Three sonatas recorded by the young Yehudi Menuhin in happy times - particularly happy, as his younger sister Hephzibah is his pianist in all three. I'm not sure that he ever recorded the two beautiful Brahms sonatas again ; certainly not the Schumann, the quite unfamiliar second sonata. Its unfamiliarity is unmerited - Menuhin was bowled over by it when he came across it, and the performance is white hot, very committed though also fully under control.
Compiled from recordings dating from 1965 to 1974, this EMI/Gemini double-disc of Bartók's string concertos and other works features Yehudi Menuhin at the peak of his powers, with support from two important Bartók specialists and their sympathetic orchestras. Menuhin is admirably backed in all the concertos by Antal Dorati and the New Philharmonia Orchestra, and Pierre Boulez and the BBC Symphony Orchestra provide meticulous accompaniment in the two Rhapsodies. The resilient Viola Concerto and the splendid Violin Concerto No. 2 are essential listening, both for their masterful writing and for the vigorous performances Menuhin and Dorati deliver.
Naxos has done music lovers yet another good turn by releasing these recordings (1932-36), vividly remasterd from 78s. Menuhin was in his later teens when he made them. The concertos in A minor and E are conducted by his teacher Enescu, who is the other soloist in the D minor Double concerto, which Monteux conducts. The performances are compelling, and the slow movements of the solo concertos are imprinted with that beauty of tone and phrase that makes the young Menuhin a permanent wonder. But the Double Concerto is the treasure. The soloists are indistinguishably linked yet each a consummate individual. Playing more heart-easing than in the distraught largo could not be imagined.(Paul Driver)
These are the main ingredients of a perfectly-made CD for your listening pleasure: mix violins, piano, bass and drums together, combine two terrific violinists, season with the best melodies in the 20s, 30s and 40s from Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and Rodgers & Hart. Add the musical talents of Nelson Riddle, Max Harris, Martin Taylor, Eddie Tripp, Alan Clare and the rest of the studio musicians. Now all you have to do is to sit back, relax and savor these stunning melodies coming from your CD player. Listen to it in full-volume and fill your music room with the sheer beauty of these classics. A musical treat!
Admirers of Sir Yehudi Menuhin will be pleased to have this compilation of his early stereo recordings of the major violin concertos. I have always enjoyed his version of the Bach Double Concerto with Christian Ferras; it rightly dominated the catalogue throughout the 1960s, and the spirited baroque vitality of the performance, plus a beautifully judged central Largo, give great satisfaction. Moreover, it demonstrates what a good sound balance Peter Andry and Neville Boyling could achieve in London's Kingsway Hall in 1959.
The sonatas and partitas for solo violin (BWV 1001–1006) are a set of six works composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. They are sometimes referred to in English as the sonatas and partias for solo violin in accordance with Bach's headings in the autograph manuscript: "Partia" (plural "Partien") was commonly used in German-speaking regions during Bach's time, whereas the Italian "partita" was introduced to this set in the 1879 Bach Gesellschaft edition, having become standard by that time. The set consists of three sonatas da chiesa in four movements and three partitas (or partias) in dance-form movements.
The set was completed by 1720, but was only published in 1802 by Nikolaus Simrock in Bonn. Even after publication, it was largely ignored until the celebrated violinist Joseph Joachim started performing these works. Today, Bach's Sonatas and Partitas are an essential part of the violin repertoire, and they are frequently performed and recorded.
Niccolò Paganini was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer. He was one of the most celebrated violin virtuosi of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique. His Caprice No. 24 in A minor, Op. 1, is among the best known of his compositions, and has served as an inspiration for many prominent composers.
For a single-package introduction to the music of William Walton, it would be hard to do better than this two-disc set from EMI. Not only is the selection impeccable (including the First Symphony, Belshazzar's Feast, the violin and viola concertos, plus the Partita, for orchestra), but the performances, with the composer conducting, are, for all intents and purposes, definitive.