Magic Moments of Music | Menuhin and Karajan play Mozart

A film by Grete Liffers, ZDF/ARTE, 52 min, 2022

Yehudi Menuhin is regarded as the wunderkind violinist of the last century. He was celebrated and revered as much as Mozart in his day, whose Violin Concerto No. 5 Menuhin interprets for this concert recording.

After many years of performing and travelling, the outbreak of the Second World War marked a turning point for Menuhin, whose audience now became allied troops and those wounded in the fighting. At a performance in the liberated Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, the sheltered former boy prodigy was confronted with unimaginable horrors. But Yehudi Menuhin did not despair and instead chose to dedicate his life and music to reconciliation and peace. Just two years after the end of the war, he was the first Jewish musician to return to Germany and perform with the Berlin Philharmonic.

Although just a few years older than Menuhin, Herbert von Karajan took an altogether different path, pursuing a life that was characterised by the search for perfection and musical greatness. Karajan’s career began in earnest during Germany’s Nazi era. Later, he would become one of the most influential and important conductors of the post-war period.

This recording from 1966, masterfully directed by award-winning feature film director Henri-Georges Clouzot, shows how their contrasting biographies serve only to accentuate this spellbinding musical moment.

International stars from the music scene, including Anne-Sophie Mutter, Daniel Hope and Hilary Hahn as well as major figures from the cinematographic world such as Sunnyi Melles, August Zirner and Bruno Monsaigeon tell of their captivation with this unique recording of the sole collaboration between the two music legends. Together, we experience how their ideals of sound gave rise to timeless beauty and artistry – and how music can still contribute to reconciliation today.

The full concert recording is available online at