Various Artists

100 Best Violin

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AllMusic Review by

This 2009 EMI box of works for the violin is sure to contain something to please everyone, but it also works as a fine introduction to the masterpieces for the instrument. The six discs are neatly organized by era or composer, beginning with Vivaldi and ending with John Williams, with the final disc containing favorite audience encores and showpieces. The number and caliber of artists included is also impressive, and includes both modern practice and period practice performances. Naturally, to squeeze in all these works, most are reduced to a crucial movement. Unfortunately, some of the works are reduced to less than a full movement. For example, the Beethoven Violin Concerto is only excerpts from three of the four movements, and the excerpt of the first movement barely contains any of the violin solo at all. However, Vivaldi's Four Seasons are here in full, with each concerto played by a different soloist -- Yehudi Menuhin, Christopher Warren-Green, Kyung-Wha Chung, and Anne-Sophie Mutter -- so that listeners can hear and judge the differences in approach themselves. Other performers include Christian Tetzlaff, Nathan Milstein, Sarah Chang, Ida Haendel, Augustin Dumay, Tasmin Little, Maxim Vengerov, and Gidon Kremer. The list of accompanying conductors, ensembles, and pianists is just as star-studded, and includes Neville Marriner, Herbert von Karajan, Seiji Ozawa, Europa Galante, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Alban Berg Quartet, Sviatoslav Richter, and Piers Lane. The sound quality is generally high, although variations between studio and live, and between mono and stereo, are to be expected in this kind of compilation. All in all, this is recommendable to those looking to learn about the highlights of the violin repertoire and some of the 20th century's violin artists.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Le Quattro Stagioni (The Four Seasons)
1 3:44
2 2:38
3 4:28
4 5:09
5 2:05
6 2:27
7 5:35
8 2:12
9 3:26
10 3:30
11 2:01
12 3:14
Violin Sonata No. 2 in A, Op. 2/2
13 1:03
14 1:45
15 1:13
16 2:17
Violin Sonata in G minor 'The Devil's Trill'
17 7:45
String Quintet in E, Op. 13/5
18 3:41
19 10:07
20 9:20
blue highlight denotes track pick