What has happened to Itzhak Perlman?


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But the rotator cuff injury was in the left shoulder. How would that create right arm tremor and clumsiness?

Since I am presently recovering from a similar ailment (without the surgery) I can understand how it might affect the right arm.

The fingers and arm movements of the left (especially in shifting) can be very debilitating and this in turn would easily throw out coordination with the right arm bowing making it appear clumsy.

Take my word for it!

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Yes, he was once a great player, up until about 25 years ago and declining steadily since and rapidly nowadays. His pinched sound does speak for itself, in a hoarse falsetto. I think the poster who mentioned reliance (over-reliance) on natural gifts got it right; unlike Zukerman, I don't think Perlman practices much, hasn't for too many years - and this is part of his death as an artist. You're only as good as your tools.

As for giving breaks, I actually think Perlman (and others in his situation) should take a break from performing and re-tool. Get back to (DeLay's) basics in a practice room for four hours a day, with a coach, and rebuild. Scales, etudes, exercises. This probably won't happen, of course, but wouldn't it be uplifting to see him get it together and make a comeback.

Now that would be inspiring.

But the reality is he'll coast on his former glory till the end, playing sold-out concerts to people who can't tell the difference, the same people who do him a disservice by cutting him a lot of slack for all the wrong reasons.

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His pinched sound does speak for itself, in a hoarse falsetto. I think the poster who mentioned reliance (over-reliance) on natural gifts got it right; unlike Zukerman, ..

I find this interesting and it may be true for the more recent past, but during their days at Juilliard (as told to me by one of their classmates as well as my Juilliard teacher, William Lincer) it was Zuckerman who didn't practice and relied on his talents, preferring to spend his time in the pool halls and bullying smaller kids in the hallways (he got over that one thankfully and he become a relatively decent person), while Perlman spent his time in the practice room. My teacher thought that Zuckerman was one of the most prodigious talents he ever saw, able to sight read concertos better than many could ever learn them, but he just didn't have the discipline to achieve what he could have (though I certainly admire his playing, especially his sound and musicality). Now perhaps Perlman got lazy (or just really busy or interested in other things) and rested a bit on his laurels, but even Zuckerman, Perlman's good friend, acknowledged Perlman as the superior violinist. But in the end it is all subjective, and my opinion is no better than yours to anyone but me.

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A musical performance is not just about playing music. It's also about entertaining an audience. The music has more impact if you feel good about the performer. Music is subjective. It's all about personal impression, and there he always excelled. Perlman is a superb musician, but even if he were not, he would prevail through sheer force of personality.

While I find it interesting and sad if he has declined technically, we need to remember to be nice about it.

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I find this interesting and it may be true for the more recent past, but during their days at Juilliard (as told to me by one of their classmates as well as my Juilliard teacher, William Lincer) it was Zuckerman who didn't practice and relied on his talents, preferring to spend his time in the pool halls and bullying smaller kids in the hallways (he got over that one thankfully and he become a relatively decent person), while Perlman spent his time in the practice room. My teacher thought that Zuckerman was one of the most prodigious talents he ever saw, able to sight read concertos better than many could ever learn them, but he just didn't have the discipline to achieve what he could have (though I certainly admire his playing, especially his sound and musicality). Now perhaps Perlman got lazy (or just really busy or interested in other things) and rested a bit on his laurels, but even Zuckerman, Perlman's good friend, acknowledged Perlman as the superior violinist. But in the end it is all subjective, and my opinion is no better than yours to anyone but me.

That is spot on. An interesting comparison would be Wieniawski Polonaise Brilliante from Zukerman's debut at Hunter college or his album featuring that piece contrasted with Perlman's from roughly the same time period on "Perpetual Motion" album.

The last page in particular shows Perlman having really carefully worked it out, whereas Zukerman is really sketchy on the octave passages especially.

I have also heard from my own teachers that Zukerman was lazy and undisciplined, something which Galamian took him to task for. But eventually Zukerman matured and developed a technical discipline he talks about on occasion, where he breaks everything down and builds it back up in practice - whatever he does, his playing reflects real discipline, not just talent.

I don't think one is superior to the other, they both have strengths and weaknesses and of course their duo playing was incredible because of how well they complement each other. I like Perlman's Wieniawski or Tchaikovsky but I think Zukerman's Franck or Bartok (or Brahms, etc.,etc) sonatas are incomparable. Zukerman is the better chamber music player by far.

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In other words, the better musician ?

These days especially I'd say yes, by far. And overall I would say Z has a deeper insight into the music as well and he's analyzed and thought about it more. Perlman had a certain unique facility and effevervescence once, but Zukerman is the smarter player. Some of the recent performances I've heard of Z - as an example the Bruch Concerto or work with the Zukerman Chamber Players - is pretty much as good as violin playing gets, some of it is just insanely good. I can't imagine a more otherworldly Bruch; he owns that piece!

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Piano skills are the least affected by age. Cello skills a bit more so, but nothing as much as violin skills.

There are many pianists who performed at a very high level into old age.

I saw Milstein in recital at 81 in 1985--astonishing. In the lavatory line at intermission, the audience (many members of the LA Chamber Orchestra) was abuzz--"How did he do that?" "Did you see his bowing?"

There is a recording of his final performance in July of his following year, before he fell and broke his elbow. It is impeccable, by all accounts.

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These days especially I'd say yes, by far. And overall I would say Z has a deeper insight into the music as well and he's analyzed and thought about it more. Perlman had a certain unique facility and effevervescence once, but Zukerman is the smarter player. Some of the recent performances I've heard of Z - as an example the Bruch Concerto or work with the Zukerman Chamber Players - is pretty much as good as violin playing gets, some of it is just insanely good. I can't imagine a more otherworldly Bruch; he owns that piece!

Better than Ferras in Bruch ( his early recording ) ? What say you ?

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I heard Perlman play Beethoven's violin concerto in April with the T.S.O. He played alongside ex student and conductor Peter Oundjian. It was interesting to hear the difference between Perlman's Strad and Jonathan Crow's (concertmaster, who soloed in the Nocturne) Guanarius. His tone may have sounded a little soft and "pinched" but his interpretation of Beethoven and the aura of the man made for a very memorable performance. I am sure that the orchestra was inspired by by Perlman to play their very best. I was sorry to miss Ondjian join Perlman to play Bach concerto for two violins later that week.

James

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The concert can be viewed on line at http://video.pbs.org/video/2284735575/

The motility of his right shoulder also seemed impaired. When he played on the G string he rotated the violin clockwise instead of raising the right elbow.

He seemed weak overall - barely able to manage with the arm crutches.

My expectations were low, and I did enjoy his playing. Easier to listen to than Stern at the end of his career.

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When he played on the G string he rotated the violin clockwise instead of raising the right elbow.

I didn't watch the video but you describe exactly my experience in recovering from a torn (left) rotator cuff injury.

I now don't believe it is possible to recover the same freedom one had prior to the damage but you begin to device compensatory strategies.

What you describe is one of them in my case.

I don't think it's so much an issue of the bow arm as the left hand no longer being able to swivel as far or freely into position for the lowest string.

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