Violinists: Recordings and Performances: Does anyone know anything about this performer, or any of his recordings?
From Richard Goldman
Posted October 13, 2006 at 01:59 AM
I once heard mention of a violinist Benno Rabinof. Last night I found a wiki article about him with little information and have only found one cd by him. Does anyone know anything about this performer, or any of his recordings?
said to be Auer`s favorite student. Was chosen by Auer as a kind of representative when Auer first moved to America. Played on a beatiful del Gesu. Well repected soloist and recording artist. What I can remember hearing of his reocrdings he wa sa little one dimensional than the other top Auer students. Chubby guy, didn`t use a shoulde rrest,
I've a Benno's PEARL 0205 with rec.live from the
40s.and 50s.,but IMO they are not his best. Instead,I've copied to CD the famous LP "Gypsy"
recital, which is just fantastic, and other spanish pieces rec.on the 60s. He was a great artist.
Rabinof gets a nice mention in Schwarz's "Great Masters of the Violin", p. 510-13. Summary:
He was born in NY in 1908, and started violin at 3&1/2. He had various teachers (including Kneisel) and became Auer's student when the great teacher came to NY in '18.
His Carnegie debut was in '27, with Auer conducting.
In the NYT, Olin Downes wrote in '37, "A violinist of exceptional attributes, including a fluent and even spectacular technique and a tone prevailingly warm and brilliant."
Rabinof was a popular radio artist, and with his wife, pianist Sylvia Rabinof, commissioned a double concerto by Martinu in '55.
He died in Brevard in '75, right before a concert.
Schwarz seemed puzzled why Rabinof's career never hit the big time, but sums up that he was "a born violinist rather than an intellectual musician."
I found more info in the NYT archives:
In his NYT obit (4/4/75), "Mr. and Mrs. Rabinof in 1951 rescued from a city dump original manuscripts [cadenzas!] by Eugene Ysaye for Beethoven's Violin Concerto and Mozart's Violin Concerto in G and harmonization for the Geminiani Sonata in D minor". From an 8/12/57 article, the music had been dumped there by the landlady of a certain Leo Strokoff, an ex-Ysaye pupil who had died in diminished circumstances.
From 7/13/71 and 9/4/59 articles, Rabinof got the use of the 'Lord Amherst' Strad, one of Kreisler's Strads, from a Dr. Mortimer. Later, Rabinof had to give up this violin because the Dr. had, uh, issues, with the IRS.
Unfotunately, I never heard him. But there's a good interview with him in vol.2 of "The Way They Play"
I found this from an excerpt from a 1932 wisconsin paper
"Benno Rabinof, the brilliant American violinist, who will play here in the first of three Civic Mu- sic concerts this season, at the Con- gregational church at Thursday j evening, October 20, learned to play by instinct, he says. The young vir- tuoso, who later was pronounced by Leopold Auer "the most gifted of all the pupils he had taught in Ameri- took his first lesson at the age of three and a half, from his uncle. His teacher knew little more about the violin than how to hold it, but it was enough for Benno. He had progressed so far that at five it was necessary to look for a more ad- vanced instructor. Saw Genius An old Russian doctor, friend of Rabinof's saw genius in the boy and for a nominal sum under- took to give him lessons. The old doctor was delighted with his pupil- He used to come to the crowded lit- tle apartment of the Rabinof family hours after Benno had gone to bed, bringing a friend who wanted to hear the boy genius. Then young Rabinof would be aroused from bed, and still drowsy with sleep, play for his entranced visitors. Emotion Important Unequipped in technical knowl- edge as these teachers were, they were not lacking in true musical feeling and it was this, Rabinof be- lieves, that guided him through his first clumsy lessons. Though the young violinist possesses "an irre- proachable technical to quote Herman Devries of the Chi- j cago American he believes that i emotion is the most important in all j music."
I repeat: if you happen to see anywhere a LP by
Benno called "gypsy", take it at once.
What is featured on this LP?
How does his style compare to Auer's other students?
More info: Benno Rabinoff and Jascha Heifetz had a longlife friendship, and the biographical book 'Heifetz', edited by H. Axelrod, was started by Rabinoff himself, but sadly he died, so when it was published, it was dedicated to Rabinoff´s remembering.
and I'll try to find a copy of that LP unless anyone has any digital files for it
I finally found a site with some samples of Mr. Rabinof and found some of them quite nice. They were short clips. If anyone is interested here is the link: http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=6681195&cart=413802324&BAB=M
Unfortunately still no luck on finding the LP's
I must have gone through nearly 700 records at one place on thurday. They seemed to have had everything... except for Benno Rabinof.
Go on on your search!. Maybe you'll find a LP with
Enescu playing, or the only one recorded by Paul
Kochanski, or some german DGG by Johanna Martzy?
I grew up at 33 Riverside Drive in Manhattan. Benno and Sylvia Rabinoff were my parents neighbors and friends. His del gesu was one of the very best and was offered to my parents a couple of years after his death by Sylvia(I was at Pre- College at Juilliard by then), but we of course couldn't afford the price (over 100,000 at that time) My uncle, the danish violinist and comedian Anker Buch recounts a story from a visit of his with us. He was sleeping late after an evening of carousing with some friends frome Juilliard and ignored our doorbell, which rang several times. When my parents bumped into the Rabinoffs later, they said they had come to our door because Mr. Heifetz had come to visit and Benno knew Anker would have loved to meet him in such an informal setting! Needless to say, Anker was so p****d off at himself. I was a tiny boy at the time and only came to know Benno's remarkable sound and artistry as an adult. I agree that the gypsy album is the best representation of his art- at least that I've heard of, though I know several other recordings exist. He had an opulent sound, with an impulse-style vibrato typical of the best Auer pupils, though slightly "fatter" than Heifetz and Seidel- more in the vein of young Elman.
Does anybody know Benno Rabinof's exact birth year? I have various sources telling me 1902, 1905 and 1908.
Looks like 1902
Rabinof's obit ran in the NYT on 7/4/75, and stated "His age was 64". That would put his birth year around 1911. Keep in mind, the NYT sometimes gets things wrong...
Schwartz, in "Great Masters of the Violin", gives the birth year as 1908.
Maybe someone shaved a few years off of his age. I believe that has happened a few times in the violin business.