killer violin tracks.

hello all,

newbie here, been breaking in new system for a couple of weeks and loving it. have been reading that violins are a good test for system performance. hope some of you could share your favorite violin cd's and perhaps tell me what to listen for and what this will determine.
anything by jean-luc ponty,enigmatic ocean is a great album.
I have been listening to a great piece w/violins and cello by Boccherini called "La musica notturna di Madrid." It's on the Master and Commander soundtrack if you can't find it on a classical recording. I also have a recording of it on an Ensayo CD called Quintetti per Archi; the no. is ENY-CD-9703.
Lara St. John's Bach Concertos CD. Fantastic sound and incredible performance.
Here are three violin recordings I would recommend for critical listening:

"Music for a Glass Bead Game" - Arturo Delmoni (vn), Nathaniel Rosen (vc), John Marks Records 15 - music of Bach, Kodaly and Giordani. An extremely well recorded disc of outstanding music for violin and cello played by two masters. Listening to the interplay of the cello and the violin will tell you a lot about how resolving your system is in being able to differentiate the musical lines of each instrument, in recreating the distinctly different timbre of those two instruments and in being able to present each instrument as an organic whole from the bottom of its respective range to the top. Also listen to the different size of the instruments as reproduced by your system.

"Songs My Mother Taught Me" - Arturo Delmoni (vn), John Marks Records 1 - short pieces for violin and piano by Dvorak, Faure, Kreisler, Mendelssohn, Paradis, Sarasate and others. The music on this disc is beautifully played by Delmoni in a full romantic style. Delmoni's violin should sound warm, full of texture, and sweet through the upper ranges.

"Piano Trios of Schubert and Mendelssohn" - The Rembrandt Trio, Dorian DOR-90130. OK, this has a piano and a cello in addition to a violin. But, it is superbly recorded and the combination of instruments will give you some variety. If you prefer Brahms and Dvorak, get DOR-90160 with the same Trio. Or for Tchaikovsky, get DOR-90146. Can't go wrong with any of them, and all are in Dorian's traditional demonstration quality sonics.

While these recordings should match your request for "killer violin tracks," I would suggest music other than violin for truly assessing and dialing in the sound of a system. Violin can tell you a lot about one or two aspects of a system, but not enough. To really come to grips with a system, I encourage you to read and follow the advice given by Lloyd Walker at his web site. See his article about evaluating components, particularly the paragraphs on "My approach to listening" and "The evaluation process" at:
Ric Sanders Group- "In Lincoln Cathedral" as available thru Music Direct: Ric Sanders (acoustic violin), Vo Fletcher (acoustic guitar), Michael Gregory (drums, percussion). The group's repertoire is drawn from the work of composers including Chick Corea, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Joe Zawinul, Miles Davis, Stephane Grappelly, Django Reinhardt, John McLaughlin etc., plus original compositions and songs from within the group and new interpretations of folk material and some re-worked Fairport Convention favourites (of which Ric is a member). Their new album was recorded live in Lincoln Cathedral without overdubbing. A real sonic gem- includes compositions by Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, McCartney, Miles Davis, Chick Corea.
The soundtrack from Schindler's list is very good, as is most anything by Mark O'Conner. Gil Shaham is an incredible violinist as well-- especially the Four Seasons with Orpheus. Well worth picking up.

If these three CD's don't do it, it can't be done ...

1. Argerich/Kremer/Bashmet/Maisky "Brahms OP 25" ... listen for richness of sound
2. Richie Beirach/Gregor Hübner/George Mraz "Round About Monteverdi" ... listen for the mood the musicians are able to create, as well as sound depth and clarity
3. Mark O'Connor "In Full Swing" ... listen for the type of detail that is possible when music is played fast ... hot violin playing at its finest, so to speak

Regards, Rich
Itzhack Perlman..."My Favourite Kreisler" EMI CDC 7 47467 2.
A 1987 recording when Itzhack was in his prime.
A very enthusiastic second to the Lara St. John / Bach recommendation. It will raise the hairs on the back of your neck, and on the back of anywhere else you happen to have hairs! Another wonderful performance and recording is the EMI recording of the Vengerov / Ysaye, Shchedrin & Bach Sonatas. Both these are solo violin recordings.

Another favorite, in spite of being mono recordings, are the harder to find recrodings of Leonid Kogan. His performances of the Beethoven Violin Concerto and the Tchaicovsky Violin Concerto are both very moving, even in mono!

Morimur (Partita in D minor BWV 1004 for solo Violin)- JSBach. played on baroque violin by Christoph Poppen with the Hilliard Ensemble. ECM New Series 1765

Absolutely mesmerizing! It's a must!
Try one of the BOND CDs, BORN or SHINE. They play electric and acoustic. Classical style music played over modern rock and dance beats. Fun stuff! Try the DVD as well.
It's a Beautiful Day - "White Bird." This is a rock band from SF in the 60's. "White Bird" is a great song off a good album with a darn good violin solo on it.
as a "newbie" i liked mendelssohn..a new version that's nice is hilary hahns.. and thanx rushton for your great review in this thread!

A new find from Harmonia Mundi ... "Le Violin Vagabond." What seductive, sweet, and compelling music. Graf Mourja on violin and Natalia Gous on piano ... that's it. Took a chance on the CD ... what a payoff. Awesome. Listen to a sample .

Regards, Rich
I second the Lara St. John Bach mentioned above as well, and I'll add her "Gypsy" CD. It has a breathtaking performance of "Zigeunerweisen".
Jascha Heifitz, Vitali Chaconne, on an old RCA release, if I'm not mistaken. Michael Rabin had utterly amazing technique as well. His Paganini caprices are astounding. Also, Stephan Grapelli playing with Django on anything. And Sugar Cane Harris plays an awsome electric violin solo on "Little House I used to live in", on Frank Zappa's "Burnt Weenie Sandwich".
"Romance of Violin" by Joshua Bell - I think this is a great violin solo CD for classical music newbees (self included).

Qoute from NRP: "Joshua Bell plays a Stradivarius violin built in 1713 that's been stolen a few times in its storied past. On his latest CD, the young virtuoso has stolen a few great classical melodies -- from other instruments -- and transposed them for violin."

Also liked:

1. Lara St. John's - Bach Works for Violin Solo
2. Hilary Hahn's - Bach Concertos with L.A. Chamber Orchestra
I just listened to Lucy Van Dael play the solo Bach Sonatas and Partitas on Naxos. It smacks of realness and the performances are incredibly organic and earthy. And it's only $7! I really appreciate the non-overly produced/processed approach too.