Virtuoso Violinists at the BBC

Virtuoso Violinists at the BBC
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Review

A virtuoso in her own right, Nicola Benedetti has the good grace not to choose any of her own turns in the limelight, which will disappoint her legions of devotees, as she introduces her favourite violinists and performances from the past 60 years at the BBC.

She extols Mischa Elman’s “warm embrace” playing Kreisler’s Preghiera in 1962, and Maxim Vengerov’s “dazzling virtuosity” in Bazzini’s fiendishly difficult Dance of the Goblins — an encore at the Proms in 1999. Itzhak Perlman and Anne-Sophie Mutter also make the grade.

Delights include Sarah Chang in 1994 (Sarasate’s challenging Carmen Fantasie), Yehudi Menuhin teamed with David Oistrakh in 1962 for Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins, and the obligatory Nigel Kennedy attacking Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. But which performance to pick? Oh, go on then, 1990.

Summary

From the Royal Academy of Music Museum in London, Nicola Benedetti explores 60 years of BBC archive to celebrate the world of the violin and its most outstanding performers. From Nathan Milstein, Mischa Elman and Isaac Stern to Yehudi Menuhin, Itzhak Perlman and Nigel Kennedy, the presenter offers a violinist's perspective on what makes a great performance in a tradition that stretches back to the 19th-century virtuoso Paganini.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Nicola Benedetti
Performer Nathan Milstein
Performer Mischa Elman
Performer Isaac Stern
Performer Yehudi Menuhin
Performer Itzhak Perlman
Performer Nigel Kennedy
Executive Producer Mark Cooper
Producer Helen Mansfield
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Music