Yehudi Menuhin plays Beethoven's Violin Concerto
London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Colin Davis
Menuhin in a state of grace illuminates Beethoven and Bach.
As a child, at the age of eight, Yehudi begged his teacher Louis Persinger (first violin of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra) to work on Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major, the same one he performed one evening in 1962 at the International Concert Hall, with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Colin Davis. A concerto which played a very special part in his career. It is with this work that he held out a hand in 1947 to a defeated Germany, in the person of Furtwängler reinstated at the rostrum of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
The shock was such for Menuhin that subsequently he almost refused to play the piece with another conductor. Fortunately, he did not stay true to his word and recorded the piece four times. Menuhin’s wonder and inspiration almost makes us believe, even so many years later, we are seeing the little boy coming to grips with the masterpiece for the first time, as here in 1962, with Colin Davis.
Born in 1916, in New York, Yehudi Menuhin as a child was undoubtedly “the most prodigious child prodigy”. A Mozart of the violin, he shot ahead: at thirteen he played with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Bruno Walter. And from his first notes on the violin, Johann Sebastian Bach was the territory he constantly explored: every day he practised with the Sonatas and Partitas. Whether in concert, in an encore or playing for himself, Bach revealed through his fingers, beyond the simple beauty of the sound, a fantastic message of love such as the one conveyed by Menuhin with the prelude to the Third Partita during a concert for Unicef in Lausanne in 1970.
- Yehudi Menuhin playing Beethoven: BBC Archive, International Concert Hall, April 24, 1962;
- Yehudi Menuhin playing Bach, INA Archive, Gala de l’UNICEF, November 21, 1970.
Duration : 53 min
Recording date : 1962, 1970
Production date : 2000
Production : © Idéale Audience / IMG Artists / BBC