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Bach: Violin Concertos, Etc / Menuhin, Enescu, Monteux, Et Al


Release Date: 09/18/2007 
Label:  Emi Great Recordings Of The Century Catalog #: 91962   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Yehudi MenuhinGeorge Enescu
Conductor:  George EnescuPierre Monteux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BACH Violin Concertos: No. 1 in a; 2 No. 2 in E. 2 Double Violin Concerto in d. 1,3 Violin Partita No. 2 in d: Chaconne Yehudi Menuhin (vn); George Enescu (vn); 1 cond; 2 Pierre Monteux, cond; 3 Paris SO Read more class="BULLET12b">• EMI 91962, mono (75: 05)


Yehudi Menuhin’s association with Bach in the recording studio began early (although long after he had performed concertos by Bach—the Second in E Major—Beethoven, and Brahms in Berlin with Bruno Walter in 1929). Angel’s “Great Recordings of the Century” series brings together a performance of the First Concerto with Menuhin’s teacher, George Enescu, from February 21, 1936 (Menuhin would record it in the studio again with the Robert Masters Chamber Orchestra in 1958), and an even earlier one of the Second Concerto, again with Enescu, from June 24, 1933 (Menuhin would record it in 1940 and in 1958), with one of the Double Concerto from June 4, 1932, with Enescu as violinist under the direction of Pierre Monteux (one of eight studio recordings spanning the years 1932 and 1985), and with an early reading of the Chaconne from 1934 (he would record it again in 1957 and in 1975). In the A Minor Concerto, Menuhin played with great vitality in the opening movement, probing subtlety in the second, and well-planned series of nuances in the third, though in this final movement, the orchestra seems to plod (unlike the orchestra in the propulsive performance that Isaac Stern would later give the Concerto). The orchestra sounds relatively muddy behind the solo, further dampening the finale’s effect. Menuhin and Enescu adopt a bracing tempo in the Second Concerto’s first movement; and Menuhin, holding onto the pulse, consistently enlivens passagework that, with its lengthy stretches in bariolage, easily grow tedious. His sense of urgency in searching the cantilena over the second movement’s recurring bass theme compensates for whatever portamentos today’s violinists might disdain as unstylistic. The recorded sound, although somewhat similar to that in the First Concerto, seems nevertheless just a bit noisier. Tully Potter relates that HMV’s Fred Gaisberg had attempted to recruit Menuhin’s later teacher, Adolf Busch, to record Bach’s Double Concerto with Menuhin and that his citing the potential for such a recording’s sales hardly overcame Busch’s reluctance to participate. With Enescu as his partner, HMV made a recording that, as Potter notes, has been almost continuously available. Monteux’s accompaniment shares the soloists’ alertness in the first movement. In the second, they rivet attention to the interweaving lines. The recorded sound most likely provides only clues to the searing heat these soloists must have given off. The finale’s rapid tempo has neither inhibited the soloists’ interchange nor tethered their soaring flights.


Tully Potter remarks that while each of the first four movements of Bach’s Partita in D Minor fit on one side of a 78, the Chaconne required four sides. As discontinuous as those conditions might have made the recording process, the resulting performance, roughly 14-and-a-half-minutes long, sounds so much of a piece that it’s a challenge to discern where the breaks might have occurred. While Ida Haendel maintains that the Chaconne’s pulse should remain steady, like a healthy heartbeat, many, including the unimpeachable Nathan Milstein, bend tempos to help direct the melodic flow. Menuhin’s performance may be steadier than even Haendel’s, yet so tightly does Menuhin knit the whole that he communicates no sense of being in the least perfunctory.


Menuhin spent two summers (1929 and 1930) studying with Busch, to whom Enescu had sent him and from whom he absorbed the rudiments of an approach to the German repertoire. If these recordings represent early fruits of his study, those summers must have been richly seminal ones. Strongly recommended.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin no 1 in A minor, BWV 1041 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin (Violin)
Conductor:  George Enescu
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Symphony Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/21/1936 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 16 Minutes 11 Secs. 
2.
Concerto for Violin no 2 in E major, BWV 1042 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin (Violin)
Conductor:  George Enescu
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Symphony Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/21/1933 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 18 Minutes 3 Secs. 
3.
Concerto for 2 Violins in D minor, BWV 1043 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  George Enescu (Violin), Yehudi Menuhin (Violin)
Conductor:  Pierre Monteux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Symphony Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1723; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/04/1932 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 15 Minutes 41 Secs. 
4.
Partita for Violin solo no 2 in D minor, BWV 1004: 5th movement, Chaconne by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 05/25/1934 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 14 Minutes 38 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Violin Concerto in A Minor, BWV 1041 (2007 - Remaster): I. [Allegro]
Violin Concerto in A Minor, BWV 1041 (2007 - Remaster): II. Andante
Violin Concerto in A Minor, BWV 1041 (2007 - Remaster): III. Allegro assai
Violin Concerto in E, BWV 1042 (2007 - Remaster): I. Allegro
Violin Concerto in E, BWV 1042 (2007 - Remaster): II. Adagio
Violin Concerto in E, BWV 1042 (2007 - Remaster): III. Allegro assai
Double Violin Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1043 (2007 - Remaster): I. Vivace
Double Violin Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1043 (2007 - Remaster): II. Largo ma non tanto
Double Violin Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1043 (2007 - Remaster): III. Allegro
Partita No.2 in D Minor, BWV 1004 (2007 - Remaster): Chaconne

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