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does anyone else think menuhin sucks?


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I just saw Yehudi Menuhin play on the Arts cable channel, he was

playing Air on the G string by Bach.... he is around 30 in the

video. I just thought it was the most stale,

unemotional playing I've ever heard. I've heard Menuhin

was a prodigy when he was a child, then had some sort of break

down. I wonder why he's considered one of the best

violinists.  I also saw snippets of his playing on the DVD

"the art of playing the violin" and he just seems to be such an

awkward player when compared to the likes of perlman, oistrakh,

heifetz, etc.

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well to contradict my own self, i heard a recording of menuhin

playing the mendelssohn concerto when he was 16 and it was very

good. why he's considered one of the best is beyond me

however.  i'd be interested if anyone has info to share

on how menuhin played when he was young vs. how he played later


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You ought to get your ears checked...

Your post seems to be written to inflame a bit and you might want to tone it down if you didn't intend to, but I'll just give you some recommendations for what to listen to as far as Menuhin goes:

Beethoven Sonaten (as recommended previously by Toscha)

No. 7 w/ Kentner and

No. 10 w/ Gould

Mendelssohn Concerto (1952)

Bach Solo Sonaten (check out the ones he recorded in the 30s or the 50s)

Bruch G (1945 or 1951)

Dvorak (1936 w/ Enescu)

Brahms Sonata 1 (w/ Kentner)

Brahms Sonata 2 (w/ Kentner)

Tzigane (he recorded it when he was 16!)

Elgar (w/ Elgar conducting)

His technique did indeed suffer in his 30s, but that doesn't take away from anything he did in his life. He was a great man--an inspiration, and a brilliant musician.

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my comments are ONLY about  menuhin on how he plays - not who

he is as a person.  i just find his playing  very

ordinary when compared to other great violinists from the same time

frame.  when i've seen videos of him play he stands frozen....

his vibrato is the same for every note and sounds very much

elementary. maybe others should get their ears


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You seem to be demonstrating that you really do have a low opinion of Menuhin and that is your right.

However, the jury is not out on this one. The votes were cast long ago and Menuhin was declared one of the greatest violinists of all time.

Leaving aside his stature on the world stage both inside and outside of music, his mission was to vocalise music and indeed, there is more soul to be found in his interpretations than most.

I heard him play in his seventies and yes, there were wrong notes and shakey bowing but the notes he got right still had the ability to send shivvers up one's spine.

For anyone weaned on the modern generation of wunderkinds emerging from the Julliard coveyer belt, it may be difficult to distinguish between technical virtuosity and musical interpretation and that seems to be the case with you.

If Menuhin had left nothing more than his early recording of the Elgar, he would still be revered and not denigrated in the way you seem to assert.

It's true he did not sway like an elephant when playing and he closed his eyes in intense concentration. If you find these visual characteristics offensive then he is guilty.

Consider yourself naive until you listen to some of the recording suggested by Lymond.

You are currently in a very small minority.

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I don't rank great violinists or any artists (or any scientists) as "who is better than who",

as long as they have been established. They are not some " Joe" pulled out from street.

I enjoyed all Menuhin's performances along with other great violinists.

True, he was not consistent as others (very minor thing) but his personality made it up.

He deserved our great respect.

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What Menuhin did was to make music.

Sure - his technique got worse as he got older, but his musianchip just grew is entire life, and what never diminished was his abillity to communicate that.

And if you appreciate musicmaking you will eventually appreciate Menuhin. Don't worry, one day you will.

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First, I see a few errors in the thread, so I will point out.

Menuhin's first recording of the Mendelssohn concerto was done in 1938 when he was 22, NOT 16. He did record the BRUCH No.1 when he was 15 and the Elgar at 16.

Hey, Lymond, Ferras was a violinist, so, he could not have recorded the Brahms No.2 with Menuhin. He recorded the complete set of sonatas with Kentner in 1956-8. Or did you mean the Bach Double with Menuhin and Ferras? For the Bach Double with Menuhin, the most interesting one is by far the one with Enescu. Sure the recording is old (1932), but Enescu had the most striking musical personality among the violinists Menuhin recorded this work. And also, Enescu was in his prime when he recorded, unlike his later set of the solo sonatas and partitas. By the way, Menuhin/Kentner recording of the Brahms second is a good recording, though I still prefer Busch/Serkin, Kulenkampf/Solti and Hetzel/Deutsch recordings.

If one is used to hearing smooth, sweet and clean violin sound of these days, Menuhin's sound may sound a little abrasive, especially in his later years. However, even at his technical worst, Menuhin's playing had his own personality. It is a distinct style that if one is familiar with his playing, it is immediately recognizable, just like the playings of Kreisler, Heifetz, Thibaud, Gitlis etc. At his best, he was as good as any. His recordings up to about 1940 or so are absolutely staggering violinistically as well as (with a few exceptions) musically. After that, he was not as consistent violinistically, however, his musicianship definitely developed and if one would compare his recordings of the Beethoven or Brahms sonatas from his youth and from 1950s, the later one has more color and depth. Menuhin had a slight tendency to overdrive in his youth, but by 1950s, he became more thoughtful about pacing and let the music to relax when needed.

The other interesting thing about Menuhin is his almost devil-may-care choices of his fingerings. He did not always choose the "logical" fingering. Instead, sometimes he would choose to do "crazy" fingerings in order to achieve the sound he strived for. The risk did not always come off (unlike Heifetz's risk-taking), but when he pulled it off, the results were often stunning. I have studied the Brahms concerto with his fingerings and bowings and was impressed by his creative solutions to passages.

In terms of the playing posture, Menuhin had a beautiful playing posture in his youth. He was not someone who would move around excessively like many of the soloists today. I personally prefer postures like Heifetz, Oistrakh or Thibaud who hardly moved. One should express the musical feeling with their PLAYING, not by acting out!

Liking or not liking a violinist is a personal choice (and there are some fine violinists that I somehow cannot warm up to), but calling one "sucks", I am not so sure. If a violinist really "sucks", he/she would simply not make it to the rank of internationally acclaimed soloists. Menuhin may not have maintained the incredible standard he himself had set back in the 1930s, but he always played with sincerity and honest musicianship, without any affectations.


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Hi everyone!

Well, if you really think Menuhin sucks then you have to

listen to the Paganini Concerto, which is really difficult. If you

think differently then post your playing.

Im posting on speedyshare (the link below) the "CAMPANELLA" from

the Paganini's concerto no.2

Have fun!

The best of the piece starts at 3min45sec....






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Everyone can have an off day or off period,but Yehudi Menuhin

nowhere near sucked or played worse than a third year student.

Everybody has there own opinion, but I think that not only did you

hear an off performance, but you over reacted.Are you as good as a

third year student? Are you as good as Menuhin? I doubt anyone on

this forum is as good as Menuhin.  There are better ways to

voice your opinion. This topic was childish and


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I was honored to hear Menuhin play a rather shaky Bruch when he was in his seventies. The ensuing discussion among my peers and teachers was one I hope never to forget. If I ever name a band The Wire Mothers, I hope I still have enough friends left to get the joke. Menuhin would have.

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Yehudi Menuhin was aware of the progressive deterioration in playing during the second world war period especially around the time of his divorce in 1944. This does not detract from his genius but highlighted his efforts in subsequent research, study and teaching.

"Just as I had married without being prepared for marriage, so I played the violin without being prepared for violin playing, and it was inevitable that, the strain imposed by the breakdown in personal life coinciding with the unprecedented pressures of wartime touring, my lack of preparation would begin to tell. Considering that I played without thinking, without analysis, without, as it were, taking the machine apart for ovehaul, just keeping it running at any cost, my performance stood up remarkably well; but there were times when I knew I wouldn't be able to go on until I understood technique and could recapture that ease I had once possessed without thinking and which was now deserting me."

Yehudi Menuhin in "Unfinished Journey"

Bremkins that is a fine recording from Le Violon du Siècle.


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I know the initiator of this thread wanted to comment only on Menuhin's playing but I find it impossible to separate the playing from the man whose life journey was one of the great inspirations of our our age.

Unlike Heifetz, Menuhin was a multifaceted and fully rounded person who was interested in everything and everyone. His active involvement in other musical traditions (Indian, Hungarian etc) is well known; incidentally, one really should listen to his jazz recordings with Grapelli and 'East Meets West' with Ravi Shankar, but less well known are his efforts behing the scenes to help Russian musicians during the cold war period.

His address to the Israeli Knesset in the 1970s where he proposed a solution to the Arab Israeli conflict was both daring and astonishing showing showing a deep insight into the issues beyond what any politician seems capable of.

Scratchy's comment on his intuitive playing is also fundamental to understanding the man. By the age of 8 he was able to play the entire violin repertoire from memory but had no idea how he could do it. In later life, this led to an internal analysis of technique which he was always eager to share with his students in contrast to many virtuosi who are either unwilling, or unable, to share their knowledge.


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Indeed, Ferras of course did not record Brahms Sonaten with Menuhin, I ought to read my posts before I submit them. Who knows why I typed Ferras there... edited now. In fact, the only Ferras recording I have is of a Brahms Sonata, but No. 1... not No. 2. It's pretty good (although I prefer Menuhin).

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If one were to listen to Menuhin playing Paganini, listen to his recording of the first concerto with Monteux (1934). He was only 18, but he played with maturity and virtuosity of a veteran as well as dashing youthfulness. It is among two of my favorite recordings of the concerto (the other being Gitlis). The other amazing recording is his recording of "Moto Perpetuo" (1934).

But I usually prefer to listen to his recordings of pieces that are not overtly virtuostic. What I really like about his playing is his imaginative way of phrasing that makes the violin "sing", something he inherited from his beloved teacher, Enescu, and sets him apart from fingerboard gymnasts without his musical imagination.


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Originally posted by:

I just saw Yehudi Menuhin play on the Arts cable channel, he was

playing Air on the G string by Bach.... he is around 30 in the

video. I just thought it was the most stale,

unemotional playing I've ever heard.

Gosh, it's been such a long time since we've had a troll on this board! -Steve

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Unlike Heifetz, Menuhin was a multifaceted and fully rounded person who was interested in everything and everyone.

Glen, you should read a little about Mr. Heifetz' life. One of the remarkable things about him was how diverse his interests were. Photography was one of his many other passions. He composed a pop tune recorded by Bing Crosby called "When You Make Love To Me (Don't Make Believe)". He wrote many transcriptions, and was involved in the ecology movement. The list goes on.

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Please add to your list of Heifetz's extramural activities. I'm willing to be convinced.

I've read his biography and noticed a picture of him playing tennis and I know he had a couple of cars converted to run on water or something, but when the chips are down, he was a cold fish compared to Menuhin.

Perlman described him as God, but Menuhin he described as an angel meaning that Heifetz was unapproachable whereas M brought humanity into the presence of the sublime.

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