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What are your favorite YouTube violin recordings? (video)

Sal Peralta

Written by
Published: November 26, 2014 at 12:01 AM [UTC]

I am not a professional musician. My first exposure to the violin was by taking up the instrument while my daughter was studying the violin using the Suzuki method.

As a student and someone with new exposure to the violin, I have to say: What a wonderful time it is to be a violinist and a fan of classical music!

More than at any other time in human history, we have access to great music performed by a variety of artists in venues around the world. With so much music at our fingertips, it begs the question: What are your favorite recordings?

Please use the comments to link to your own faves!

I'll start the conversation by posting a few of my own favorites for your listening (and viewing) pleasure:

Maxim Vengerov - Sibelius Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47

One of my favorite concertos. I have seen it performed live by Jushua Bell and some others but I am pretty sure that this version by Maxim Vengerov has spoiled me for other artistic interpretations.

Hilary Hahn, Partita No. 2 Gigue in D minor, Bach

This was Hahn's encore following her German debut with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. It was the first piece of music that made me weep with joy at seeing a young teenager perform with such poise and talent.

Nicola Benedetti - St. Saens, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso

There are versions of this out there by more accomplished violinists such as Heifetz, Isaac Stern, Perlman, Jansen, Joshua Bell and Maxim Vengerov, but Benedetti's version the one that made me fall in love with the piece.

Itzhak Perlman - Tchaikovsky - Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 3

There are very few versions of this wonderful concerto that I do not enjoy (unlike Sibelius), but this version by Perlman is wonderful. Perlman's confidence and humility really shine through in this recording.

Joshua Bell - Beethoven Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61

This concerto is very well-suited to Bell's unique playing style and energy. Plus, what's not to like about the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields?

Hilary Hahn - Paganini Caprice 24

One commenter on Youtube called this the best 12 minutes of her life. 'Nuff said.

Yehudi Menuhin & David Oistrakh - Bach Double Violin Concerto in D minor BWV 1043

It's really a treat to see video of these two greats performing such a lovely piece of music.

Hilary Hahn - Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor, Op 64

There are very few professional versions of this concerto that I don't adore, but for me Hahn edges out Heifetz as my fave.

From A. O.
Posted on November 26, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Showed off each voice in the piece very clearly, which for me makes it more exciting than the extremely fast Kristof Barati version here:

One of my favourite pieces played in 3 lovely ways:

Ave Maria by



Young Jascha Heifetz:

On Wings of Song by Mendelssohn, played by Young Jascha Heifetz:

My all time favourite is Bach Chaconne by Heifetz!

Young Heifetz: Part 1

Part 2:

This one is much more energetic and sounds much better in my book, especially the chords.

Old Heifetz:

My #1 video when I want be excited or see a plain gut e string in action!

From Gene Huang
Posted on November 26, 2014 at 2:32 AM
It was Anne Akiko Meyers' Mendelssohn on YouTube (and seeing her live in recital) that inspired me to pick up my violin again a few years ago...

From Peter Williamson
Posted on November 26, 2014 at 11:38 AM
Here's a selection of mine

Another take on Hilary Hahn's Erlkonig. Words fail me in trying to describe this - agree totally with A.S. above, and more...

Beethoven from Francescatti and Mitropoulos
The best account of the orchestral part I've ever heard. Francescatti is pretty good too..... Elysian.

King David in Shostakovich. No comment necessary - the intensity in the big cadenza is almost frightening!

Two Oistrakhs in Sarasate. Interesting to hear David in this kind of repertoire. The old video quality makes them look like two (perfectly matched) puppets at the beginning! But the playing is no joke

There's also Oistrakh (David) unravelling the 'Labyrinth' somewhere, and Hilary Hahn playing unaccompanied Nielsen as though it's no harder than 'Twinkle'. And much more...

From Sal Peralta
Posted on November 26, 2014 at 3:11 PM
Peter - Yes, I saw HH play the Nielsen concerto in Portland last year and I was stunned at how well she put the whole thing together. I had always found that concerto a bit noisy and asymmetrical until I saw her performance. Really, I came away with an even greater respect for her abilities.

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