The last of his orchestral compositions and one of his most enduringly popular pieces, Mendelssohn's violin concerto is as much a crowd-pleaser now as it was when premiered by Ferdinand David and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in 1845. Its unassuming focus on melody and dynamic interaction between soloist and orchestra – rather than merely on technical feats and virtuosic showmanship – ensures its place at the heart of the violin concerto repertoire.
Acclaimed violinist Yehudi Menuhin delivers first-rate performances of Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor and Béla Bartók’s Violin Concerto No.2. His stunning tone, intensity and overall virtuosity are engaging and warm. Menuhin is joined by noted conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra. The set will go down as one of the finest violin performances of all time and Menuhin remains one of the most accomplished violinists of the century.
Hailed as ‘the Jascha Heifetz of our day’ (Globe and Mail), violinist James Ehnes is widely considered one of the most dynamic and exciting performers in classical music. He has performed in over 30 countries on five continents, appearing with many of the world’s most well-known orchestras and conductors. Ehnes’s extensive discography of over 20 recordings features repertoire ranging from Bach violin sonatas to John Adams’s Road Movies. Since Vladimir Ashkenazy came to prominence on the world stage in the 1955 Chopin Competition in Warsaw, he has built an extraordinary career as one of the finest pianists of our time. Conducting has formed the largest part of his activities over the past two decades, and he has had a long-standing relationship with the Philharmonia Orchestra, of which he was appointed conductor laureate in 2000.
Featuring John Eliot Gardiner and his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique - and Presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 at a 24/96 kHz bit and sample rate, the sound on this disc is awe-inspiring. The 7.1 palette gives a recording engineer the opportunity to map acoustically the orchestra and hall with incredible detail, and this recording does just that.
These classic recordings need little comment from me on artistic grounds. Heifetz's account of the Mendelssohn never has been bettered for sheer dazzling virtuosity, and although the Beethoven is more controversial (some find it "cold"), I love its unaffected, truly classical purity. Besides, you also get Munch and the Boston Symphony, no mean bonus. It's interesting to compare the two performances in multichannel sound, since the Beethoven is two-track, while the Mendelssohn offers three.