Violin Concertos

Could you recommend the best violin concerto recordings (performance & sound quality) you have ever heard by the following composers-Dvorak, Beethoven, Paganini, Mendelssohn, and Saint-Saens. Also, if there is any chinese audiophile on this forum, please recommed violin concerto Liang-Zhu (Butterfly Lovers). To me this is one of the most beautiful violin concerto, but I haven't seen any famous violinist recorded it. I have two copies, one by Yu Li-na, one by Sheng Zhong-guo. None of the sound quality is good.
If you don't mind, I'd like to recommend another composer. I think that the Khachaturian Violin Concerto with Henryk Szering in violin, on Mercury Living Presence, is the best violin concerto I've ever heard. The gypsy flavor and emotional impact of this piece makes it my all time favorite violin concerto. Szering plays masterfully. Recording is top-notch. I know some consider Khachaturian to be a second-rate composer, but I really like this piece.
There are many good recordings of the major violin concertos: I like Stern in the Dvorak, there are many for the Beethoven, I like Michael Rabin in the Paganini 1st, etc. For the "Butterfly Lovers" there was a recording put out by Hong Kong (HK-1003) with Takako Nishizaki as soloist. It won the Hong Kong Gold Disc Award in 1981. The sound quality is good. Nishizaki is a very fine violinist who was "tied for first place" with Pinchas Zuckerman for the Leventritt Award in 1964.
I meant to add some other concerti as well: I have always enjoyed the Mozart concerti (there is a pretty good low price set available with Arthur Grumiaux playing); there are the two Bruch Concerti (actually one is the Scottish Fantasy) with Heifetz; Heifetz' recording of the Prokofieff and the Sibelius are memorable; I also like the Brahms with Christian Ferras; the Bach concerti with Oistrakh, and the Wieniawski D minor with Rabin.
I hope you don't mind me suggesting a different composer. I just love this recording: BACH. VIOLIN CONCERTOS.DOUBLE CONCERTOS.GRUMIAUX HOLLIGER.KREBBERS/ PHILIPS 420 700-2
For the composers you list, here are performances with good sound quality that I enjoy...

Beethoven -
Giulini/CSO, Perlman -vn, EMI
Munch/BSO, Heifitz -vn, RCA (Classic Records reissue)

Mendelsohn -
Munch/BSO, Heifetz -vn, RCA (Classic Records reissue)

Paganini -
Foster/RPO, Perlman -vn, EMI

Saint-Saens -
Foster/LSO, Chung -vn, Decca/London

Tchaikovsky -
Wallenstein/LSO, Perlman -vn, Chesky reissue
Reiner/CSO, Heifetz -vn, RCA (Classic Records reissue)
Great recommendations. I would like to thank everybody and hope there are some more to come, not limited to the composers I originally listed. The reason I only listed a few is because I have seen some earlier discussions from Audiogon and AudioAsylum forum and have already tried some of their recommedations. Most CD's I bought, however, were from young generation-Shaham, Hahn, Chang, Mutter, Chee-Yun, Bell, etc. I'll start exploring some earlier work, especially those by Heifetz. I like Perlman too. Looks like some the major record companies start to rematerer more of Heifetz's work. Twl, thank you for recommending Khachaturian's work. I'll try that. I just started listening to his Spartacus. Kweifi, thank you for your recommendation on Takako Nishizaki's work. I'll order one from web store. I hope one day somebody is going to put it on a XRCD.
Oistrakh performs Bartok,Hindemith,Szymanowski on Forlane lable. Oistrakh performs Sibelius on Sony with Ormandy and with Rozhdestvensky, he takes both EXACTLY the same tempo!!, the Rozhdestvensky is my favorite. Oistrakh performs Beethoven with Cluytens on Seraphim($5!!), the best. Oistrakh performs Bruch's Scottish Fantasy with Rozhdestvensky on Russian Revelation. Prague lable has a 6 CD set of Oistrakh's performances of many great works. Well worth the $50. Philips has Vol 1 and Vol 2 20TH Century Violin Concerti, Szeryng, Oistrakh and others performing great compositions. Vox has a Cd with Aaron Rosand playing a very nice composition by Sarasate called Zigeunerweisen. The sound quality on some of these CD's are not great, but these performances are a pleasure to hear, essential to have in your collection.
As far as performances of these concertos go, I would look at any with David Oistrakh.
Hello Aliu,

If you don't mind some "off-the-beaten (bowed)-path" repertoire, try the Barber and Korngold violin concerti. A fine sounding CD is available on DGG with violinist Gil Shaham, André Previn and the LSO. Another fabulous "new (1977)" violin concerto is by Einojuhani Rautavaara, a Finnish composer. It is available on the Ondine lable with Elmar Oliveira, violin and the Helsinki Philharmonic conducted by Leif Segerstam. The sound on this cd is demonstration class.

With best wishes,
Get the Chung, Montreal/Dutoit recording that has both Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky. Both are excellently played and recorded.

Also check out the Goldmark concerto. Recordings are available by Perlman and Sarah Chang.

The Perman Beethoven mentioned is very good.

My favorite Beethoven by far is by Oscar Shumsky with the Phiharmonia Orchestra conducted by Andrew Davis. If you have never hear of Shumsky, he is someone who decided against a career as a full time touring artist. He is usually referred to as a Violinist's Violinist; or Musician's Violinist. In other words, the concerts he did give were usually filled with other musicians in attendence (ie, people who wanted to hear great playing, not just a player with good PR hype.) Among his colleagues (including David Oistrakh), Shumsky was considered to be one of the greatest violinists, on the level of Kreisler and Heifetz.

Sugar, interesting! What's the ref for Shumsky/Davis Beethoven? I couldn't locate it... Cheers
It is also available from the Music Heritage Society.

Shumsky made this recording later in life, so it's not up to the peak of his powers, but still very impressive. It is probably the only Digital recording of anything by someone who plays with a style similar to Heifetz.

I actually had the pleasure of hearing Shumsky play the Beethoven years ago live at Harvard University with Ben Zander conducting.

Also check out.
Thanks, Sugarbrie...
The Beethoven Violin Concerto played by Menuhin/Furtwangler is most expressive but dates back to the Fifties. Don't forget Ruggiero Ricci, a master technician who plays the technically difficult concerti, i.e. Tchaikovsky with ease. He is still recording and has many new shorter pieces. His early vinyl recording of Sarasate pieces, Danzas Espagnolas, remains unchallenged as the best from that composer. He also plays the Paganini Caprices masterfully.

With regard to earlier comments of the artistry of Oscar Shumsky, he also has a recording of the Bach Partitas and Sonatas for solo violin that to me are the most expressive recordings of that music. His recordings of Fritz Kreisler are also splendid.
there are many good works out there,but the most recent barber violin concerto by hilary hahn is a thing of beauty.she has lightest touch of bow to string that i have ever is a very fluid and graceful performance.she's very young and will be around for a long time,give it a try.
I second Route9's recommendation. I think that Hilary Hahn's Beethoven is very nice as well.