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Classic Archive™: Menuhin Plays Mendelssohn

Yehudi Menuhin violin | Adolph Baller piano
Symphony Orchestra of Hollywood
Antal Doráti

The archival gems included here are taken from footage for the legendary 1948 Hollywood film “Concert Magic” (the first ever concert filmed for movie audiences). At nearly 25 minutes, the Mendelssohn Concerto was too long for inclusion in the film, so although it is Menuhin’s only filmed performance of the work it has only recently been discovered. To see one of the greatest ever violinists perform one of the greatest ever violin concertos is undoubtedly a compelling experience. The encore pieces that follow are superb documents of his seemingly effortless virtuosity. These performances by the 32-year-old Yehudi Menuhin show him at the height of his career. Yehudi Menuhin was one of the best-known violinists of the 20th century – he was universally popular and was frequently received as an ambassador of classical music. With "Concert Magic", which premiered in San Francisco in 1947, he made the first ever motion picture concert in film history (available on EuroArts No. 2054158). He also produced many short films for the cinema – used to fill the space between the traditional "double features". An especially valuable rarity was found among these: Felix Mendelssohn’s violin concerto. It was too long to be included in the film “Concert Magic” or to be used as an interlude. This DVD brings together previously unreleased material including Menuhin’s very first recorded performance of the Mendelssohn violin concerto and other encores – a footage so far unknown even to most music specialists. Pianist Adolph Baller and the Symphony Orchestra of Hollywood conducted by Antal Dorati joined Yehudi Menuhin at the Charlie Chaplin Studios in 1947. Two features show Yehudi Menuhin in interview in 1997 commenting on his playing technique, the origins of the film and very personally speaking of his memories of the time. Lovingly restored, using the finest state-of-the-art technology, classic archive features great performances from legendary artists, offering a unique historical glimpse into our classical heritage.


Felix Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64; Johannes Brahms: Hungarian Dance No.5 in G minor, Hungarian Dance No.4 in F sharp minor; Pablo de Sarasate: Malagueña, Op.21 No.1 und 2; Joseph Bazzini: Calabrese, Waltz in E minor, Op.34

Facts DVD

Item number
UPC number
Region code
Sound format
PCM Stereo
Total running time
91 mins
Details running time
44 mins, 47 mins (Bonus)
English, French, German
Booklet notes
English, French, German
No. of discs
"A Violinist in Hollywood + On the Encores”. Yehudi Menuhin in conversation with Humphrey Burton.
Exactly 50 years after the creation of the film, 1997, Yehudi Menuhin and Humphrey Burton (director of a number of Leonard Bernstein concerts and an expert on and biographer of Menuhin) view the film in front of cameras. Menuhin comments on his playing technique, speaks about the origin of the film and reminisces about events which transpired at the time of the film. His reactions and comments about the pieces are very personal
Bonus subtitles
English, French, German