow.

That was not necessarily a bad thing. For 40+ minutes I was drawn into a sonic world of late-Romantic drama. The trio gives the players plenty of places to shine, and these three musicians take full advantage of them.

Violinist Péter Csaba played sweetly, but not overly so. Von Bülow’s cello sung plaintively, and Ribera sends finely-crafted waves of notes rippling through the ensemble.

Analog audiophile recordings became digital audio treats.

Anton Rubinstein: Cello Sonatas, Piano Trio
Gert von Bülow, cello; Péter Csaba, violin; José Ribera, piano
Danacord DACOCD858
2 CD set