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Yehudi Menuhin: The Great Violin Concertos
VIVALDI, BACH, HAYDN, MOZART, BEETHOVEN, MENDELSSOHN, LALO, CHAUSSON, DVORAK, BRAHMS, BRUCH, ELGAR, TCHAIKOVSKY, SIBELIUS, NIELSEN, BARTOK, BERG, WALTON
EMI CLASSICS 2641982 [10 CDs: 729:52]

 

Experience Classicsonline

CD 1 [78.03]
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Concertos Op.8 No.4 ‘Le quattro stagioni’
Concerto No.1 in E RV269 Op.8 No.1 ‘La Primavera’, [1054]
Concerto No.2 in G minor RV315 Op.8 No.2 ‘L’estate’ [951]
Concerto No.3 in F RV293 Op.8 No.3 ‘L’autunno’ [1113]
Concerto No.4 in F minor RV297 Op.8 No.4 ‘L’inverno’ [900]
Paul Cocker (harpsichord), Camerata Lysy Gstaad/Alberto Lysy
rec. 29-30 December 1979, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
Violin Concerto in C RV180 Op.8 No.6 ‘Il piacere’ [829]
Violin Concerto in C minor RV199 ‘Il sospetto’ [837]
Concerto in E flat RV253 Op.8 No.5 ‘Il tempesto di mare’ [1012]
Concerto in B flat RV362 Op.8 No.10 ‘La caccia’, [900]
Polish Chamber Orchestra/Jerzy Maksymiuk
rec. 10-11 April 1982, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
CD 2 [73.59]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Violin Concerto in A minor BWV1041 [1457]
Violin Concerto in E BWV1042 [1902]
Bath Festival Orchestra/Yehudi Menuhin
rec. 7-8 October 1958, Kingsway Hall, London
Concerto in D minor BWV1043 for two violins [1725]
Christian Ferras (violin), Bath Festival Orchestra/Yehudi Menuhin
rec. 8 July 1959, Kingsway Hall, London
Triple Concerto in A minor BWV1044 [2201]
William Bennett (flute), George Malcolm (harpsichord), Bath Festival Orchestra/Yehudi Menuhin
rec. 30 June 1965, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
CD 3 [72.27]
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Violin Concerto In C Hob.VII:l [1732]
Bath Festival Orchestra/Yehudi Menuhin
rec. 11 November 1963, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Violin Concerto No.4 in D K218 (Cadenzas: Menuhin) [2422]
Bath Festival Orchestra/Yehudi Menuhin
rec. 1 October 1962, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
Violin Concerto No.5 in A K219 ‘Turkish’ (Cadenzas: Menuhin) [2934]
Bath Festival Orchestra/Yehudi Menuhin
rec. 26 January 1961, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
CD 4 [71.25]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Violin Concerto in D Op.61 [4437]
Wiener Philharmoniker/Constantin Silvestri
rec. 5-7 November 1960, Musikvereinssaal, Vienna
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Violin Concerto in E minor Op.64 [2642]
Philharmonia Orchestra/Efrem Kurtz
rec. 30 April 1958, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
CD 5 [78.25]
Edouard LALO
(1823-1892)
Symphonie espagnole in D minor Op.21 [3235]
Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899)
Počme Op.25 [15.27]
Orchestre Symphonique de Paris/George Enescu
rec. 20-21 June 1933, Salle Pleyel, Paris
Antonín DVORÁK (1841-1904)
Violin Concerto in A minor Op.53 [31:19]
Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire/George Enescu
rec. 26, 28 November 1936, Studio Albert, Paris
CD 6 [65.16]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Violin Concerto in D Op.77 (Cadenza: Kreisler) [4102]
Berliner Philharmoniker/Rudolf Kempe
rec. 6-7 September 1957, Grunewaldekirche, Berlin
Max BRUCH (1838-1920)
Violin Concerto No.1 in G minor Op.26 [2402]
Philharmonia Orchestra/Walter Susskind
rec. 12 November 1956, Kingsway Hall, London
CD 7 [73.49]
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Violin Concerto in B minor Op.61 [4947]
London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Edward Elgar
rec. 14-15 July 1932, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Violin Concerto No.3 in G K216 (Cadenzas: Franko) [3342]
Orchestre Symphonique de Paris/George Enescu
rec. 9 December 1935, Studio Albert, Paris
CD 8 [73.15]
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Sérénade mélancolique Op.26 [9.01]
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult
rec. 18 November 1959, Kingsway Hall, London
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Violin Concerto in D minor Op.47 [3018]
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult
rec. 20 June 1955, Kingsway Hall, London
Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931)
Violin Concerto Op.33 [3335]
Danish State Radio Symphony Orchestra/Mogens Wöldike
rec. 28 September 1952, Copenhagen
CD 9 [72.17]
Bela BARTÓK (1881-1945)
Rhapsody No.1 Sz87 [11.29]
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Pierre Boulez
rec. 8-9 November 1968, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
Violin Concerto No.1 Sz36 2141
New Philharmonia Orchestra/Antal Dorati
rec. 24 November 1965, Kingsway Hall, London
Violin Concerto No.2 Sz112 [3852]
New Philharmonic Orchestra/Antal Dorati
rec. 5-6, 24 November 1965, 3 October 1966, Kingsway Hall, London
CD 10 [70.56]
Alban BERG (1885-1935)
Violin Concerto [2629]
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Pierre Boulez
rec. 8-9 November 1968, No 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
William WALTON (1902-1983)
Violin Concerto (revised version) [3133]
London Symphony Orchestra/Sir William Walton
rec. 12-15 July 1969, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
Bela BARTÓK (1881-1945)
Rhapsody No.2 Sz90 (revised 1944 version) [12.32]
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Pierre Boulez
rec. 8-9 November 1968, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
Stereo/Mono; ADD/DDD


 
This superb 10-disc set from EMI Classics covers the whole of Menuhin’s solo career and provides a wonderful overview of his breadth of repertoire, including some classic recordings of composers ranging from Vivaldi through to Walton.
 
Disc 1 presents us with cogently argued recordings of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons from 1979 - with Alberto Lysy directing the Camerata Lysy Gstaad - and Violin Concertos numbers 5, 6, 8 and Il Sospetto - Jerzy Maksymiuk conducts the Polish Chamber orchestra in 1982. The solo line is muscular and purposeful, with some lovely delicate touches, and the Four Seasons in particular are energetic, full of vitality and well articulated. The next disc contains Bach Violin concertos in A minor (BWV1041) and E major (BWV1042) – both 1958; the double concerto in D minor (BWV1043, with Christian Ferras in 1959), and the Triple Concerto in A minor (BWV1044) in 1965, where he is joined by William Bennett on the flute and George Malcolm on harpsichord. There are some exquisite slow movements here – sensitive and incredibly tender. The pieces are well-phrased, spacious, unhurried and sweet-toned. Menuhin directs his own Bath Festival Orchestra from the violin – as also on the next disc of Haydn’s Violin Concerto in C and Mozart Concertos 4 and 5. The Haydn is given a fresh and engaging performance (1963) and the Mozarts (from 1962 and 1961) are elegant and expressive, with some wonderful sweetness of playing and an exciting last movement to the Fifth Concerto. On the fourth disc Silvestri conducts the Wiener Philharmoniker – this is one of many recordings Menuhin made of the Beethoven concerto, but is a particularly fine one, dating from 1960, in which we find grand statements from the Wiener Philharmoniker and a rich and warm tone from Menuhin. It is full of energy, life and spirit, with the serious first movement full of gravitas and a lovely dancing quality in the third movement. It is followed by the Mendelssohn concerto with Efrem Kurtz and the Philharmonia (1959) - another robust performance, with strong, confident accompaniment from the orchestra and a beautifully sensitive and lyrical performance by Menuhin. The slow movement, although sweet-toned, is not indulgent, but is given a surprisingly straight and unemotional rendition. It is succeeded by a fiery finale.
 
Lalo opens disc 5 – a bold and assured performance of the Symphonie Espagnole with his teacher Enescu conducting the Orchestre Symphonique de Paris in 1933. Menuhin was the second person to record the Lalo in full (other violinists omitted the Intermezzo), and the violin sound is pretty good for the age of recording - although the orchestra is a bit boxy and restricted. Menuhin is here vivacious and expressive in a secure and idiomatic performance, with a good, light touch, particularly in the first movement. The ensuing Chausson Počme, with the same orchestra, conductor and date is also excellent, and the Dvorák Violin Concerto closes the disc with a recording dating from 1936 with the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, in which the sound is a little compromised but the performance is first class.
 
Disc 6 features the Brahms Concerto with the Berlin Philharmoniker and Rudolf Kempe – the work is given a rather slow and ponderous opening and the sound is a little thin (1957), yet there is a beautifully tender slow movement and Menuhin is wonderfully lithe in the third movement. The Bruch violin concerto follows, with Walter Susskind conducting the Philharmonia in 1956 – a noble and expansive first movement: energetic, full of spirit and passion; a majestic and mellifluous second movement and a supple and vigorous finale. The famous recording of Elgar conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in his Violin Concerto with a highly accomplished young Menuhin in 1932 opens disc 7. It is a remarkably mature recording on Menuhin’s part (who is the youngest violinist to have recorded the piece), with secure intonation and a tremendous amount of musicality and insight from the soloist who, although very polished and sensitive is nonetheless slightly unemotional. The performance - notoriously done on minimum rehearsal time, and the only complete and electrical recording Elgar made of the work - is fairly hard-driven at times, with a stirring, urgent, serious first movement. A 1935 performance of the Mozart third Violin Concerto with Enescu again and the Orchestre Symphonique de Paris completes the disc – an incisive and assured version with a very tender slow movement.
 
The ensuing disc opens with a nice rendition of the Tchaikovsky Sérénade Mélancolique with Boult and the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1959. The same conductor and orchestra also feature in the following Sibelius Concerto, dating from 1955. Menuhin attacks the opening of this piece with some aggression, rather than taking an introspective and meditative attitude, although the mood does gradually change to one more lyrical. The whole work is rather hard-driven, with an excellent second movement - committed and intense, and a tense and exhilarating third movement. Mögens Woldike conducts the Danish State Radio Symphony Orchestra in a virtuosic and compelling performance of the Nielsen Violin concerto (1952), which concludes the disc.
 
The penultimate CD in the set contains the first Rhapsody and two Violin Concertos by Bartók, with Boulez conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1968 in the Rhapsody and Dorati the New Philharmonic Orchestra in the concertos (1965-6). The works are given powerful performances with particularly luminescent playing from Menuhin.
 
The final disc commences with the Berg Concerto, recorded in 1968 with Pierre Boulez and the BBC Symphony Orchestra – a rather detached and unemotional performance of this. It is followed by the Walton Violin Concerto, conducted by the composer with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1969, in an eloquent performance that gets to the heart of the work, particularly in the last movement. It is well accompanied by the LSO who, having had Previn at the helm for several years, were well attuned to the Walton idiom. The interplay between the soloist and the orchestra is an essential component of Walton’s score but here I felt that the balance favoured the soloist too much so that some of the orchestral instruments are possibly not as audible as they should be. However, the recapitulation of the main melody in the third movement is ravishingly played and gorgeously accompanied here, and is really the highlight of the recording.
 
The set concludes with Bartók’s Second Rhapsody - a composer Menuhin had something of a rapport with, and from whom he commissioned a sonata - with Boulez and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1968 again. The work contains rather curious hints of Scottish folk music as well as a strong Hungarian flavour and is here given an inspired and lively, fluent performance.
 
This is a superb set, not just for those who love Menuhin’s playing, but for any who love the beautiful sounds that the violin can make, or are interested in historic recordings. On the latter point it must be remembered that some recordings date from the very early days of electrical recording technology and thus some adjustment must be made for the quality of the sound. Overall, though, this set clearly shows a great violinist at his best who, despite the fact that his repertoire embraced all periods and styles, was always able to bring an individuality and insight to his performances over an impressive period encompassing nearly half a century.
 

Em Marshall
 
 
Full Tracklisting for Yehudi Menuhin: The Great Violin Concertos
Disc 1
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Concertos Op.8 No.4 ‘Le quattro stagioni’
Concerto No.1 in E RV269 Op.8 No.1 ‘La Primavera’,
Allegro [3.44]
Largo [2.39]
Allegro [4.31]
Concerto No.2 in G minor RV315 Op.8 No.2 ‘L’estate’
Allegro [5.24]
Adagio [1.38]
Presto [2.49]
Concerto No.3 in F RV293 Op.8 No.3 ‘L’autunno’
Allegro [5.00]
Adagio molto [2.27]
Allegro [3.46]
Concerto No.4 in F minor RV297 Op.8 No.4 ‘L’inverno’
Allegro non molto [3.49]
Largo [2.07]
Allegro [3.04]
Paul Cocker (harpsichord), Camerata Lysy Gstaad, Alberto Lysy
Recorded: 29-30 December 1979, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
Violin Concerto in C RV180 Op.8 No.6 ‘Il piacere’
Allegro [3.05]
Largo e cantabile [2.36]
Allegro [2.48]
Violin Concerto in C minor RV199 ‘Il sospetto’
Allegro [3.31]
Andante [2.24]
Allegro [2.42]
Concerto in E flat RV253 Op.8 No.5 ‘Il tempesto di mare’
Presto [3.39]
Largo [2.24]
Presto [4.09]
Concerto in B flat RV362 Op.8 No.10 ‘La caccia’,
Allegro [3.41]
Adagio [2.43]
Allegro [2.36]
Polish Chamber Orchestra, Jerzy Maksymiuk,
Recorded: 10-11 April 1982, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
Total time [78.03]
Disc 2
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Violin Concerto in A minor BWV1041
Allegro [4.16]
Andante [6.42]
Allegro assai [3.59]
Violin Concerto in E BWV1042
Allegro [8.56]
Adagio [7.10]
Allegro assai [2.56]
Bath Festival Orchestra, Yehudi Menuhin
Recorded: 7-8 October 1958, Kingsway Hall, London
Concerto in D minor BWV1043 for two violins
Vivace [4.17]
Largo ma non tanto [7.42]
Allegro [5.26]
Christian Ferras (violin), Bath Festival Orchestra, Yehudi Menuhin
Recorded: 8 July 1959, Kingsway Hall, London
Triple Concerto in A minor BWV1044
Allegro [9.03]
Adagio, ma no troppo e dolce [6.08]
Alla breve [6.50]
William Bennett (flute), George Malcolm (harpsichord), Bath Festival Orchestra, Yehudi Menuhin
Recorded: 30 June 1965, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
Total time [73.59]
Disc 3
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Violin Concerto In C Hob.VII:l
Allegro moderato (Cadenza: Menuhin) [9.07]
Adagio molto [4.23]
Finale: Presto (Cadenza: Menuhin) [4.42]
Bath Festival Orchestra, Yehudi Menuhin
Recorded: 11 November 1963, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Violin Concerto No.4 in D K218 (Cadenzas: Menuhin)
Allegro [8.50]
Andante cantabile [8.17]
Rondeau: Andante graioso - Allegro ma non troppo [7.15]
Bath Festival Orchestra, Yehudi Menuhin
Recorded: 1 October 1962, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
Violin Concerto No.5 in A K219 ‘Turkish’ (Cadenzas: Menuhin)
Allegro aperto [10.12]
Adagio [10.29]
Tempo di Menuetto – Allegro [8.53]
Bath Festival Orchestra, Yehudi Menuhin
Recorded: 26 January 1961, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
Total time [72.27]
Disc 4
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Violin Concerto in D Op.61
Allegro ma non troppo [23.29]
Larghetto [10.27]
Rondo: Allegro [10.41]
Wiener Philharmoniker, Constantin Silvestri
Recorded: 5-7 November 1960, Musikvereinssaal, Vienna
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Violin Concerto in E minor Op.64
Allegro molto appassionato [12.20]
Andante [7.53]
Allegretto non troppo - Allegro molto vivace [6.23]
Philharmonia Orchestra, Efrem Kurtz
Recorded: 30 April 1958, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
Total time [71.25]
Disc 5
Edouard LALO (1823-1892)
Symphonie espagnole in D minor Op.21
Allegro non troppo [7.25]
Scherzando: Allegro molto [4.05]
Intermezzo: Allegretto non troppo [6.08]
Andante [7.07]
Rondo: Allegro [7.44]
Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899)
Počme Op.25 [15.27]
Orchestra Symphonique de Paris, George Enescu
Recorded: 20-21 June 1933, Salle Pleyel, Paris
Antonin DVORÁK (1841-1904)
Violin Concerto in A minor Op.53
Allegro ma non troppo [9.50]
Adagio non troppo [9.34]
Finale: Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo [10.45]
Orchestra de la Societe des Concerts du Conservatoire, George Enescu
Recorded: 26, 28 November 1936, Studio Albert, Paris
Total time [78.25]
Disc 6
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Violin Concerto in D Op.77
Allegro non troppo (Cadenza: Kreisler) [22.51]
Adagio [9.58]
Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace - Poco piu presto [8.13]
Berliner Philharmoniker, Rudolf Kemps
Recorded: 6-7 September 1957, Grunewaldekirche, Berlin
Max BRUCH (1838-1920)
Violin Concerto No.1 in G minor Op.26
Allegro moderato [8.28]
Adagio [8.32]
Finale: Allegro energico [7.02]
Philharmonla Orchestra, Walter Susskind
Recorded: 12 November 1956, Kingsway Hall, London
Total time [65.16]
Disc 7
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Violin Concerto in B minor Op.61
Allegro [17.25]
Andante [13.01]
Allegro molto [10.12]
Cadenza (accompagnata: Lento) - Allegro molto [9.09]
London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Edward Elgar
Recorded: 14-15 July 1932, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Violin Concerto No.3 in G K216
Allegro (Cadenza: Franko) [8.18]
Adagio (Cadenza: Franko) [8.18]
Rondo: Allegro - Andante – Allegretto [7.06]
Orchestra Symphonique de Paris, George Enescu
Recorded: 9 December 1935, Studio Albert, Paris
Total time [73.49]
Disc 8
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Serenade melancolique Op.26 [9.01]
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Adrian Boult
Recorded: 18 November 1959, Kingsway Hall, London
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Violin Concerto in D minor Op.47
Allegro moderato [15.07]
Adagio di molto [8.00]
Allegro ma non tanto [7.11]
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Adrian Boult
Recorded: 20 June 1955, Kingsway Hall, London
Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931)
Violin Concerto Op.33
Praeludium: Largo [6.25]
Allegro cavalleresco [11.30]
Intermezzo: Poco adagio [6.14]
Rondo: Allegretto scherzando [9.26]
Danish State Radio Symphony Orchestra, Mogens Woldike
Recorded: 28.IX.1952, Copenhagen
Total time [73.15]
Disc 9
Bela BARTÓK (1881-1945)
Rhapsody No.1 Sz87 [11.29]
BBC Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez
Recorded: 8-9 November 1968, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
Violin Concerto No.1 Sz36
Andante sostenuto [8.47]
Allegro giocoso [12.52]
New Philharmonia Orchestra, Antal Dorati
Recorded: 24 November 1965, Kingsway Hall, London
Violin Concerto No.2 Sz112
Allegro non troppo [16.41]
Andante tranquillo [10.18]
Allegro molto [11.53]
New Philharmonic Orchestra, Antal Dorati
Recorded: 5-6, 24 November 1965, 3 October 1966, Kingsway Hall, London
Total time [72.17]
Disc 10
Alban BERG (1885-1935)
Violin Concerto
Andante [4.37]
Allegretto [3.15]
Liberamente [2.10]
Poco a poco sempre piu [1.32]
Allegro [1.44]
Pesante, ma quasi a tempo [5.41]
Adagio [5.41]
Coda [1.49]
BBC Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez
Recorded: 8-9 November 1968, No 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
William WALTON (1902-1983)
Violin Concerto (revised version)
Andante tranquillo [11.34]
Presto capriccioso alla napolitana - Trio: Canzonetta - Tempo I [6.44]
Vivace [13.15]
London Symphony Orchestra, Sir William Walton
Recorded: 12-15 July 1969, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
Bela BARTÓK (1881-1945)
Rhapsody No.2 Sz90 (revised 1944 version) [12.32]
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Pierre Boulez
Recorded: 8-9 November 1968, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
Total time [70.56]
EMI Classics 50999 2 64198 2 4 Stereo / Mono / ADD / DDD

 


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