David Rubinoff, and I loved to share the few details about his life that I learned from Wikipedia.Call me traditional, but I still love charming, Romantic music for the violin, and if it’s virtuosic and exotic, even better. I made a discovery on YouTube last September which stopped me in my tracks. Twenty years ago I found a piece called Fiddlin’ the Fiddle in a used music store in Hollywood called Globe Music. I’ve performed it many times, and its humor, charm, and vivaciousness bring smiles to audiences young and old. The composer was
I was not prepared to find a treasure trove of performances by Rubinoff on YouTube. Typing in Fiddlin’ the Fiddle brought me front and center to a video from 1939, and Rubinoff was in his glory.
He was conducting a big band while playing his violin, and he displayed his distinct style that matched the music perfectly. And what mattered most was the trajectory of his joy from the music through his bow arm, from the smile on his face to the lightness of his step, and finally to the ears and funny bones of his audience.
As it says in the Jewish song at Passover, Dayenu, "It would have been enough," I couldn’t believe my gift from YouTube. The image of Rubinoff stood alongside my favorite visuals of violinists. His live appearance was a world unto itself, both as an emotional and theatrical performance, and as a teaching tool demonstrating soulful and romantic interpretations.
There Was More – Zino Bogachek
After the performance of Rubinoff himself, YouTube offered a violinist and pianist who recorded many of Rubinoff’s compositions, including When a Gypsy Makes His Violin Cry, Tango Tzigane, Eili, Eili, and Banjo Eyes. The title of the CD is David Rubinoff - Tango Tzigane.
I had no idea these pieces existed, let alone that there was a recording of them. Violinist Zino Bogachek and pianist Anna Balakerskaia performed these gems with perfectly balanced articulations and playful energy.
Ukranian-born American violinist Bogachek performs with the Washington National Opera at Kennedy Center. His love for salon, gypsy, and crossover classical music from the early 20th century grew from his boyhood fascination with the recordings of George Boulanger, Barnabas von Geczy, and Grigoras Dinicu.
Listening to these delightful pieces provided insight into expressive and romantic playing. Bogachek came to Los Angeles to study with Abram Shtern, former concertmaster of the Kiev Philharmonic. Shtern was a much sought-after teacher, sharing his wisdom of sound production and imaginative interpretations with many of the finest players in southern California.
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