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Mystery violinist guesses


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Lydia... Huang... stop it. (shame, shame, shame).

Lydia... I know what Huang is talking about. I'll listen to the radio, and out of no where it'll hit me like a lightning bolt, "This is _______." When it hits me like that, I'm almost always correct. Even though it seldom happens, it always happens with "old schoolers" and never happens with the "moderns." That doesn't mean that listening, I'll be able to pass your test. Especially since the only "old schoolers" I'm very familiar with (recording wise) are Heifetz, Milstein, Grumiaux, and Kreisler. I can almost always identify when Perlman is playing, as well. It doesn't mean (at least for me) that I can identify at will certain performers, but it does mean that when I can, it is always because their individuality on that particular piece hits me like a ton of bricks.

Lydia... thanx for this... it's been as much fun as I've had in a while on the board...

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I'd say #15 is probably Dinicu himself, it being a different version from the Heifetz transciption that everyone else plays, also with gypsy-type type orchestra.(?)

# 18 - Szering, based on the beauty of the sound. (#17 Milstein?)

#10 - Menuhin?

[This message has been edited by Ole Bull (edited 03-14-2001).]

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The thing is lwl, you did this to prove a point, and YOU chose the recordings to prove your point, so... it's not really a fair test, and doesn't demonstrate necessarily anything. BUT it is fun and all, and i am not trying to rain on anybody's parade, and you did an excellent job setting it up.

Also, it is my personal opinion that your test demonstrates quite well the fact that the old-school virtuosos were much more distinctive than the newer ones. Of all the guesses in this thread, only five have been so-called modern players. It certainly seems that the people guessing feel they can more accurately guess the old-timers than they can the "modern" virtuosos. Big surprise.

[This message has been edited by Alistair (edited 03-14-2001).]

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Huang, you will have to learn that editing out the offensive parts does not repair the damage. Words can not be "unsaid".

Lydia made a big effort to give you a chance to back up your assertions about recognizing violinists from past times as well as people's trining. It is a pity you did not take advantage of it.

Best regards -sm


Originally posted by HuangKaiVun:

I can usually guess right on the old schoolers when they play on the radio.

Not always, though.

I posted something offensive here, but I deleted it because it was wrong for me to have posted it in the first place.

lwl, don't post judgments on my character. It's making YOU look bad.

[This message has been edited by HuangKaiVun (edited 03-13-2001).]

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Lymond -- I agree totally with what you've said. I would say that the more you hear of the same performer in different repertoire, the more likely it is you can pick out their characteristic gestures, even in something that you haven't heard them play before.

I made an effort here, though, to pick excerpts which I feel are relatively clear examples of the players involved. (Enough people have gotten enough correct, either here on the board or privately to me in email, for me to believe that the exercise is certainly neither impossible.)

I do feel, though, that even if the individual player could not be identified, HKV's two assertions of general identification -- recognizing the Auer students, and recognizing who has done Kreutzer -- should have applied to this exercise.

Anyway, I will be continuing to post clips indefinitely (I'll be "recycling" some violinists, too), since it continues to be fun to pick through my collection!

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Alistair said


...YOU chose the recordings to prove your point, so... it's not really a fair test...

I have to disagree with this, and ask what recordings, in your opinion, would make this a fair test?

I think that Lydia has demonstrated repeatedly, that she is intelligent, honest and mature.

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I think I'm going to make a practice of trying to give people ten days to listen to the clips before posting answers, hopefully spanning two weekends so folks get a bit of leisure time to listen. That said, the ten days on the first eight clips are up. Here are the answers:

#1, as several people have guessed, as Josef Hassid. It is one of his few recordings; he went insane and died tragically young, in large part because of his enormously pushy father. He was said to have the technique of Heifetz and the musicality of Kreisler. Had he lived, I believe he would have been the greatest violinist of the 20th century. His tone, and his highly personal interpretation, are the best clues in this clip. (Those who guessed Elman went down the right path. Elman has a wider vibrato, though.)

#2, picked for a major contrast in interpretation, is a middle-aged Nathan Milstein. All of the Milstein hallmarks are very much in display here: the lean yet beautiful tone, the refined, carefully tasteful, yet singing, interpretive approach.

#3 is Eugene Ysaye. His tone and his vibrato are both displayed very characteristically here. (Note the smooth continuity of his sound, which you can hear in, among other Ysaye descendents, Hilary Hahn today.)

#4 is Jacques Thibaud. Thibaud's tone is distinctive, but so are his idiosyncratic interpretations. I chose this one to highlight just how far apart Franco-Belgian players can sound from each other.

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Sorry for the multiple-part post; my browser isn't letting me do more than a few paragraphs.

#5 is indeed David Oistrakh. The exceedingly slow tempo, when combined with the tonal lushness, point at Oistrakh. (Perlman would probably use more portamento, and play faster, but I can understand why people guessed it was him.)

#6 is Ginette Neveu. She was the first prize winner in the 1935 Wieniawski Competition -- Oistrakh placed second. I thought putting the two clips together might be an interesting historical comparison, though this is young Neveu and clip #5 is mature Oistrakh. Neveu was a Flesch pupil, and as you can hear, a marvelous, individualistic player. She, too, died tragically young, killed in an airplane crash.

#7 is Bronislaw Gimpel. This was probably the hardest to guess, overall, but what people were hearing was pointing in the right direction (possibly many of you have simply never heard a recording of his before). Gimpel was also a Flesch pupil, but he did not have a major solo career, eventually ending up as a concertmaster. I find this puzzling; I love his playing, and since it can be found inexpensively on Vox, I encourage everyone to go look for it! He's included in this to showcase how superb some "forgotten" players are, and to provide another example of how different Flesch pupils were from each other (and a departure from the fairly cool playing of their teacher).

#8 is Isaac Stern. Interestingly, several people guessed Stern for #7! You can hear a number of Stern characteristics here, though: the quality of his vibrato, his distinctive tone, and his somewhat simplistic approach.

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Opinions, as I start considering what clips I'm going to put up after this current batch:

(1) How many of you are tolerant of longer downloads? I'm considering whether or not using clips of more than the current five-minute length is reasonable. (Ten minutes, for instance, would let me put up concerto movements.)

(2) Do you prefer pairs of violinists playing the same piece (like what I'm doing now), individual players doing something I think is especially characteristic for them (or just interesting), or as many violinists as possible playing the same thing -- or some mixture?

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Wow. All I can say is, GO LYDIA!


Originally posted by lwl:

1. As I said on the "announcement" side of this post, I am tired of people claiming that all the moderns are not identifiable, and all the previous generation is. Now, people can put their money where their mouth is. I am *particularly* interested to hear what HKV thinks, given that he has made two claims which I think are very difficult to substantiate: that he can recognize the students of Auer, and that he can tell who has and hasn't done Kreutzer. At some point in time, dramatic assertions need to be substantiated. This, I think, is a very fair way of doing so. Sooner or later, if you keep making remarks that stretch credulity, somebody is going to call you on it. And make no mistake -- I *am* calling HKV on it. Afraid that your assertions are just hot air, HKV? You've already gotten plenty of hints on this thread -- shouldn't be that hard, now!

If anyone is experiencing technical problems downloading the clips, please post here, or email me, and I'll be glad to help. (I absolutely don't mean to accuse HKV of cowardice if he's having technical issues getting the clips!)

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Reading Lydia's answer and listening to the clips again, I almost feel that I could have guessed many of them if I had spent more time and paid more attention (or just be bolder with my guesses)... So maybe I should make more attempts with the rest.

#9 has such insouciant virtuosity that I think it must be someone extremely famous. I'll say Kreisler for the moment.

#10 - the old school for sure, but I can't think of anyone I know who might have a preference for slower tempo. It reminds me of Oistrakh at times but I don't think it's him judging from the cadenza.

Could it be Szigeti? (a completely wild guess)

#11 is obvious as many have pointed out. For #12 I retract my guess of Heifetz, as I did't hear the slow midde section the first time. But the little bow usage in the spiccato passages does sound like Heifetz at times.

#13 is wonderful, but it actually sounds a little modern. For some strange reason, I have a feeling that the violinist is female.

#15 is very old. Really Dinicu himself?

#16 - could it be early Heifetz?

#17 and #18 both sound pretty modern in style, #17 could be someone like Grumiaux, but #18 is very likely a good "modern violinist". Personally I prefer the style of #18.

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A couple of hints for stewarts:

On #9: Kreisler is not known for devil-may-care virtuosity (though he certainly had technique to spare).

On #16: Listen to the quality of the recording as a way to eliminate some possibilities. Early Heifetz would be 1920s or 1930s sound quality, with a fair amount of background noise.

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Coming late to this post, so missed the first half.

I have only listened to the Bazzini and the Schon Rosmarin tracks so far and both only once each. Short of time to do this really, but wanted to get involved.

My initial comments on what I heard so far? I see we already have Sarah Chang down for no 11, no 12 is obviously older school from the recording quality. Both the Bazzini's seem badly lacking in left hand pizz technique to me.

Number 18 blows me away!!!

I'll listen some more

Quick edit here...I think this is a wonderful idea and so well presented. Thank you so much for taking the time a trouble to do thia. It is so much fun, I only wish I had more time to sit down and take part more.


[This message has been edited by Jane (edited 03-15-2001).]

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