“Every piece of music is a rehearsal of one’s life,” - Sir Colin Davis
This was my first version c1972, bought because I had little money as a student and it was far cheaper than the Menuhin/ Boult. But as I was delighted to discover, it's anything but a second-best! Oddly enough, never have acquired that Menuhin/ Boult even though I've picked up a few others since: Chung/ Solti, Zukerman/ Barenboim, Menuhin/ Elgar, Kennedy/ Handley.
Haendel/Rattle is superb and comes with a stupendous account of the Sibelius too.
[from amazon.co.uk]Conducted by Simon Rattle with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra . Track Listing Jean Sibelius Violin Concerto in B minor, Op.61. Recorded 7th September 1993, Royal Albert Hall, London. 1. I Allegro moderato (16.02) 2. II Adagio di molto (9.19) 2. III Allegro, ma non tanto (7.37) Edward Elgar Violin Concerto in B minor, Op.61. Recorded 22nd February 1984, Royal Festival Hall, London. 4. I- Allegro (17.03) 5. II-Andante (11.23) 6. III- Allegri molto (18.00) Total running time 79.40
The staff at Avgarde Gallery in Manchester (Dennis Baxter and John Mayall) allowed me to listen to the slow movement in both EMI Menuhin versions, but there seemed little to choose between them, so I opted for the safety of the then new version. Since then, I have acquired Sammons, Menuhin/Elgar, Chung, Kennedy/Handley, Zukermann, Bean and Little. If I tend to avoid the Kyung Wha Chung performance, it is because I'm not too impressed by Solti's orchestral direction on this occasion, even though I greatly admire much of his work.
Perlman gives a fine performance, but I generally avvoid his recordings, simply because the violinist always insists on close-miking his violin. We hear what he hears in the concert hall, rather than what the audience hears.
It is a rather unEnglish performance but in many ways I really like that - Perlman treats it as a great romantic concerto in the Brahms class and I imagine that is why it won prizes abroad . Forgot the Chung I am rather fond of that one too !
I was surprised to see how many versions I have collected over the years:
Ida Haendel, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Adrian Boult
Hugh Bean, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Charles Groves
Alfredo Campoli, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Adrian Boult
Jascha Heifetz, London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Malcolm Sargent
Albert Sammons, New Queen's Hall Orchestra, Sir Henry Wood
Nigel Kennedy, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley
Yehudi Menuhin, London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Edward Elgar
I first heard it live with Alfredo Campoli and the Brighton Philharmonic under Herbert Menges at the Dome in Brighton. Not long after I heard him again at Dorking Halls with Norman del Mar and the LPO and knew by then it was a magnificent work. I heard Menuhin once with Boult at a concert to raise funds for the EE Birthplace and sadly his intonation was very hit and miss by then. Ida Haendel played it with Groves at one of my first Proms. I heard Hugh Bean play the work twice. I did much love Nige at the Proms about three years ago. I think that Bean, Campoli and Haendel are my favourite recordings. I have heard great things of Ehnes but there are limited hours for hearing everything that I would like to.
Yes, poor old "Alf" was initially interned as an alien (Italian, of course) when the 2nd World War broke out and used his time inside practicing and learning the core concerto repertoire. He went inside as a dance and jazz band leeader and came out as a virtuoso violinist. Soon however he became a stalwart of troop entertainmant with ENSA. He was the first British violinist to be allowed to play in the USSR after the war. Alfredo Campoli (it was his real name) was the proud owner of two Stradivarius violins, the Baillot-Pommerau of 1694 and the Dragonetti of 1700."Originally posted by JFLL"
Yes, I remember my father claiming (probably tongue-in-cheek) that he was really named Alf Camp and used to play in a cafe in Birmingham.