Performances Compared.

Beethoven’s Violin Concerto:

  • Performances compared.

I am reading a tiny volume about the life and art of violinist Yehudi Menuhin. And this little book includes a CD, which contains some amazing recordings of Menuhin’s music.

Menuhin was born in New York on April 22nd, 1916. His parents were the 23 year-old father, Moshe Menuhin, and his wife, 20 year – old Marutha.

The mother ran around in New York, looking for a larger apartment, so she could plan for her first child. In those days, landlords frequently did not rent to Jews. And the pregnant Mom said: “If I have a boy, I will give him the name “Yehudi” <Hebrew for ‘the Jew’> . With that name, he will either succeed or fail”.

On the 12th of March, 1999, Lord Yehudi Menuhin died at age 82, at Berlin’s Martin Luther hospital. He had lived one amazing life and made music with musicians in India, Europe, Israel, as well as in the US and Latin America.

I got the idea from reading this book to let you, dear reader, hear several performances of the Beethoven Violin concerto. Music is a very personal thing; so there’s no ‘right answer’ about the performance that YOU like best.

Please listen, and then tell me if you wish, which performance you find most rewarding. You can reach me at:

First, here is Vadim Repin playing the Beethoven concerto:


Next, here is Anne-Sophie Mutter, with Seiji Ozawa conducting the Berlin Philharmonic:

And now, here is an old recording of David Oistrakh playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto in D major, Op 61:



And next, listen to Joshua Bell:


And next, let’s hear Itzhak Perlman do it:


And now, here is a very young Hilary Hahn, as she made her German debut in March 1995, at the age of 15, with Lorin Maazel and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, playing the violin concerto by Ludwig van Beethoven.



And the next violinist is Maxim Vengerov, performing in 2011:


And now, here’s Janine Jansen:



Finally, let’s hear Yehudi Menuhin perform the Beethoven with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra:


Nine violinists! My favorite for this piece is  the interpretation by Anne-Sophie Mutter.

Which one did you like best? (Yea, I should have included Heifetz, Milstein, and many others…)


Tags: Beethoven, Violin Concerto, Hahn, Bell, Mutter, Menuhin, Jansen, Vengerov, Repin