Monday 19 January 2015

Romantic violin

I hadn't listened to it in years, but had no particular idea that morning and my eyes fell on it. It was a recording of the Bruch and Mendelssohn (second -his famous one is his second) violin concertos by Yehudi Menuhin.

And let's be honest, it is a far from faultless recording. It was 1994 and Menuhin (then 78) was far too old, he who experienced hand problems too. It is clear that his virtuosity, never what you really looked for in Menuhin anyway, no longer could spell out clearly the quicker passages of both third movements.
But it does not matter one bit. Sit yourself right in front of the speakers and just let fly, enjoy his musicality. Bruch is powerful, primal music, the notes seem written exactly to make the violin resonate to the maximum. Mendelssohn is etheral subtlety and obsessive melodies. And, of course, Menuhin, a superbly passionate player, plays a superb instrument. This is not an exam of hitting the right notes. It is performing music.

Though I had listened to both concertos (particularly the Mendelssohn) many times in the interval, I probably had not played this CD for many years. It carried an impressive passion. As the acceleration and then first chords of Bruch's third movement happened, they brought far stronger shivers than the recent London bout of cold could manage.

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