Best version of Mendelssohn VC Op 64

November 26, 2005 at 04:02 AM · Hi friends - What's the freshest and most invigorating performance of the Mendelssohn VC Op 64 that you love best? For me, Alfredo Campoli on Beulah with Sir Adrian Boult is the very absolute best! What are your favourite versions?

Replies (40)

November 26, 2005 at 05:17 AM · Jascha Heifetz w/ Boston Symphony

Hilary Hahn

November 26, 2005 at 05:53 AM · 1. Ysaye

2. Early Ricci

3. Hilary Hahn

November 26, 2005 at 06:03 AM · Menuhin - Dorati - 1947 - DVD - Euroarts, out now...

November 26, 2005 at 07:42 AM · My personal favorite:

Nathan Milstein

New York Philharmonic

Bruno Walter, conductor

NY, May 16, 1945

Columbia ML 4001

November 26, 2005 at 01:04 PM · My favorite is Kyung-Wha Chung's recording.

November 27, 2005 at 04:15 PM · Best version for me is the one on the Grumiaux video.

November 27, 2005 at 04:29 PM · definitely Heifetz

November 27, 2005 at 06:05 PM · Hi,

There are many beautiful versions of this masterwork. In addition to the great versions mentioned above, I might add the live Heifetz recording with NY Phil under Toscanini at Carnegie Hall from the 1940's (available on Naxos), the recording by Pinchas Zukerman under Berstein, the Grumiaux studio recording and the recordings by Fritz Kreisler which represent the approach froma different age.

In the case of a work like this, I find that through the versions by almost all major violinists, there is a difference in tone colours of various players, but also great common points in terms of phrase direction and structure.


November 27, 2005 at 06:59 PM · szeryng and perlman are my favorites

I really like midori's recording also - a little rubatos but i love what she does and with a gorgeous tone - this is the recording that put her on the map at least for me

I have videos of chung and milstein both are excellent

November 27, 2005 at 07:06 PM · Do you want comparative historical versions on

the same CD?. Look for an ARKADIA 78576. Has as

the only work 3 versions of this piece:

Heifetz-Beecham (1949)

Milstein-Walter (1945)

0istrakh-Kondrashin (1949)

November 28, 2005 at 05:29 AM · I'm with Gene and like Milstien the best for this piece. His silvery sound suits it pefectly. Milstein made 4 commercial recordings of this concerto. The 1945 version is the most dazzling technically (and can be had at a criminal price with two other great performances on Naxos), by a hair over the two versions from the 50s. But I like to hear his sound up close, so I usually listen to the other two. The version from the 70s with Abbado, is not the equal of these.

The other ones I've heard that are really good are Heifetz (I like the first version best), Francescatti (I slightly perfer the version with Szell, it's got the best sautille in the last movement I've heard), Gitlis (a little wild but quite striking), and Szerying with Dorati. The later Szerying with Haitink is not so good.

And, just to wake people up, a couple I can't stand: Stern/Ozawa - he was long over the hill by this time, and Salerno-Sonnenberg/Schwartz -- it's full of ugly shifts and weak moments technically. I also find it annoyingly slow. Though, nowadays, performace tempi are a lot slower than they used to be

I've never heard Campoli.

November 28, 2005 at 07:15 AM · >I've never heard Campoli.

Go to and do a search for Campoli. You can sample a number of his recordings there. His Mendelssohn is as good as previous posters have said it is.

November 28, 2005 at 08:15 AM · Does Oistrakh have a recording with Ormandy? If so, where is it available and how does it compare with his recording with Kondrashin?

November 28, 2005 at 08:28 AM · For the friends who are looking out for the Campoli, it MUST BE the Boult version on the Beulah label. The Campoli with van Beinum (on the Dutton label) pales by comparison to the Boult version. The label (Beulah) went belly-up but is making a come back. Apparently, Beulah have issued the van Beinum recording. Beulah is an English label. The Boult version comes from an original Decca source 1958 and sounds very well indeed.

November 28, 2005 at 08:32 AM · Yes, Oistrakh had a recording with Ormandy (CBS?) - I have this LP but it was never put onto CD. Have not heard it for years.

November 28, 2005 at 04:00 PM · As always, I think we have at least one vote for every major violinist who has recorded it. The more interesting questions are whether people know of recordings that are awful or of very good recordings by obscure soloists.

November 28, 2005 at 01:44 PM · I got the chung video on ebay i still see it there at times

i forgot to mention the heifetz video is amazing as well

November 28, 2005 at 04:17 PM · I like Milstein and Heifetz for Mendelssohn, haven't heard Oistrakh's recording yet

November 28, 2005 at 07:20 PM · I love Nigel Kennedy's recording and the Oistrakh one. For Heifetz - it's a bit too fast for me, as always. However, there were many great recordings of that concerto, including Perlman, Stern ...

November 28, 2005 at 07:54 PM · I don't feel the Heifetz rendition is too fast. I feel he chose the correct tempo for the last movement. Hilary Hahn also played the last movement with a similar tempo. The Oistrakh recording with Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra did not appeal to me. His intonation was consistantly sharp throughout especially on the first page.

November 28, 2005 at 11:19 PM · I'm guessing that the "too fast" ws referring to the 1st first listening, it is shockingly fast, but after listening a bit you realize that it works the way Heifetz plays it

November 28, 2005 at 11:25 PM · Besides all above versions I like very much Pikaisen's Mendelssohn.

November 28, 2005 at 11:58 PM · I know this is blasphemy, but I don't care for Heifetz's recording. Hilary Hahn's is wonderful...crazy fast, but gorgeous tone. I haven't heard Milstein, but will definitely check it out after all the raves here.

I'll cast my vote for Cho-Liang Lin's as my favorite of those I've heard. It bugs me when musicians run away with the tempo on the triplets in the first movement, and he doesn't.

November 29, 2005 at 12:04 AM · those triplets are so damn hard :(

November 29, 2005 at 03:05 AM · I love Midori's version, definitely. Her tone is ravishing, and the last mvmt is quite elegant. I also like Oistrakh, although sometimes I think he goes just a little too fast in the first mvmt. Vengerov is also quite good, especially the secont mvmt. Hey, just splice these three together and you've got the perfect version. : )

However I have to disagree with a few people who like Hilary Hahn's version; that is my least favorite of all her recordings. I just find her tone too "hard" sounding, without as enough tenderness and pathos, you know. And the tempos are a little crazy. : )

Since I'm learning this piece at the moment, I'm very particular about how it's played. However, I think it is a very intimate work, so there's no one right intepretation.

November 29, 2005 at 03:46 AM · why does it seems like when itzhak perlman and joshua bell play it. They both do a little glide on the first five notes.

and heifetz's one is just plain 5notes.

and it seems like heifetz also played with less vibrado and emotion

heifetz played it fast and clean. but i just don't see how it could be one of the best mendelssohn recording. can someone please explain it to me?

November 29, 2005 at 03:59 AM · Oliver, I can see two approaches to the opening - one of utmost urgency, and one of sorrow. Both of these work very well. Heifetz seemed much more urgent in his playing of it. Perlman almost seems a little too slow for my taste. I like Rabin's tone quite a lot - very warm, focused, clean, and penetrating sound.

November 29, 2005 at 04:24 AM · Wow, so many good recordings of this piece. Here are some of my favorites:


Stern (I forget who is conducting, it's on CBS)



November 29, 2005 at 05:36 AM · seems like violinists now days approach with the sorrow way.

November 29, 2005 at 05:51 AM · the sorrow approach can work, but I think a lot of people go to far, with what is essentially a "simple" melody and way overplay it. drives me crazy!

November 29, 2005 at 06:15 AM · Check out Emil's live Mendelssohn...terrific rendition

November 29, 2005 at 06:24 AM · link by any chance?

November 29, 2005 at 08:51 AM · Hi George Philips - I have the M Rabin - agree with most of your comments about him but his intonation in the cadenza (1st mvt) goes awry. Clearly, you have not heard Campoli with Boult. Campoli trumps every one of the recordings I have (Heifetz, Perlman, Vengerov, Mutter, Chang, Menuhin, Mintz, etc). Sadly it is out of print.

November 29, 2005 at 11:36 PM · Oistrakh, Rabin, Kogan, Perlman, Campoli and others all have very good recordings. My pick is Heifetz - the live Toscanini version is in a class of its own. Propulsive, yet expressive, and full of drama.


December 3, 2005 at 08:46 AM · No one mentions Anne-Sophie Mutter with Karajan... Maybe the most sensitive 2nd movement of Mendelssohn I've ever heard. Apart from that:


Wha Chung

Milstein (of course)

are also wonderful.


December 3, 2005 at 11:03 PM · The Mutter Karajan 2nd is too dramatic in the middle devt. section. and also too slow in the last movt. It's too "heavy" overall. Members should try to trace down my original rec. (Campoli with Boult on a OOP Beulah label). Now that's is one heck of a performance and very fine Decca sound for 1958.

December 3, 2005 at 11:40 PM · Sure,sure. And also Campoli-van Beinum, Kreisler-

Blech, Ferras-Silvestri, Francescatti-Mitropoulos,

Menuhin and da Vito-Furtwengler...

December 3, 2005 at 11:55 PM · Someone should do a tally of all the recommendations here and see what versions are most popular, so we can get an idea. (I would, but I'm too lazy; take that back, I'm too busy practicing!)

December 4, 2005 at 04:41 AM · Sorry Carlos, Campoli with van Beinum and de Vito with Furwangler are not up to the mark sonically and musically IMHO. Regards - Lee

December 4, 2005 at 02:41 PM · From Ruth Kuefler:

"Someone should do a tally of all the recommendations here and see what versions are most popular, so we can get an idea."

I can tell you how many voted for my choice, the one on the Grumiaux video. One. Me!

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