25 Essential Beethoven Recordings: The Violin Concerto

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Itzhak Perlman recorded the Beethoven Violin Concerto in 1981, when he was in his remarkable playing prime. Everything is melody in this sprightly and lyrical interpretation. The Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Carlo Maria Giulini provide well-meshed support for the violinist's supple tone and elegant form. 

EMI also includes a 1973 recording of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor with the London Symphony Orchestra and André Previn. This recording was reissued in 2010.

For historic comparison, consider Arthur Grumiaux's wonderful version from the 1960s, while for something very 21st century, there's Janine Jansen's incisive 2009 recording with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie.  

Discuss our choice and share your own favorite versions in the comments below.

Beethoven and Mendelssohn Violin Concertos
Itzhak Perlman
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor
Philharmonia Orchestra
Available at Arkivmusic.com


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Comments [2]


I first heard Heifetz' version as a youngster, and I have never heard another that affected me so profoundly. I was into Hendrix and fusion as a middle schooler and had never liked classical music. But when I heard this piece it was so sublime--in composition and performance--I've fell in love with it. (From there I went directly to the symphonies, especially Karl Bohm's 7th which I adore to this day.)

Nov. 27 2012 08:43 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

We fully appreciate the great contributions to music that Itzhak Perlman has made as a violinist extraordinaire and as a teacher at Juilliard with his ebullient warm persona ! Bravo Mr. Perlman ! ART, pictorial, is akin to the aural manifestations. Composers have always been painting in sound, sensing a visual companion to their creations. We, I am an opera composer, often identify the pitches and harmonies with colors. Painters and sculptors often have had music played in the background, live musicians in the days before recordings, to inspire their efforts. This was particularly true of the Romantic era of which Beethoven was creating masterpieces with colleagues such as Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Wolf, von Weber, and Wagner. Beethoven's symphonies, opera, concertos, sonatas, string quartets, overtures, chamber music generally ,and song literature, is so pervasive and his world consciousness and basic humanity construct an icon unparalleled to and past his own era. At Juilliard, I studied his oeuvre and , in those days, all singers learned the concert rep of Beethoven , Schubert , Schumann, Wolf and Grieg, whether they would be opera singers or concert singers . So much of our treasured masterpieces, vocal and instrumental, are unknown quantities to most Americans. THANK YOU WQXR FOR CELEBRATING BEETHOVEN !!! Beethoven's symphonies are the ABCs of most essential single composers' oeuvre of the symphonic literature. Who ever having heard the Waldstein well performed can ever forget its beauty and nuanced scope of emotions. Wagner and his contemporaries and their successors all recognized the epic achievement of Beethoven. I am a romantischer Wagnerian heldentenor and director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute at 418A Main Street, Boonton, NJ . I have sung four solo concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. As part of my Ten Language Solo Debut concert at the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, I sang the Gott ! welch dunkel hier ! aria of Fidelio. it can be heard from the live performance on my three websites, one of which is www.WagnerOpera.com It received rave critical notices in newspapers and magazines. The Beethoven violin concerto is celebrated by its ardent interpreters Heifetz, Menuhin, Itzhak Perlman, Milstein, Elman, David Oistrahk, Francescatti and Paganini. Among the greatest singers famous for their Beethoven performances in opera and concert my voice teachers Alexander Kipnis, Friedrich Schorr, Martial Singher, John Brownlee, and Margarete Matzenauer. Other famous singers with extensive Beethoven "rep" were Kirsten Flagstad, Helge Roswaenge, Heinrich Schlusnus, Ludwig Hoffmann, Josef Greindl, Jon Vickers, and Ludwig Weber.

Nov. 15 2012 12:34 AM

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About Beethoven Awareness Month

No composer impacted the course of Western music like Ludwig van Beethoven. The events of his life are the stuff of Romantic legend, his works permeate concert halls and he remains a cultural icon outside of classical music, turning up in movies, TV soundtracks, commercials and pop songs. Throughout November, WQXR celebrates Beethoven's work through concert broadcasts, multimedia projects, marathons and other features.