Sunday, February 28, 2016

Brahms: Violin Sonata No. 3 (Efrem Zimbalist)

Efrem Zimbalist
For someone of his eminence during the golden age of violin playing, Efrem Zimbalist (1890-1985) did not have a recording career that really did him justice. Yes, there was the series of acoustic sides for Victor beginning in 1911, but he had Elman and Kreisler (and, later, Heifetz) to compete with in that sphere, and his usefulness to the company seems to have been principally to play obbligati to his wife, soprano (and Red Seal luminary) Alma Gluck. (His best-remembered recording is the famous Bach Double Concerto with Kreisler.) In 1928 he switched to Columbia, an association that produced some 34 issued sides, but only one recording of an extended work, this Brahms sonata:

Brahms: Violin Sonata No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 108
Efrem Zimbalist, violin; Harry Kaufman, piano
Recorded May 19, 1930
Columbia Masterworks Set No. 140, three 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 62.75 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 42.74 MB)

This recording would have been intended to replace the one by Arthur Catterall and William Murdoch in Columbia's catalogue, and would itself be replaced eight years later with the version by Joseph Szigeti and Egon Petri. New York-born Harry Kaufman (1894-1961) may not be in quite the same league as Murdoch or Petri, but as someone who was head of the Department of Accompanying at the Curtis Institute at the time this recording was made, he acquits himself admirably. Zimbalist himself was later Curtis' director (from 1941 to 1968).


  1. Alternate links:

    FLAC -

    MP3 -

  2. Great, thank you so much - I haven't listened to enough Zimbalist, so I really look forward to hearing him play this wonderful work! All the best, Nick

  3. Thanks, Bryan! Good to hear Zimbalist playing Brahms!