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does anyone else think menuhin sucks?


xdmitrix420
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Menuhin was certainly did not have the same flawless technique that Milstein and Heifetz had, but I still adore his playing. I absolutely love his recording of the Beethoven Spring Sonata. There is a certain humanizing warmth to his playing, part of which I think is rooted in his not-always-perfect-like-milstein playing. I feel the same way about Kreisler. There's something to be said for interpretation and emotion in the music, beyond just sheer technical brilliance. Also, I really do love his palying of the Bach Chaconne at the end of the "Art of the Violin" movie. Does anyone know from what that clip originates? I'd love to have the rest of the film.

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I think there are times when his playing was not so hot and times when it was sublime. To hear him play in person was a very different experience to hearing a recording.

He did go through a very bad patch with his playing in middle life when he had to pretty much relearn some technique and he admits that his playing during that time was bad. You might find it interesting to read his own words about this in 'An Unfinished Journey', his autobiography. Also as he got older his technique suffered, as it does for many of us.

He was very human, very aware of his own shortcomings and such a generous man. If he made the odd off note here or there I'd forgive him any time.

Lenny

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Steve_W

quote:


Originally posted by:
xdmitrix420

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

Don't be so harsh. I've heard recordings of his that evoked a similar response in myself.

Over the course of his long life he had moments when he was one of the most sublime violinists who ever lived (Elgar violin concerta at age 16, Elgar conducting, Beethoven - Carnegie Hall, live around 1981) and other times he was obviously recorded only because he was Yehudi and people bought his records (Paganini 1[?], a splice of something like 50 takes and still horrible, most of his viola recordings). He was very up and down in his career, but I ahve never thought of him as cold musically, even at his worst. All in all, similar to Stern, he was good for the art, mentored many a young musician, never stopped experimenting and growing and was a very good man.

Perlman is still the benchmark, and even he has had is less than stellar moments, though never to the level of Yehudi.

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Dr. S., it wasn't the content of the post as much as the provocative tone of the title and topic summary that I reacted to. To say "I saw a Menuhin performance that was poor; what's the deal?" is one thing but to say "...Menuhin sucks...Menuhin plays worse than a 3rd-year student" seemed to be an obvious troll.

Speaking of which, the Menuhin recording of the Bach violin concertos with the Bath Festival Orchestra (recorded in the early '60s, I think) has long been one of my favorite classical albums; I particularly love the double violin Cto. with Christian Ferras on 2nd. My copy was on LP and it had been a while since I heard it but recently I found a CD in my local Best Buy that has those concerti plus the Cto. for flute & violin, selling for around $6! Still as nice an interpretation as I remembered! -Steve

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Menuhin always suffered from nerves. I heard him perform live many times, including a memorable performance of the Elgar concerto around the late 60's. He had a tremor which was quite visible in his bowing, and I often noticed that as he prepared to place his bow on the string his right hand would tremble with almost a vibrato-like movement. In spite of this, his Elgar performance was sublime, and he played heroically and flawlessly.

Much later he played a recital in Los Angeles (around '86), and again it was sublimely beautiful, although he was visibly waging a battle with himself.

Somewhere along the way Menuhin's nerves were shattered, and he could never fully recover. I have to say however that out of about 7 or 8 live performances of his which I attended, he always rose to the occasion and played exquisitely. Best, Larry.

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Since this thread was first posted i happened to see a video of the youngish Menuhin playing a Bach Air with orchestra accompaniment on the Arts channel. His legato sound was incredible, especially considering that he was playing only one or two notes per bow stroke - to dominate the recorded sound, I guess (projection you know). The bow changes weere completely inaudible and the bow speed was fantastic - whole bows each ending within about an inch of frog or tip.

That's pretty good playing, in my book! I've not seen anyhone else use the bow quite that way.

It has been interesting to play from parts that Menuhin edited (my copy of the Bruch concerto, for example) to see how he would avoid long 4th finger notes.

Andy

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quote:


. . . he had moments when he was one of the most sublime violinists who ever lived (Elgar violin concerta at age 16, Elgar conducting, Beethoven - Carnegie Hall, live around 1981) and other times he was obviously recorded only because he was Yehudi and people bought his records (Paganini 1[?], a splice of something like 50 takes and still horrible, most of his viola recordings) . . .


I have to put in a word for Menuhin's viola recordings - at least, his Bartok viola concerto. It has moments that are pretty hideous; he plays out of tune, makes ugly noises, and sounds labored sometimes. Beyond that, though, his playing has immense freedom and commitment, and he is kind to the work, noting and covering its weaknesses. It's much more convincing to me than, for example, the Primrose-Serly recording.

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Your comment about the viola concerto recording is interesting. I know Bartok wrote his sonata for unaccompanied violin for Menuhin, so he clearly thought Menuhin had a special commitment to his music. I do not know if the viola concerto was written for anyone in particular. I would suggest anyone who thinks ill of Menuhin should not only listen to the recordings suggested, as well as his recordings of Bartok's violin concertos and sonata for unaccompanied violin, but also see him on the "Art of the Violin" DVD. IMHO, he and Oistrakh are the most impressive on it.

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I could now say "xdmitrix420 sucks" - but I won't. I personally dislike some of Menuhin's interpretations, and I like others very much. I dislike (disagree if you prefer), but I don't disrespect, and thus I'd say "I don't like Menuhin's recording of the Kreutzer Sonata with his sister", but I'd never say "it sucks". Not about the interpretation and far much less about the person.

As a non native english speaker I probably find the term "sucks" more insulting than it is in reality, anyway, I would never ever use it in conjunction with a person. IMO "Windows sucks" is (well..) ok, "Bill Gates sucks" is not and will never be.

Should this now sound as if I am trying to defend Menuhin, then my apologies - Menuhin does not need any defense, especially not mine

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quote:


i'd be interested if anyone has info to share on how menuhin played when he was young vs. how he played later on.

An old friend of mine (a retired opera singer) told me (in the late 1970's) that she had heard Menuhin when he was a child. She said that there had never been anyone like him since -- that he was phenomenal. She said that as a young man, he was driven to analyze what he did in his playing, and in analyzing it, he lost the ability to play in the sublime way he had as a child. The quote above from his book seems to confirm this.

I heard and met him in 1973 or so. I thought he was ok as a violinist, but I was really impressed with him as a person. He was a gentleman and very friendly. I shook his hand, and didn't want to wash it afterwards! I've read some of his writings in the years since then, and agree that he was an incredible human being.

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  • 2 weeks later...

quote:


Originally posted by:
D_A

He was a gentleman and very friendly. I shook his hand, and didn't want to wash it afterwards!

As soon as I was old enough to be able to pick up a record and place it on the player, I would constantly play Menuhins recordings and pester my parents to let me start learning the violin (I was later on, of course, crushed to discover I didn't have his talent).

Eventually Menuhin gave a concert in my home town, which my parents of course took me to and with the help of a friendly theater manager got me to the front of the mass of people waiting for autographs later. I can still remember him bending down to shake my hand and saying "what a sweet little boy". My mother also tells me I refused to wash that hand afterwards and kept saying in wonderment "he shook my bow hand!".

He was a great man.

Rob

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

If you listen to very early recordings of Yehudi, you'll be very shocked to hear how amazing he really was. Unfortunately, he was so gifted that his teacher had him playing lots of repertoire, but not working on scales, etudes, finger exercises, etc. and as such, when he got older, his technique started falling apart. I've been teaching for 20 years now, and have heard some amazing prodigies. I find that if a teacher doesn't have a prodigy work on scales and etudes, thinking that they don't need it, it usually comes back to haunt them when they get older. This is what happened to Yehudi. Persinger was a wonderful teacher, but he taught music (repertoire and interpritation), but had Yehudi studied with someone like Carl Flesch, he would have remained in good form for a longer period of time. I highly recommend everyone read Carl Flesch's Memoirs...it's one of the most fantastic books by and on violinists that I've read...and I've read many. After reading this book, you'll be so amazed at so many things concerning violinists that we all know and love. It's very eye opening, and I think every conservatory should have it made available to all string players and pianists. (If I've made any spelling errors, please forgive them).

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Hi all,

Ideally, a student should have two teachers, at elementary level, one teacher at advnaced level another. Some teachers are good to teach students of advanced level but not for students of elementary level, and many are just for elementary but do great jobs. Otherwise, either

the teacher gets frustrated or the student. Neither is good.

I thought Mennuhin's teacher was by the name of Necesco (sp? )

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Hi Stillnew,

You are right. I got my advanced teacher first. He did not like me at all and

scolded me a lot. (strict violinist)

At my later years, I took lessons from elementary teahcers, I got frustrated.

She kept teaching me kids' stuff. (a nice lady)

No kidding. ( My returning playing was the reason)

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try008,

Thus spake the pedagogue.

In his later years, Menuhin was less interested in solo performing and more interested in his many other cultural pursuits. Simple lack of practice was responsible for the technical shortcomings that may have crept into his playing.

Perhaps if teachers today paid more attention to the artistic development of gifted children we wouldn't be faced with the current crop of soulless viruosos.

Who remembers Flesch for his outstanding performances?

Glenn

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quote:


Originally posted by:
GlennYorkPA

In his later years, Menuhin was less interested in solo performing and more interested in his many other cultural pursuits. Simple lack of practice was responsible for the technical shortcomings that may have crept into his playing.

Many musicians I've talked to who performed with him in his later years mention constant tremors he had in his hands... and some have specifically mentioned that the tremors were constant and not limited to onstage (i.e., seemingly not caused by nerves). I have to wonder if he was fighting a neurological problem that he simply did not want to reveal to the public.

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