Between his birth in New York on 22 April 1916 and his death in Berlin on 12 March 1999, Yehudi Menuhin, the son of humble Russian immigrants, grew from a brilliant child prodigy violinist, who made his public concert début in San Francisco in 1924, aged just 7, into not just one of the 20th century s finest and most celebrated artists (as a conductor as well as a soloist), but also a peace campaigner, civil rights activist, spiritual guru and revered senior statesman of the musical world, who ended his days as the Right Honourable the Lord Menuhin of Stoke d Abernon, with a seat in the House of Lords, yet also found time to establish two music schools, a violin competition and an international scheme for taking music out of the concert hall and into the wider community.
The Quartet's repertoire was centered on the Viennese classics, but with a serious emphasis on the 20th century. It was the stated goal of the quartet to include at least one modern work in each performance. Their repertoire spanned from Early Classicism, Romanticism, to the Second Viennese School (Berg, Schoenberg, Webern), Bartуk and embraced many contemporary composers. This took expression not the least in personal statements by composers like Witold Lutoslawski and Luciano Berio, of whom the former said: "Personally I am indebted to the Alban Berg Quartet for an unforgettable event. Last year in Vienna, they played my quartet in a way such as will never be likely equaled."
The Tragically Hip come from a long line of bands that began as arena-rock-in-my-basement garage outfits, and actually soldiered on to make music worthy of achieving that aspiration. While it's true that 2004's In Between Evolution and the lackluster We Are the Same were missteps because they were squarely aimed at the ever elusive mainstream, Now for Plan A, the Hip's 13th long-player, produced by Gavin Brown, moves them back to their square, toward the immediacy of their earlier records. Its 11 tracks deliver a varied, mostly uptempo, solid sonic ride that combines big-budget rock & roll production with more basic elements of urgency, impulsiveness, and humor.