Nathan Milstein had a particular fondness for Dvořák's A minor Concerto: in his performance of 6 August 1955, conducted by Ernest Ansermet, the music is ablaze, everything is highly charged. The Mendelssohn Concerto was another favourite which Milstein recorded several times. His Lucerne performance of 12 August 1953 alongside kindred spirit Igor Markevitch seems unusual even today. Milstein's tone is piercingly intensive, relentless, unsentimental and yet consumed with grief: high-octane music-making. Added to that are fast tempi, a sinewy tone and razorsharp accuracy in the realisation of filigree figurations. All this seems positively modern. Milstein was born on 13 January 1904. Milstein performed at the Lucerne Festival from 1949 - in contrast to Germany where, on account of the crimes committed by the Nazis, Milstein would not perform until 1966, Switzerland was an unburdened territory for him.
In cooperation with Audite, Lucerne Festival presents the "Historic Performances" series featuring outstanding concert recordings of artists who have shaped the festival throughout its history. The aim of this CD edition is to rediscover treasures - most of which have not been released previously - from the first six decades of the festival. These recordings have been made available by the archives of SRF Swiss Radio and Television, which has broadcast the Lucerne concerts from the outset. Painstakingly re-mastered and supplemented with photos and materials from the Lucerne Festival archive, they represent a sonic history of the festival.