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Two Giants of the Violin

Posted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 3:10 am
by Gary
Heifetz and Kreisler: Setting Standards for the Violin
by Miles Hoffman

Morning Edition, February 2, 2007 · Jascha Heifetz and Fritz Kreisler were both born on Feb. 2 — Kreisler in 1875 and Heifetz in 1901. But the two men share more than just a birthday. Music commentator Miles Hoffman joins Renee Montagne to discuss the two famous fiddlers and how they each set new standards for the art of playing the violin.

Hoffman says that Kreisler's trademark was sweetness, warmth and humanity. Meanwhile, Heifetz, through his bowing technique and superhuman speed, achieved a level of virtuosity that is still unmatched. When Kreisler first heard the astounding young Heifetz in 1912, he reportedly said, "We can all just break our fiddles over our knees."

Kreisler became one of the most beloved musicians of his generation, known for his sense of humor. He passed off some of his compositions as the work of faux-18th-century composers and waited many years before revealing that they were actually his own. Hoffman says today nearly every classical violinist plays a few of Kreisler's whimsical pieces.

Heifetz left behind a legacy of recordings that are revered for their tonal beauty and incomparable musicianship. Hoffman says that when he was a youngster, he fell asleep most nights listening to the magical sounds of Heifetz, especially his recording of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. "If it weren't for Heifetz, and that Mendelssohn record," Hoffman admits, "I probably never would have become a musician myself."

Miles Hoffman is a violist and the Artistic Director of the American Chamber Players.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... Id=7121113

Posted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 3:55 am
by Corlyss_D
Speaking of giants, whatever happened to Cheniston?

Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:29 am
by val
And what about Enescu?

Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:21 am
by rasputin
What about Enescu?. He was much more than a great violinist: a fine
teacher, a pianist, a conductor,and the greatest rumanian composer of
the 20th.century.

Posted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 5:25 pm
by Gary
val wrote:What about Enescu?
rasputin wrote:He was much more than a great violinist: a fine
teacher, a pianist, a conductor,and the greatest rumanian composer of
the 20th.century.
I need to dig out that Pearl recording and listen to it.

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:07 am
by val
rasputin

He was much more than a great violinist: a fine
teacher, a pianist, a conductor,and the greatest rumanian composer of
the 20th.century.
I agree with that. He is one my favorite composers of the 20th century. The extraordinary opera Oedipe, the First Symphony, the Chamber Symphony, Vox Maris, the 3rd Violin Sonata ...

But speaking only as a violinist I don't think he was inferior to Kreisler. We must also remember how he helped so many young musicians.
I would like very much to hear the version of Bartok Sonatas with Bartok in the piano. But I think that there is no recording available.

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 6:37 am
by rasputin
Well, you can begin with Enescu's own second and third sonatas with
Lipatti ( a classic!). And about Bartok, get Szigeti-Bartok.