Yehudi Menuhin was the twentieth century's greatest violinist. As famous as any Hollywood star, he even had songs written about him. A child prodigy, unmatched by his contemporaries, he achieved more by his teens than most artists do in a lifetime. But the man behind the violin was harder to know - his cocooned and curious childhood marked him emotionally for life. Endlessly touring and crossing continents and cultures, the man whose contract with EMI was the longest in the history of the music industry took classical music out of the concert hall because he believed music was for everyone and had the power to change lives.
In the Bach Double Concerto, Sitkovetsky is joined by his uncle Dmitry, and it's fascinating to hear how well matched they are - Alexander (playing the prime part, I assume) having a more refined and slightly brighter sound. Theirs is a stylish performance, too, featuring long lines, flowing tempi and nimble orchestral playing. In fact, despite the awkward name, the New European Strings Chamber Orchestra are a tight-knit band with a handsomely warm sound. Recorded in the Henry Wood Hall, London, in 2002, when Alexander was not yet 20, this disc offers further evidence of a career that could (and should) be spectacular. -- [8/2004]
Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gustav Leonhardt were at the forefront of the early music movement that swept classical music in the ’70s and ’80s, performing pieces from the canon with period instruments in order to re-create the original intent of the composer as closely as possible. And their most enduring legacy is right here, the complete survey of Bach’s sacred cantatas that they began in 1971 and completed in 1988. This body of work has served as a beacon for younger musicians seeking a fuller understanding of Bach’s work, and will forever be regarded as one of the pioneering projects in the history of recording classical music. 60 CDs in all.
Actually, there is a considerable amount of available versions in the market. But just a few possess the radiant sense of expression of Beethovenian pathos. Many connoted interpreters mistakenly play Beethoven just remarking the Romantic mood, without going deep inside the score, and overlooking the fact the genius simply cannot be labeled.