Sorry for the long radio silence. However, I was listening to the radio yesterday and this version of the Double Violin Concerto in D minor, BWV 1043 by JS Bach came on and I sat in my car in a hot parking lot listening to it. It’s from a forty year old EMI recording with violinists Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman with Daniel Barenboim conducting the English Chamber Orchestra. I’ve been limiting my posts to videos of live performances but sometimes classic recordings should be given their due and this is certainly a classic. Even though I posted a version with Oistrakh and Menuhin before, I just had to share this.
It has been a rather tragic week around the world. Here is the incomparable Herbert von Karajan conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Vienna Singverein in a 1986 rendition of Mozart’s Requiem.
The third movement of Felix Mendelssohn’s violin concerto played by Swedish prodigy Daniel Lozakovitj at age 10 with the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in 2011.
Here is the version by international superstar and former violin prodigy Sarah Chang with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic in 1995 when she was about 15.
English Composer Frederick Delius’s Piano Concerto in C minor, played by Justin Bird with the Indiana University (ad hoc) Orchestra.
Bohemian (as from Bohemia, not lifestyle) composer Bedrich Smetana’s Symphonic Poem The Moldau, transcribed for harp, and played by Valerie Milot. This is Smetana’s evocation of the sounds of the Vltava or Moldau river.
The first movement of Beethoven’s Violin and Piano Sonata No.5, Op. 24, dubbed the Spring Sonata, played by Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich. I was fortunate enough to attend a concert by Kremer in the 1980’s. I don’t think I really understood what great musicianship was, as opposed to virtuosity, until that concert. For Kremer, every note is part of a bigger whole. In this video, it is not clear that Kremer and Argerich are on the same page though.
Below is the whole thing with Anne Sophie Mutter and Lambert Orkis, which has better balance.
The great Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter playing Beethoven’s last piano sonata, No. 32 in C minor, Op 111, which really pushed the boundaries of music at that time. Beethoven was completely deaf when he composed it. Richter was considered to be a musical genius; he was admired by Glenn Gould. Richter also insisted that American pianist Van Cliburn should be the winner of the first International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958. It was a controversial decision to say the least but Richter prevailed and that moment still resonates both musically and and geopolitically. It certainly launched Cliburn’s career and one could argue that it laid a path to the end of the cold war. Music can matter.