Essential Listening cd's

September 30, 2008 at 05:13 PM · As parents who are not musicians, we need recommendations of essential pieces/cd's/recordings that you believe would enhance the ear and broaden the musical knowledge of our gifted violinist son. We would appreciate your input very much! Thanks!

Replies (39)

September 30, 2008 at 07:51 PM · Where to begin? At least in the violin department, you should be sure to get him recordings of the Bach Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin. Of the classic interpretations, Szeryng and Milstein are the gold standard. A new recording by Ilya Kaler for Naxos is also excellent. For the A-415 crowd (period performance), Rachel Podger or Lucy van Dael are very good. You also need recordings of the major violin concerti, e.g., Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelsohn, Bruch, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak. Beyond that, there is so much else both violin-specific, and more general, that I will leave it to others to suggest.

September 30, 2008 at 05:45 PM · Cynthia - how old is your son?

Lots of starter ideas in the post above, but I would also say that getting hold of some DVDs of people like Oistrakh, Milstein, Maxim Vengerov, Gil Shaham, the wonderful "Art of Violin" documentary, Heifetz of course etc etc would be a fantastic gift for your son. I personally have always found it inspiring to watch great violinists as well as listen to them.

September 30, 2008 at 08:43 PM · Hi, I'm 15, so I think I can kind of help you from your son's point of view better than others.

Personally, I dont really like listening to old recordings. The only one's I have are Vitali Chaconne by Heifitz, and the Sonatas and Partitas by Milstien.

First of all, Does your son have an ipod? I dont buy cds or anything, I use Itunes, this is much easier... If I only want one song from an album, I'll get it. Many modern artists like Janine Jansen, Joshua Bell and Sarah chang have music videos, and you can see them play.

Soloists I have albums from and love are: Janine Jansen, Hilary Hahn, Sarah chang, Joshua bell, and I have the cello suites from Anne Gastinel. I have the Sibelius, Bruch, Mendelssohn, Elgar and tons of others. By listening to these recording they help me learn the pieces better, listen to how others play it. I wouldnt have picked up half these pieces without hearing these.

September 30, 2008 at 08:43 PM · Hi, I'm 15, so I think I can kind of help you from your son's point of view better than others.

Personally, I dont really like listening to old recordings. The only one's I have are Vitali Chaconne by Heifitz, and the Sonatas and Partitas by Milstien.

First of all, Does your son have an ipod? I dont buy cds or anything, I use Itunes, this is much easier... If I only want one song from an album, I'll get it. Many modern artists like Janine Jansen, Joshua Bell and Sarah chang have music videos, and you can see them play.

Soloists I have albums from and love are: Janine Jansen, Hilary Hahn, Sarah chang, Joshua bell, and I have the cello suites from Anne Gastinel. I have the Sibelius, Bruch, Mendelssohn, Elgar and tons of others. By listening to these recording they help me learn the pieces better, listen to how others play it. I wouldnt have picked up half these pieces without hearing these.

September 30, 2008 at 10:09 PM · No offense intended, but I do not think that it would be a good idea to listen only to contemporary players. Ah, youth.

Heifetz (if you must)

Milstein

Oistrakh

Grumiaux

for starters

September 30, 2008 at 10:30 PM · I remember one of the first purchases I made was a 3 cd set of Itzhak Perlman's with the Brahms, Bruch 1, Beethoven, Paganini 1, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky concertos. These works are amazing and so is Perlman. The recordings are from the late 70's, back when Perlman used to play fast notes, as he says...

September 30, 2008 at 10:28 PM · Greetings,

indeed Scott. I was recently reading a Phd from someone who interviewed some of the best teahcer and players on the scene today. They were unanimous in advising everyny to study and try to understand the schools of playing and how they affect contemporary technique.

The greta players of today always acknowledge their debt to the past never mind the regerts aboutt hinsg that are no longer in demand to such a degree but are so much a part of the complete art of playing.

To advocate this kind of blind ignorance is rather sad.

Cheers,

Buri

September 30, 2008 at 11:00 PM · Greetings,

sorry. I`m back. Got to be careful not to allow our violinism to cloud the actual question.

One of the common demoniators behind the listening of almost all the truly great players is extensive exposure to singing and or opera. The violin s about singing, of expressing the core of our humanity as we do through our voice.

Emil Chussodovsky state da while back that he was very influenced sound wise by the early reocrding of Pavarotti. Oistrakh and Milstein cite Chaliapin if you can still get his recordings. Also Caruso, Rosa Ponsella and the early Callas recordings. Also listen to Casals, Rubenstain and otehr greta musicians.

Violnists to liswtne to over and over, the list is endless from all generations.

Milstein, Heifetz, Oitrakh, Szeryng, Thibaud, FRancescatti, Kogan, Menuhin, Stern, Mutter, Neveue, Enesco, Rabin, Hubermann, Seidel, Ehnes, Fischer...

As a rule of thumb, if their mane is remembered they have something to teach us....;)

Cheers,

Buri

September 30, 2008 at 11:34 PM · Greetings,

>As a rule of thumb, if their mane is remembered they have something to teach us....;)

and that`s just the horses....

Cheers,

Buri

October 1, 2008 at 02:16 AM · Buri said:

"The greta players of today always acknowledge their debt to the past never mind the regerts aboutt hinsg that are no longer in demand to such a degree but are so much a part of the complete art of playing.

To advocate this kind of blind ignorance is rather sad."

Yes, but this young feller still has time. He's only 15 years old. Thank you for your erudite reply, manely.

October 1, 2008 at 03:05 AM · Buri,

That's very good advice about listening to singers. One of the great musical lessons for me was going to the MET on Sunday's and buying a $5 standing ticket and hearing the great singers. Schwarzkopf came to the school where I was studying and gave a class, that was the best violin masterclass I ever attended and it was being taught by a singer.

Cheers,

Craig

October 1, 2008 at 03:55 AM · I'm a little bit sympathetic to Paul G. on this. The great players in that list, they came up listening mainly or only to their contemporaries, you know.

I listened to your boy on his blog. Nice player.

Don't you hate it when a poster gets something started, then never returns?

October 1, 2008 at 04:09 AM · Greetings,

Jim, it is not a question of clearly defined generations. Is ASM a contemporary violnist? How about Perlman? Maybe we can classify people on a sliding scale from prime of life to a tad moribund?

In many cases the recordings of dead players have yet to be surpassed by todays players - a few simple comparisons such as Milstein/Chang in the GOldmark make this painfully obvoius. There is so much to be learnt from players of yesteryear whihc is somewhat diffefernt to what one often hears today; certain kinds of sounds one no longer hears; ways of using and not using vibrato and so on. I belive that by understaniding and appeciating these that one can see how far violin playing has mproved in terms of mechanical efificnecy and scholarship while getting a well rounded picture of what the art of violin playing is.

For me, being a violnist means being immersed in the isntrument intotal and the legacy of yesterdays players is as important for muscila and artistic development as listening to todays equally fine greats. My experience of players who dismiss older recordings on the basis of an intellectual position (obviously modern is better) have never listened to theblikes of Oistrakh or Kogan and lack something in their playing concomitant with their lack of curiosity and un\dertsanding of the insturment.

Cheers,

Buri

October 1, 2008 at 05:00 AM · Well, it's interesting. By contemporary obviously I meant the people they could hear live, since there weren't a lot of recordings. The great old players in that list (and their fans) didn't have the chance to believe the apogee of violin playing was four generations previous, or even to be directly influenced by those players, because they never heard them. That's heavy.

October 1, 2008 at 05:03 AM · Greetings,

I think it is a very good point you raise. It brings up many interesting trains of thought.

I find the time element a bit of a red herring though. There are greta violinsts today and yesteryear. I think there was a kind of cut off point (maybe very fuzzy) in which certain elements of playing shifted. Perhaps some of the factors involved (in no order of significance) might be the switch to synthetic stringts; changes in transportation with increase dpresusre to perform; clearly defined schools or styles; change in interpretive emphasis; loss of highly individual sounds; increased focus on technical perfection as an end in itslef etc. You know all this stuff.

A lot has been gained and a lot has been lost. I think todays greta players are conscious of ths and are getting some of these elemnts back while adding others. In a hundred years time there is going to be so much good stuff to listen to its unimaginable.

But I still find the situation to be that we still pick out player sof the past for very specific things like Oistraks bow control, Kreilers vibrato rather than modern players. Why should this be?

I go to hear todays greats and I get one kind of thing from them and its marvellous. I put on Kogan playing the Beethoven cadenza for the firts moveemnt and blown away by the explosion of sound he beat out of his poor little del Gesu; Elman`s unrewl sound , Szigeti playing the Brahmsor Huberman at his best. You won`t hear that on stage these days. They are timelss in terms of art and a true violnist feels this stuff very deeply I think.

Cheers,

Buri

October 1, 2008 at 05:39 AM · The things you say you won't hear today, maybe you won't. Personally I think you hear stuff equally as powerful from today's players. And you know beauty is in the ear of the beholder, what we've come to appreciate by whatever route. I don't subscribe to the objectivist school. Maybe you can formulate some of this into a nice question for ASM? All I want to ask is does she want to go to Alaska with me on my motorcycle and does she like camping.

October 1, 2008 at 05:52 AM · Greetings,

Jim, not arguing today is lesser. I actually prefer Podger and Manze in a lot of reprtoire s just one case in point. But it is different in many respects. So why decide to listen to one side of a somewhat dubious divide? Es@pecially when there is so much to learn from older players.

That is what I have bene struggling t express.

Cheers,

Buri

PS If you get to Alaska I belive that qualifies you for the vice presidency of the Republican part- assuming its not cloudy.

Politics ain`t what they used to be either.

October 1, 2008 at 07:06 AM · Somebody's been watching CNN.

Yes, there may be lot of something to learn from the older players, but if you wanted to follow their example, you'd listen only to contemporary players :))

October 1, 2008 at 07:01 AM · Buri,

You got me thinking about singers and how they influence us. Especially when you mentioned Chaliapin. Galamian heard him up close and was surprised to hear how he was exaggerating his consonants. Thats so his voice would carry farther in the hall. Galamian always prescribed alot of martele, in my case Kreutzer #7 the first summer, for that reason.

Cheers,

Craig

October 1, 2008 at 11:42 AM · Perhaps Cynthia can provide recordings of other gifted children for her son to listen to. (And in the spirit of things, these gifted violinists could be drawn from all parts of the last 100 + years).

Maybe a gifted child violinist would be thrilled to hear other gifted youngsters such as, in no particular order, Menuhin, Heifetz, Haendel, Rabin, Chang, Hanslip, Midori, and Mutter. (Not a complete list, of course).

Also, it is good to listen to a big variety of Classical Music, not just violin playing. I would recommend a Naxos subscription. It is dirt cheap, but they have a huge, really huge, selection of recordings to listen to. Lots to explore. Have fun!

October 1, 2008 at 12:42 PM · Hi, and thanks much for all the suggestions. We get cd's from the library to listen to, but I usually just pick out anything with violin on it. So having specific artists or pieces to follow up on are great. He doesn't have an ipod, nor have we yet ventured into this realm, however I was thinking we might get him some sound reducing earphones to plug into the stereo for Christmas so he can get that feeling of really being "in" the music. I think he would also enjoy listening to gifted kid musicians such as Anne suggested. The only recording/cd like this we know of is the Sarah Chang one. Does anyone know of any others?

Thanks a million,

Cynthia

October 1, 2008 at 01:07 PM · Back to the question, please, people. :) Dear,Parents, Please consider a collection of great symphonies and string quartets. Do not neglect some music from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. And don't forget some great fiddle masters and ethnic musics that use stringed instruments. Sue

October 1, 2008 at 01:24 PM · Cynthia,

The Gramophone recommended recordings is a good starting point.

Craig

October 1, 2008 at 05:08 PM · Cynthia, Midori was one of the most astonishingly gifted child violinists of this generation. She is an adult now, and still enjoys a great career. This is my favorite Midori story, from Judith Kogan's book "Nothing But The Best":

[This relates the story of Midori's Aspen audition, at the age of eight]

"'What do you have' one of the teachers asked.

Midori didn't understand. Another teacher on the panel was Japanese. He repeated the question in Japanese.

'Bach Chaconne,' she responded, placed her miniature violin under her chin and tore through one of the most subtle and intricate works in the violin literature.

'What next' one of the teachers asked.

'Paganini caprice,' Midori said. Paganini wrote twenty-four caprices for the violin. They are technical demons, the ultimate challenges in the violin literature.

'Which do you want to play?' the Japanese teacher asked.

'Which do you want to hear?' Midori responded innocently. She had all twenty-four at her fingertips. She played number seventeen, the hardest of all, and didn't miss a note." (p. 71)

Anne Sophie Mutter is another violinist that was just amazing as a child. Her recording of the Mozart G Major concerto she made with von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic is beautiful. She was around 14, I think.

Another CD to consider is "Michael Rabin: The Early Years". Rabin was considered Galamian's greatest student, and was so talented, but, sadly, died long ago. This CD has the selected Paganini Caprices he recorded when he was about 14. There are also selected recordings by Ossy Renardy, another gifted violinist, on this CD.

Yehudi Menuhin was one of the most gifted young violinists, ever. If you get a Naxos subscription, you can listen to his recording of the Elgar Violin Concerto (one of the toughest concertos in the repertoire) that he made at 16, with Elgar himself conducting. Perfect, lovely playing.

October 1, 2008 at 04:17 PM · Hilary Hahn hasn't been mentioned yet. She's marvelous - if your library has an extended system (ie - multiple branches), try and request anything and everything she has recorded. And, in regards to this comment you made:

>We get cd's from the library to listen to, but I usually just pick out anything with violin on it.

I have to say, this is a great thing to do. Especially compilation CDs, as they will expose you to lots of artists and a variety of pieces, although you'll find the more generic "romantic music" or "mood music" or "classics we all love" kind of CDs to quickly get repetitive. I work in a library and I've searched the library system's database with words like "concerto" or "sonata" or simply put in the artist's name, and I've picked up easily two dozen new musicians and lesser-known composers and pieces by doing this.

Hilary Hahn has got a nifty website and blog as well - and it's geared for readers of all ages (and she has a marvelous DVD out - might be worth checking your library's catalog for that as well). She makes a real effort to keep classical music accessible to young people, and I really admire that in an artist.

I also second picking up a copy of ART OF THE VIOLIN. An invaluable glimpse into virtuosos through the years, and once again, here is Hilary, offering her opinion, as a young musician, on her thoughts about the grand masters.

October 1, 2008 at 04:47 PM · I remember being glued to Aaron Rosand's Sarasate as a little kid....

October 1, 2008 at 11:04 PM · Greetings,

I don`t think its been mentioned but I`m too lazy to look.

But, if you go on youtube the resources are so huge its unbelievable.

I strongly recommend doing a search for Maxim Vengerov, Anne Sophie Mutter, Heifetz and Yehudi Menuhin playing anything.

Cheer,s

Buri

Buri

October 2, 2008 at 01:23 AM · Thanks for the reminder, Mr. Buri! I entered the search term "Grumiaux" on Youtoobe and was amply rewarded!

Cynthia and anyone else who hasn't heard it, the very best rendition of the Brahms Concerto I have ever heard (in my humble opinion) is still available for free on my server. Arthur Grumiaux, 1958, with the Concertgebuow Orchestra, until recently made of unobtanium. These are good quality MP3s that I made from my original vinyl record.

1-Allegro non troppo

2-Adagio

3-Allegro giocoso

October 2, 2008 at 04:04 AM · Greetings,

Scott, I have a DVD of Grumiaux playing the Mendelsson whihc I wouldn`t part with for love or prunes. The guy i so naturla and unforced in his playing. Makes quite a few erros too;)

Cheers,

Buri

October 2, 2008 at 05:31 AM · Buri mentioned youtube... If you visit my youtube page you might find lots of great performances there from the past and present. Besides my uploads and favorites, click on playlist and open any folder you like. I cteated it for my students. My user's name is ritaviolin.

October 2, 2008 at 06:38 AM · Greetings,

Rita, I`mseriously computer challenged. How would one go about finding your home page kind of thing. I typed youtube ritaviolin in variouscombinations but ended up with gobbledygook,

Cheers,

Buri

October 2, 2008 at 08:26 AM · easy-

http://www.youtube.com/ritaviolin

October 2, 2008 at 09:28 AM · Hmmm.........I couldn't get this to work either........

Cynthia

October 2, 2008 at 10:20 AM · That was gobbledygook. I'll try again. If this doesn't fix it it's broken.

http://www.youtube.com/ritaviolin

October 2, 2008 at 10:16 AM · I got to lots of Spivakov by first going to http://fr.youtube.com/ then typing ritaviolin in the box and clicking on "rechercher".

Try http://www.youtube.com/user/ritaviolin

October 2, 2008 at 11:02 AM · Hi, In my humble opinion, you should defenitively get some Oistrakh recordings and you will understand all those who are in love with his playing. He has the sound power and the sweetness to attract every child's head especially if your son like music... A WARNING though, Oistrakh is also reknown to have extraordinairy performances of modern Russian composers like Scostakovich, Katchaturian etc I would not recommand these to your child at all. Why? In my opinion, this music is not as melodic than the usual repertoire. In some places, you almost think it is atonal (that means in simple words that the listener has a hard time to figure out the logical order of the musical progression through the piece because there are often notes that your ear don't expect to hear because they don't really "go" toghether... Those who analyse music say that this music expresses the dark side of humanity and the revolt of the composers who lived...in the opressing URSS. So, it is really powerful and sounds like a battle... It can be pretty wierd if you listen to such pieces first) A child needs to listen to melodies to be INTERSETED. Things that have a lot of rythmic and that are entertaining. (ask your selfe, is this entertaining, do I feel as if I would like to dance or clap hands... and there you go) For titles I would defenitely recommand you the four seasons of Vivaldi, the Mozart concertos, the Mendelshon concerto, the Tchaikovsky concerto, the Dvorak concerto, the Beethoven concerto, 3rd mvt of the Brahms concerto, Sibelius concerto, Bach concertos (to not confuse with the partitas)

Vivaldi consertos. For little piece (I mean that are not a whole concerto) I would suggest the Polonaise by Wieniawski, Zigeunerweisen by sarasate, Caprice basque by Sarasate, Chacone by vitali (very melodic!)Devil trill sonata by Tartini (don't be afraid of the name! It is musical and with rythme even if there is virtuosity) and your kid will get more melancolic or to make him sleep, think about the Nocturne by Chopin in C sharp!

That's it and if anyone have other titles to suggest, it would be great!

Anne-Marie

October 2, 2008 at 01:57 PM · For short pieces, I recommend the Encores collection by Perlman. It's a double CD, avail at Amazon.

October 2, 2008 at 02:20 PM · Buri done wrote:

"Scott, I have a DVD of Grumiaux playing the Mendelsson whihc I wouldn`t part with for love or prunes. The guy i so naturla and unforced in his playing. Makes quite a few erros too;)"

I have that too, and to tell the truth, it was a revelation to me, as one who never quite "got" that concerto. A.G. has such unforced (as you say) soul, a kind of dignified passion. Impossible to describe. As they say, writing about music is like dancing about architecture! And, of course, Eros is not only the Goddess of Love, but also of creativity. :-)

October 3, 2008 at 05:08 AM · Buri, sorry... I didn't show the link (actually somebody put it here already):

http://www.youtube.com/user/ritaviolin

Hope you all enjoy it!

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