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mirajewel

Virtuoso of the next milennium?

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I agree with you, Huang - not about you being the virtuoso of the new millenium of course!- but about the audience being the only critics that matter. However, I can't believe that you have that opinion, yet continue to criticise musicians who play in such a way that they please the audience.

Illuminatis, I am delighted to realise I have a soul mate on this board! Every time I read a thread I see you raising a banner for Maxim and Itzhak. It's great, they're my favourites too. I really don't think they can be matched.

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A vote for Vengerov. I won't begin to enter the Hahn/Bell match-up. Cool thread. Must have been started just before I came to the FB.

Anyway, a comment was made a while back that there are too many Heifetzes and not enough Sterns. First off, Heifetz was inimitable, but I understand what you're saying. I'd be amazed if there actually was a young violinist with less than perfect technique. It'd be a refreshing change of pace to hear things played a little slower, more worried about making music than getting all the notes.

I recently made acquaintance with a young violinist (whose name shall not be given). He, by most standards, is odd, but his musical genius is undeniable. He quit High School early to enter college as a music performance major. After two years at a local college he's going to attempt to enter Julliard or Curtis. More than one person, including the concertmaster of our city's orchestra (his teacher) said he has a good chance of making it.

In everything he plays, he brings something unique to it. It is wonderful to watch him play almost anything. Now I hope Julliard or wherever he goes doesn't take away his creativity as HKV has says it does, because if there are others like him that enter the musical world and make it big, then music as it was once heard is not endangered.

Fear not Huang, and all of you. The world might churn out endless streams of technique heavy, unidentifiable radio violinists, but eventually there will be those that rise up. Those with the charisma of a Heifetz, or the musicality of a Stern, or the creativeness and feeling of a Rosand. There are people that feel these people already are out there (Bell,Hahn,Vengerov,Perlman,etc.)

So I personally am not going to worry about where the violin world is headed and am going to focus on making ME (alongside HKV of course) the violinist for the next millennium.

DigiMark

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You ARE nice, Huang. And if you read pretty closely what you wrote way back at the beginning of the year...well, there's a lot of consistency in your philosophy even when you throw in mention of TV dinners. smile.gif

So, Hilary Hahn is coming to our neck of the woods, too, to play the Elgar also. I'll definitely go hear her--and with Toscha's tease that Hahn is anything like Milstein, wow! Cannot wait.

T.

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I, too, have to throw in my vote for Hilary Hahn.

I have now heard her live, in a recital, and I've just gotten her Beethoven/Bernstein recording (so I now own all her CDs to date). She is already a superb player. I share Toscha's opinion that she has the potential to inherit the Milstein mantle -- she has his virtues of classicism and simplicity, as well as a Milstein-ish ultra-smooth legato.

Hers is the first recording of the Bernstein Serenade that I've actually liked -- in the hands of any other violinist that I've heard, I never understood why it was part of the relatively common repertoire. She gives a coherent, idiomatic reading -- highly recommended.

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Violina - I had a drink with Pekka Kuusisto after one of his concerts here. Really nice guy, down to earth and not pretentious, but too much of a party animal for me - he was ready to go partying long after I was ready to call it a night!

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I don't think there will ever be a young violinist who will satisfy those who maintain that people like Vengerov are machines. If you go to a concert expecting to hear a technically perfect machine playing with no emotions, that is exactly what you will hear. You wont let yourself hear anything different. As for my own experiences, I have been extremely moved by the performances of several of the young generation of violinists.

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It's not playing without emotion -- it's playing without PERSONALITY.

Vengerov definitely has personality to spare; he's probably the singlemost overly passionate young virtuoso out there at the moment. He borders on sheer violence, for that matter.

But he's one of a few. (And in many ways, all of Zakhar Bron's big-name students sound very much alike. I've been meaning to get ahold of Bron's own CD... I'm curious what *he* plays like.)

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Vengerov's Sibelius: acceptable by "modern" standards.

Vengerov's "Caprice Viennois": no Caprice, no Viennois, just fire and brio.

I consider Vengerov a male Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg.

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- G'day! Has anyone here heard the Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto? -

My vote is here. I don't think many of you have heard him, but he really blew me away, and with what appeared to be only moderately well developed technique for a concert violinist (I've only herad him live once, so it could have just been an off night). I heard him play Tchaikowsky in a totally new, fresh, and sublimely beautiful way that his missed notes were immaterial, and I'm usually a fan of pyrotechnics and phenominal technique. If you haven't heard him, look for him in concert and go see for yourself. It was the first violin concert I'd heard in years that had me cheering.

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quote:

Originally posted by HuangKaiVun:

Vengerov's Sibelius: acceptable by "modern" standards.

Vengerov's "Caprice Viennois": no Caprice, no Viennois, just fire and brio.

I consider Vengerov a male Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg.

I don't know his Sibelius, but I agree about his "Caprice Viennois." It is extremely well, played, but somehow Viennese charm has eluded him.

Actually, there are very few violinists would can really play with lilting Viennese charm that the piece demands. Many of the recordings I have heard sounds as if playing those 3rds in tune with correct rhythm (well, it is terribly difficult to achieve that!) are the chief concern of performers. One only needs to listen to Kreisler's own recording of it to find out that playing "correct" is far from enough (Kreisler's effortless executions of those doublestop passage should prove that Kreisler was NOT a technical weakling as some people believe he was).

Back to the subject, I still think Hahn will be the virtuoso of the next milennium, if she continues to grow without getting sidetracked. I thought Leila Josefowicz will become one too, but her recent recordings of Mendelssohn and Glazunov concerti were somewhat disappointing (too much force and not enough charm).

Toscha

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HKV, I am happy for you to have an opinion, but don't you think what you said about Maxim being a 'male Nadia...' was hitting it a bit 'below the belt'. Honestly, Nadia would have to be the most over-rated violinist of all time and it continues to elude me why. She doesn't even have a sound technique, let alone any musicianship. As for Vengerov, I will stand loyal nonetheless!

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I disagree with your comment. Todays instruction allows a balanced performance measured by not only technical execution but also allowing for personal interpretation. I reviewed this particular Tchaikovsky passage and it begs to be phrased that way. We all really should acknowledge that Tchaikovsky wasn't a violinist.

quote:

Originally posted by HuangKaiVun:

In my opinion, not a single one of the players mentioned above will be a "virtuoso of the next millenium".

Though the physical talent obviously exists, the current conservatory milieu kills individualistic talent faster than poison. Listen to the radio - I dare any of you to recognize these folks (those of you who own CDs of particular works and happen to hear them by chance, wait till the next violin piece appears on the radio).

Unless somebody learns how to read classical scores (observe the pitiful studied distortion of the finale of the Tchaikovsky concerto with the A-F#-G-A C-D-E-A B-C-F#-G descending 16 notes that are commonly twisted into triplets), we'll continue to hear the butchering of scores that we've grown accustomed to.

And I'd like to hear Kreisler's "Liebeslied" played solidly, waltzingly, and plaintively, not like some colorless elephantine vibrato-uneven TV dinner.

Hopefully, either these players will grow up or new UNFAMILIAR ones will take their places.

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Well, I disagree.

The phrased section involved 16th notes cascading downwards.

If Tchaikovsky (that "non violinist") REALLY wanted to create the effect you talked about, why didn't he write it that way?

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Okay, so maybe I can't tell you why Tchaikovsky didn't write it that way, but I can tell you why performers play it this way: for the audience. In my experience I've found that audiences enjoy personal interpretation.

Quit sitting on the fence, do you want technical purity or the performers interpretation of the music?

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Both.

In performing this work with orchestra, I found out that Tchaikovsky's concerto sounds good as it's written - no embellishments of the sort we've mentioned are needed to beef it up.

Today's performers ought to look more at scores - the way Maxim Vengerov did when pushed by Daniel Barenboim for his Sibelius concerto (which I have only heard snippets of).

Modern violinists also play too fast and abuse their instruments - and thus the music.

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I am not convinced that tempi, on the average, have increased with the latest generation of violinists.

Even setting Heifetz aside as an anomaly, among the oldest masters there were still plenty who played fast... and there are plenty of younger players who play relatively slowly.

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Lydia, did you ever buy the cd of Zachar Bron like you said you wanted to? I would be very interested to hear it as well, though I can't agree that all of his students play the same. I went to a concert of a Prya Mitchell earlier in the year - a Brittish violinist who studied with Bron for some time - she played very lively and technically well, but she wasn't at all like Vengerov. Repin doesn't strike me as being the same either.

I recentlyn read in an article about Perlman where he said that he thinks that violin playing has probably being changed for the better. He says while there are the 'few' of the olds that you can instantly recognise, one must also consider that there was only about 5 or 6 great violinists around altogether in those days. On the other hand, these days there are so many violinists who have equally good technique that of course they are not going to be AS easily distinguished. But that just means the technique is getting better on the whole, not that the interpretations are any less worthy.

I am ready to take his word for it, because he of all people should know.

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I would strongly advice to listen to those old guys YOURSELF. I would not blindly believe in anyone's comment, even the comment is made by no less than Perlman. I am sure he has likes and dislikes and for good reasons too, I am sure, but why should anyone blindly believe him without listening to those old recordings themselves?

Technically, violinists like Vasa Prihoda, Jan Kubelik, Franz von Vecsay, Bronislaw Huberman and Albert Sammons are every way comparable to most of the violinists today. And please do remember that those old discs are done in "single" (no editing) takes, which is a lot more demanding.

Tonally too, violinists like Fritz Kreisler, Jacques Thibaud, George Enescu (in his prime), Mischa Elman and Toscha Seidel will likely to fare pretty well nowdays.

Only 5 or 6 great violinists in the old days? I do not think so!

Respectfully,

Toscha

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I've listened to Bron's recording of the Beethoven concerto. It's not particularly exceptional, but I'd be interested to hear what he sounds like in more fire-and-brimstone sorts of repertoire, since his students seem to excel at it. I wouldn't say, just from listening to that one CD, that the connection between him and his most famous students is especially apparent.

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