21 November 2009

Menuhin EMI recordings revisited

In Yehudi Menuhin: The great EMI recordings I noted the remarkable set of 50 CDs of Yehudi Menuhin’s recordings which EMI released to mark the 10th anniversary of his death on 12 March 1999. Spanning the period of 70 years he recorded for the company, this great collection of course includes his iconic recording at the age of 16 of the great Elgar Violin Concerto, with the composer conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.

I have now had the set long enough to have been able to listen to each of the CDs at least twice. It is a magnificent collection, richly deserving of Gramophone Magazine’s October 2009 award for Re-issue of the Month. And in spite of the vintage of some of the recordings, the sound quality is good; the sound engineers have done a great job.

Amongst the many other recordings are the Bach sonatas and partitas for solo violin, a 1932 recording with George Enescu of the Bach Concerto for Two Violins, the Beethoven and Brahms concerti with Wilhelm Furtwängler, Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata and Brahms’ Sonata No. 3 accompanied by sister Hepzibah, Menuhin’s only recording of the Sibelius Violin Concerto, with Sir Adrian Boult, lesser known works such as violin concerti by Vaughan Williams, Walton and Williamson, and pieces by Gershwin and Grappelli with the great Stephane Grappelli.

The set can be obtained from my favourite source of classical CDs, the UK-based Presto Classical, for £108.26 plus £2.60 postage and handling. Thanks to Gordon Brown’s brilliant management of the UK economy and the consequent realignment of exchange rates in our favour, that will cost Australian buyers just about exactly $A200, or $4.00 per CD.

For the moment the direct link to the page on which the item is to be found is here (page 16 of the list which results from putting Menuhin in the search box on the home page), but Presto Classical moves them around a bit from time to time.

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