As I was driving this evening with the radio tuned to the local classical station I heard a rather moving performance of Nathan Milstein
's Paganiniana variations by violinist Hillary Hahn
Armed with little more than the title, composer, and performer (pretty much everything but the op. number) I started scouring the internet to see if I could find a copy of it on CD or download.
Three hours later and the results are in:
1) Milstein performed the piece at a concert at the Library of Congress in 1946. There is a CD available, Amazon has exactly one (1) copy, and it sounds like something that was recorded on a sheet of sandpaper.
2) iTunes has the same CD, as well as one by someone named Amir performing a rendition of the piece that is so hideously offensive to the ears it makes me wonder what kind of damage a Stratavarius could potentially inflict on the human skull.
3) About a dozen hardcore violin-enthusiast blogs rave about Hahn's live performance, but none of them can point towards a recording of it.