Menuhin in Hollywood

Focus on Concert Magic, the first concert film in Hollywood history

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Program notes

Outstanding musician, citizen of the world, defender of tolerance—this 2006 film celebrates Yehudi Menuhin on the occasion of his 90th birthday, in particular through previously unreleased footage from the 1947 legendary Hollywood music film, Concert Magic.

In interviews and conversations with his biographer Humphrey Burton, Yehudi Menuhin recalls the origins of the film: the wartime and postwar periods in America and Germany. Special attention is paid to his commitment to the victims of World War II, which include great artists forced into American exile like fellow musician Béla Bartók. During the Second World War, Yehudi Menuhin helped to raise the spirits of war victims and refugee children with numerous concerts, supported artists in American exile, and performed for freed prisoners of the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen and, in a peacemaking gesture, in war-ravaged Berlin under the baton of Wilhelm Furtwängler.

Looking back at the mid-1940s, it becomes clear that Menuhin's passion was bound as much into his quests for musical excellence as into his dedication to social causes. He used music to further the cause for justice and reconciliation, often in the face of strong resistance.

Yehudi Menuhin at the Charlie Chaplin Studios, Hollywood. Photo © EuroArts

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