A "new recording of Leonard Bernstein's Kaddish . Symphony arrived from Erato today for review. The work opens with the words of the Kaddish, the Jewish mourning prayer: 'I want to pray, 1 want to say Kaddish. My own Kaddish. There may be no one to say it after me. I have so little time, as you well know. Is my end a minute away? An hour?' What makes this disc particularly poignant is that the speaker is the late Yehudi Menuhin intoning the words in that totally unique accent and inflexion that it was impossible to mistake for anyone else.
Menuhin's death on March 12th drew a response unlike that for any musician in living memory - world leaders commented, front pages were devoted to the news and musicians the globe over felt the need to reflect I publicly on this extraordinary man. Menuhin the violinist has entered legend, spanning an era through his recording with the composer of the Elgar Violin Concerto, but it was Menuhin the man who seemed even more to have captured the hearts and imaginations of millions. His performances in Germany both in the concentration camps and with the Berlin Philharmonic under Wilhelm Furtwiingler were extraordinary acts of either great courage or inspired naivety, yet they alerted the world to a quality that would develop within this man.
Menuhin the conductor was a figure too easy to overlook but among the dozens of recordings he made with a baton in his hand rather than a bow, there are many that have a quality that is very difficult to define. Working predominantly with Sinfonia Varsovia over the past decade or so, Menuhin's interpretations of, say, the late Mozart symphonies, have an ease and grace that are intensely rewarding. Soloists turned conductors may often lack the technique of their 'pure'conductorial coUeaguef, but they invariably achieve a rapport with their players that totally demolishes the 'us and them' divide of the man on the podium and the others making the sounds.
Menuhin the patron is almost too colossal a persona to approach; he was on the boards of innumerable charities, he founded and was a figurehead for the music school that bore his name - in short, he lived his public life for others. Typical of his altruism was his support for Music Live Now, a charitable organization that endeavoured to take music to people in places where it is not normally I encountered - into, in Menuhin's words, 'those places where most of us spend our time, where we work, study, suffer or celebrate, be it in the office or factory, school or prison, parish hall or church.' And this continuing quest to spread the message of (primarily classical) music stayed with him right until the last.
Menuhin's memory is secure as both musician and 'statesman' - he was never shy in speaking out when he felt someone or something was not being dealt with fairly - and of course his legacy will continue among the younger generations of musicians whose early careers owe much to his example and care. The musical world has certainly suffered a great loss G)
James Jolly, Editor
In this issue
Sir Simon Rattle and Alfred
Brendel - regular partners in the concerto repertoire - join the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in a new cycle of the Beethoven piano concertos Phofo PhilipslBrundensfein
Interview on page 22
Review on page 52
A century in three-time
Johann Strauss 11 died 100 years ago and to commemorate a musician who was admired by many of the leading composers of his time, Andrew Lamb sUNeys the recordings of his waltzes and polkas in this month's 'Collection', a list that takes in some very celebrated conductors Photo AUSfrian Touri:a Boa I'd Collection on page 28
The star-studded show
Tenor Giuseppe Sabbatini takes the title-role in a new recording of
Mozart's Mitridate, re di Panto , composed when he was 15. Also in the cast are Natalie Dessay, Cecilia
Bartoli and Brian Asawa ; Christophe Rousset conducts
Pholv D(!C('u/ Pllrdom
Cecilia Bartoli interview on page 24
Review on page 97
A Walton winner
English National Opera Music Director Paul Daniel returns to his old stamping ground, Leeds, to conduct the English Northern Philharmonia in an upbeat collection of Walton's orchestral music which includes the first version of the Sinfonia concertante (with Peter Donohoe) Photo NaxoslBangbafa Review on page 66
Gramophone May 1999 1