Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

BARTÓK Violin Concerto No. 2/Violin Sonata No. 1

Menuhin with Philharmonia Orchestra/Furtwangler and Adolph Baller (piano)

Yehudi Menuhin was an influential advocate of Bartok's music and there are seven versions of the 2nd concerto extant. This from 1953, with Walter Legge's Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by the great Furtwangler, is not one to be passed by, though collectors will want also a more modern recording of a great concerto which has achieved a lasting place in the repertoire.

But for me it is the miraculous recording of one of my favourite Bartok works, the first and more elaborate and exploratory of his two violin sonatas, that makes this reissue imperative. The miracle is this perfect token of Menuhin's 15 years partnership with pianist Adolph Baller (1909-1998), who had all his fingers crushed deliberately for being a Jewish pianist whilst under Nazi internment in Austria, but recovered and escaped to Budapest, and then America, where he had a long and distinguished career...

Theirs was a great partnership and here it is blessed by perfectly balanced recording (RCA, 1947) produced and restored by the best in the business, Mark Obert-Thorn. Full historical notes by Colin Anderson enhance the value of this historical CD in the Naxos Great Violinists series. Don't miss it.

Peter Grahame Woolf