Elgar Violin Concerto

February 5, 2005 at 06:49 AM · Along the same lines as the Shostakovich concerto post...

Why isn't this amazing piece performed more often? And why is it so underappreciated?

I would be interested to hear how other people rank this against the standard "greats". It is interesting to note that Zukerman considered this the hardest concerto, partially because of its size and partially because of its emotional intensity.

I have only heard the Nigel Kennedy recording, and part of Hahn's but didn't care to listen to the rest of hers. What are the best recordings?

Replies (20)

February 5, 2005 at 06:53 AM · i dont know why it isnt played more, its a really wonderful piece. I wouldn't quite put it on the level or say, the brahms but i still think its at least as good as most of the standard repetoire. It is very difficult, i havnt played it yet, but ive checked out the score some and it looks pretty hard. Personally, i really like the heifetz recording, although i havnt heard as many as i would have liked.

February 5, 2005 at 06:59 AM · My picks are Albert Sammons and Itzhak Perlman.

February 5, 2005 at 10:46 AM · Young Menuhin's of course is sublime.

February 5, 2005 at 02:27 PM · I would not put it with the absolute top tier, but it is very good. I favor the young Menuhin recording with Elgar conducting on Naxos Historical. I have never heard Sammons but would be interested because he performed (but never recorded) it under Elgar's direction.

February 5, 2005 at 03:31 PM · zukerman

February 5, 2005 at 05:40 PM · Heifez.

February 5, 2005 at 06:46 PM · May I join in? I'm new to Violinist (as of today) and am a huge fan of the Elgar violin concerto. I own at least 20+ different recordings on Lp/CD. I rank young Menuhin, A. Campoli, P. Zukerman (CBS--not the later RCA), Heifetz and Chung as the best, IMO. I know many think highly of both Kennedy recordings. I own some others with artists like Accardo, Igor Oistrakh, Takezawa and D. Sitkovetsky. All interesting, though not all successful, I think. Milstein didn't care for the work, calling it second-rate Brahms, which is harsh, and, I believe, missing the point. Some say you have to understand the British way of life, back then, to comprehend the meaning of the work. Perhaps so. Menuhin felt it reflected a certain lifestyle long gone. It is interesting to me that Kreisler premeiered the work, and it was championed in the USA by the great Albert Spalding. Best to all.

February 6, 2005 at 02:37 AM · sammons, of course, is the classic recording, it is a lot like the heifetz recording, i thought.

February 6, 2005 at 09:52 AM · Greetings,

Owen, good observation, but actually it was the other way around. One of my teacher stsudied with Sammons, and was shown a letter form Heifetz to Sammons congratulating him on his performance of the Elgar and noting that it had been very helpful and inspiring while he learned the work himslef,

Cheers,

Buri

February 6, 2005 at 02:36 PM · I haven't deeply studied this work, but some how I haven't fallen in love with it. I love the Enigma variations, and Songs without words, and ofcourse the CELLO concerto...but the violin concerto just hasn't struck me. Maybe once I get the chance to seriously take a look at it, I'll fall in love with it. But from the score, it looks very difficult...my favorite:D!

February 6, 2005 at 02:47 PM · Sammons, Heifetz, Zukerman. The latter's live performances (I was in the orchestra for his three consecutive performances) are pretty stunning too. His beautiful and HUGE HUGE tone filled up the hall so effortlessly, and his intonation was impecccable for all three nights. The level of consistency this artist is capable of (either during rehearsals or concerts) is truly outstanding.

February 7, 2005 at 02:52 PM · Hi,

Lots of great versions of this piece all listed above...

As to why it is not played more often... well, it's exteremely long. Not that many soloists play it, and with the accompanied cadenza in the last movement, it can be hard to put together. With limited rehearsal times of orchestras, some are reluctant, I think. Great piece though.

Cheers!

February 7, 2005 at 04:22 PM · i love kyung wha chung's recording

did you know the elgar was written for kreisler

February 7, 2005 at 04:35 PM · Zukerman w/ Slatkin

Heifetz (of course)

Perlman (w/Barenboim)

I just heard Hahn's new recording, and I was impressed. However, it does take certain parts of the music to emotional extremes, so this recording obviously isn't for everybody.

Strangely enough, I have Menuhin's recording with Elgar, and it doesn't 'do it' for me. I don't know why.

Zukerman's probably my favorite, though.

February 7, 2005 at 04:35 PM · Zukerman w/ Slatkin

Heifetz (of course)

Perlman (w/Barenboim)

Kennedy (w/Rattle)

I just heard Hahn's new recording, and I was impressed. However, it does take certain parts of the music to emotional extremes, so this recording obviously isn't for everybody.

Strangely enough, I have Menuhin's recording with Elgar, and it doesn't 'do it' for me. I don't know why.

Zukerman's probably my favorite, though.

February 8, 2005 at 03:21 PM · This is such a great piece. Heifetz's record is obviously a masterpiece. I was very influenced by his interpretation when I learned it last year with Friedman. Friedman told me actually that Heifetz did not like the last movement as much as the other movements. He felt it was too long. Although Hilary Hahn's recording is quite different from Heifetz's interpretively I really enjoyed hearing it. Her passage work in the third movement and all throughout the work really is stunning. She deserves all the attention she's getting.

February 9, 2005 at 03:06 AM · I haven't fully formed my impression of this piece, but I find that people either love it or think it's boring.

April 17, 2005 at 01:34 AM · I heard Ida Haendel plays it quite smashingly...i have yet to listen to her recording though

April 17, 2005 at 02:23 AM · After a recent binge of listening to most of the available recordings, I urge everyone who loves this piece to hear the reissue recording by Alfredo Campoli with Boult and the London Philharmonic (on Eloquence). It's a 1955 mono recording, but still sounds fine. Campoli seems to me to put all the right elements together: gorgeous sound, poise, attention to the score, virtuosity when it's called for. And Boult is a certified great Elgarian. There are lots of great recordings of the Elgar, but this is my favorite.

April 20, 2005 at 04:33 AM · im not a violinist. but i heard that elgar violin concerto is quite difficult to conduct the way elgar intended. with many 'various different speed here and there'.by the way , the Cadenza is lovely

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