He could be amazing live; I saw him play a number of times. Actually I was playing in the orchestra once, when he was doing the Beethoven. But really, the best was a recital I saw him play in San Diego, just a few years before his death. He was in peak form, and for all I could see, sober. It had been pretty obvious to me, the times I saw him perform, when he was not. But when he was on, he was fire. Just amazing.
Fodor was one of the most talented violinists of the second half of the 20th century. He was the co-winner (together with two Russian violinists--one a student of David Oistrakh and the other a student of Leonid Kogan) of the silver medal (no gold was awarded) in the 1974 Tchaikovsky Competition during the midst of the cold war -- making him the first American violinist to win a medal in the Tchaikovsky Competition. David Oistrakh was the chairman of the jury and Leonid Kogan was another judge in that competition. Upon announcing Fodor's win, Oistrakh is reputed to have said "Congratulations! Your control of the down-bow staccato is enviable." Where did Fodor hone that staccato? According to The Great Violinists by Margaret Campbell, "Heifetz would make him [Fodor] play staccatos for fifteen minutes, during which time Heifetz would slowly encircle him watching his technique for down-bow staccato. In the Wieniawski concerto Heifetz insisted that Fodor should play the sme cadenza from which he had learned staccato from Auer." So, the staccato was passed down from Auer to Heifetz to Fodor, and then Fodor had the opportunity to display that stroke back in Russia (the country where Auer had taught Heifetz). A fitting tribute to Fodor was given by Henryk Szeryng in 1975, when Szeryng heard Fodor play in London following which (according to Sam Applebaum in The Way They Play) Szeryng said to Fodor "I wish you were my own son".
Thank you Eugene for the all too brief time you shared your wonderful playing with us.