As a musician, as a man of ideals, and as a citizen of the world, Yehudi Menuhin made an extraordinary mark on his era. The Menuhin Century, a unique project to be released on 1 April, marks the 100th anniversary of his birth on 22 April 1916.
Comprising a total of 80 CDs across five themed boxes, 11 DVDs and a hardback book, The Menuhin Century draws on the unequalled 70-year relationship between the violinist and the record company HMV/EMI. That collaboration produced a total of some 300 discs, which are now part of Warner Classics’ unrivalled catalogue. The book component is a co-production between Warner Classics and EuroArts Music International, while the DVD content of the boxed set is drawn from the latter's video catalogue.
Although The Menuhin Century is impressively extensive, spanning the 70 years from 1929 to 1999, it does not aim for completeness; rather, its particular focus is on the violinist’s landmark interpretations and on recordings never before released, or appearing for the first time on CD. About a third of the CDs in The Menuhin Century comprise rare or unreleased recordings, so the set offers a thrilling voyage of discovery both to Menuhin aficionados and to music-lovers experiencing his artistry for the first time.
The Menuhin Century has been curated in close collaboration with Bruno Monsaingeon, a film-maker, violinist and close friend of Menuhin, who directed several of the documentaries that appear on the DVDs in the set. Monsaingeon is also the author of the eloquent and insightful text of the lavishly illustrated hardback book, running to over 250 pages, which complements the CDs and DVDs (Though previously available in French, the book appears in English and German for the first time exclusively as part of The Menuhin Century).
Menuhin is acknowledged as one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century, an interpreter of phenomenal understanding and spirituality. He commanded a huge and varied repertoire, including numerous works dedicated to him by contemporary composers.
Beyond that, he was a visionary and a man of action who sought to achieve change through music. Embodying the phrase ‘a citizen of the world’, he became an educator and a humanitarian of significant influence, with a special interest in such issues as human rights and the environment. As he put it in his autobiography, “I am constantly thinking of ways and means to improve, alleviate, protect, guide and inspire in practical terms,” and as Gramophone magazine wrote after his death: “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.”
THE MENUHIN CENTURY - Contents
Luxuriously and elegantly packaged, The Menuhin Century includes a hardback book of over 250 pages, with text in English, French and German; over 30 of those pages are devoted to photographs, many never before published. The book is built around a substantial and fascinating biographical essay, Passion Menuhin, written by Bruno Monsaingeon and based on 30 years’ worth of conversations with Menuhin, brought alive by the great violinist’s own words.
Box 1: Unpublished Recordings and Rarities 22 CDs
Box 2: The Historic Recordings 18 CDs
Box 3: Live Performances and Festival Recordings 7 CDs
Box 4: Complete Recordings with Hephzibah Menuhin 20 CDs Box 5: The Virtuoso & his Landmark Recordings 13 CDs
Box 6: Menuhin on film 1947-1997 11 DVDs