As a musician, as a man of ideals, and as a true world citizen, Yehudi Menuhin made an extraordinary mark on his era. The Menuhin Century commemorates the 100th anniversary of his birth on 22 April 1916. Offering both dazzling showpieces and major concertos and sonatas, The Virtuoso and his Landmark Recordings reveals as much about Menuhin's technical brilliance as about his depth as an interpreter.
This double album from the Accent label collects two single recordings, one made in Ghent in 1994, the other in Corsica and Frankfurt in 2003 and 2005. The second shares only a few musicians with the first but is essentially made of the same stuff, so you might wonder what exactly is added. The pieces on the second CD are generally longer, more serious, and more intricate.
The Complete Recordings with Hephzibah Menuhin traces Menuhin's close and inspiring relationship with his pianist sister - a distinguished artist in her own right - through studio and live performances, CD premieres, and first-time releases.
An enterprising and extremely well-documented record, this collection is a distinct success. I listened to it both at a properly high volume, and late in the evening at a low level, when the illusion of the brass in the distance was just as real. The opening Dvorak Fanfare looks back to earlier times. The writing for natural trumpets is designedly primitive, but the composer's allusion to the Austro-Hungarian anthem is wittily engraved in the structure, and its familiarity makes one smile.