The Flying Inkpot — Menuhin, Monteux, Enescu — Bach Violin Concertos — NAXOS Historical
|Johann Sebastian BACH
(1685-1750)Violin Concertos, Andante from the Second Sonata for Solo Violin.
Yehudi Menuhin, violin, Adolf Busch, violin
Ward Marston, archivist and restoration producer
If I were an audiophile collector very concerned about the way my music sounds, I would say Marston, if I already owned the CD I’d probably spend my money some place else (probably one of the other Naxos Historicals). If you don’t already have the CD, I say get the Naxos, because of the price and the better sound. The fillers are different, by the way. The Naxos has the Andante from the second sonata for solo violin, the EMI is filled out with the great Chaconne.
With the transfer out of the way, let’s talk about the performances. Young Yehudi Menuhin (right) was only 16 when he recorded the double concerto with Enescu in 1932 — too young, perhaps, but still he still has clear ideas about where the music should go. Enescu was quite subservient in the second violin part, and Monteux as always had a clear grasp on the music, making this a comparatively Classical interpretation.
In the A minor, recorded the latest in 1936, Menuhin was 20, and his increased experience shows — his playing is dramatic and full of thrust. Enescu’s accompaniment is not the strongest, though definitely more than competent — his approach is best in the slow movements. The E major fares well too, with Enescu’s Romantic and emphatic accompaniment serving well as a foil for Menuhin’s more straightforward interpretation. As always, Menuhin’s sweet and “interesting” (as Perlman put it) tone adds a songful and human dimension to the music. The E major Adagio is mournfully impassioned and soulful.
If you are interested at all in Menuhin’s performances, you should try to get this. The Bath Festival Orchestra recordings (with Christian Ferras) are very good too, and one of my favourite sets. The filler, the Andante from the Second Sonata, is a good choice, but I think I would have preferred the Chaconne. Still, this is a set you probably shouldn’t pass up — use the money you save to buy the other Naxos Historical CD with Menuhin’s Sonatas and Partitas, where you can find the Chaconne. Excellent notes by Tully Potter.
In Singapore, Naxos CDs may be bought most cheaply from Sing Music at #02-75 Lucky Plaza . Call Doris for help at (+65)62358960. They also take multiple orders and can supply Hyperion and many other small labels. 10% discount if you mention The Flying Inkpot.