These are the best reproductions I have ever heard of these famous recordings. All credit to Mark Obert-Thorn, who created them from pre-war US Victor sets. In the early days of audio tape and long playing records, it was rumoured that the original masters of the Elgar concerto in the EMI vaults had been destroyed after a transfer to audio tape had been deemed satisfactory. True, the audio tape transfers when issued on LP sounded good enough, but many music lovers regretted that future processing work on the original masters was no longer an option. Well, here in a new century and at the price of a cup of coffee and a sandwich are miracles of sound reproduction that banish all regrets. Of all the recordings Elgar made of his music, this is the one that has the least "historic" sound to modern ears. String playing in the old-fashioned "slide from note to note" way was apparently something Elgar allowed or encouraged when he recorded his orchestral works, but it is barely evident here, and even less so in the playing of the young Yehudi Menuhin. The recording of the Bruch Concerto, an all round success, was made in London's Small Queen's Hall in 1931 and was, I believe, Menuhin's first concerto recording.
As part of Chandos Tribute to Lydia Mordkovitch, this re-issue features Bruch’s Violin Concertos Nos 2 and 3 performed by Lydia Mordkovitch with Richard Hickox and the London Symphony Orchestra. Both were recorded in 1998 in Blackheath Halls in London.
This cd really is a wonder. the mendelssohn and bruch concertos have never received such wonderful treatment as kennedy lavishes, in this all-round flawless cd. the pace of the pieces is just perfect, never rushed but never languid, and the technical skill of kennedy is, as ever, second to none. the intonation is absolutely spot on in all 3 performances. as for expression and tone, in my opinion no-one does it better than kennedy. just listen to the opening bars of the mendelssohn for evidence
those who dismiss kennedy as all image should listen to this and rethink. he really is a violin genius, and theres no clearer indication than on this disc. i cannot recommend it highly enough
Recordings of Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, are abundant, and even the pairing with the rarer Robert Schumann Violin Concerto, WoO 23, of 1853 are not as infrequent as they used to be. The thorny Schumann concerto has undergone a reevaluation upward, and plenty of players now concur with the judgment of Yehudi Menuhin: "This concerto is the historically missing link of the violin literature; it is the bridge between the Beethoven and the Brahms concertos, though leaning more towards Brahms." Violinist Carolin Widmann who (like the ECM label on which the album appears) has focused mostly on contemporary music, takes up the challenge of providing something new here, and she meets it. The central fact of the recording is that Widmann conducts the Chamber Orchestra of Europe from the violin. Others have done this before, but few have pursued the implications of the technique as far as Widmann has: the performances are unusually light and transparent, and they are perhaps thus in accord with the sounds an orchestra of the middle 19th century might have produced. Sample the unusually lively, sprightly reading of the Mendelssohn concerto's finale.
After beginning a three-album Bruch series with the little-known Violin Concerto No. 3, Op. 58, Liebeck here takes up one of the composer's most famous works, the Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26. The rest of the program, though, advances the aim of Hyperion's Romantic Violin Concerto series, which is to recover forgotten works of the period. The little Romance in A minor, Op. 42 and the Serenade in A minor, Op. 75 both got started as concertos, but never came to full fruition.