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.
Albinoni might be described as a specialist in the medium of the Concerto a cinque, of which he composed 54, published at intervals during almost half his productive life. The first six appeared in his Op 2 (1700), together with six sonatas from which they inherited some structural features, and were followed in 1707 by the 12 of Op 5. They were 'halfway houses' on the road to the violin concerto per se as we know it – and as Vivaldi established it four years later.Virtuoso passages for a solo violin appear only en passant in flanking movements and 'symmetrically' in the Adagios of Nos 3, 6, 9 and 12. Each Concerto is in three-movement form and all the finales are fugal, as they are in the Op 2, though in their simplicity they sound rather like rondos.
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The eighth installment in Marsalis' exhaustive series of 1999 releases, this disc was originally offered as a freebie in the mail only if you bought the previous seven, and it didn't appear in the shops on its own until 2000. It was a strange marketing scheme, and one that unnecessarily muted the fanfare for the most artistically successful of Marsalis' original works in his 1999 series. Marciac, a small town in France, hosts an internationally renowned jazz festival and even erected a statue of Marsalis, which moved the composer/trumpeter to conceive this 76-minute suite for his favorite septet lineup.