Violinist Yehudi Menuhin was practically born with a violin in his hand. He starting playing at age four (!) and was making his first recordings at age 12. He was promoted by Victor as a child prodigy. He was still playing - though not regularly - into his 80s. Though born in the US, he became a Swiss citizen in the 1970s and later changed to British citizenship.
In 1948 Hollywood Producer Bernd Bauer decided that there was an audience for short filmed classical performances shown on large movie theater screens. He rented Charlie Chaplin's studio in Hollywood and filmed Menuhin performing short pieces by Brahms (including the Hungarian Dances # 4 and #5), Bazzini and Sarasate, as well as the 25-minute Violin Concerto by Mendelssohn. He titled these films "Concert Magic". The films were discovered in 1997 and were aired on German TV. The 43 minutes of "Concert Magic" are supplemented on this DVD (produced in 2005, but released only this year - 2010- in the US) by two interviews with the violinist, conducted by Humphrey Burton, which describe the filming as well as Menuhin's professional relationship and friendship with conductor Antol Dorati. The interviews (35 minutes and 10 minutes, respectively) add to the enjoying on this disc. Menuhin was always a quiet person and needs to be drawn out of his introverted shell. Burton is obviously a fan.
The short films were done with a full orchestra and with just piano accompaniment. The quality of the print is excellent. Though there were early musical shorts of classical artists as early as 1928 - Vitaphone shorts - film technology had improved greatly by 1948 and, while Menuhin's performance is sometimes stiff - and the camera angles a bit weird - it is still great that these performances can be enjoyed by audiences in the 21st century.
Bravo to Euroarts (and US Distributor Naxos) for making this DVD available.