Printer-friendly version weekend vote: Whose left-hand pizzicato impresses you the most?

The Weekend Vote

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Published: February 8, 2014 at 9:49 PM [UTC]

This week the Winter Olympics begin in Sochi, Russia, but what if the Olympics included some of the amazing feats that violinists do?

I think one category for Olympic Violin would have to be left-hand pizzicato, and this week our weekend vote will focus on this virtuoso technique. With much help from Buri, who suggested this idea, I've assembled videos of five top-notch fiddlers who display some wicked-good left-hand pizzicato technique. The question is: Whose impresses you the most and why?

I'm not saying that these are the only worthy displays of this technique, in fact, if you have one that you really admire, please do share it with us. The idea is to get us looking at examples of great left-hand pizzicato, so we can be inspired to practice the extra 10,000 hours required to achieve this level of technique.

Or maybe we can just appreciate something well-done. Enjoy, and then vote!

Here is "La Streghe" by Paganini, played by the late violinist Eugene Fodor; you can find the left-hand pizzicato around 5:00.

Here is "Nel cor piu non mi sento" by Paganini, played by the late violinist Yehudi Menuhin in about 1934. The left-hand pizzicato begins around 1:22.

Here is another version of "Nel cor piĆ¹ non mi sento" by Paganini, played by the late Soviet violinist Leonid Kogan (1:14 and on):

Here is "God Save the King" by Paganini, played by Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos. The recording quality is poor and it's obviously live, but WOW. The left hand pizzicato is throughout, but especially at 2:52:

And here is "La Campanella" by Paganini, played by Viktor Tretyakov. The left-hand pizzicato begins at 6:00, 6:30 and 7:00.

Posted on February 8, 2014 at 10:18 PM
Roman Kim its my favorite left hand pizzicato!! Amazing violinist!!
From Paul Deck
Posted on February 9, 2014 at 12:11 AM
I didn't vote. If I could play the violin like any of those guys, I wouldn't be wasting my time playing that crappy stuff that is full of LH pizzicato and other gimmicks. Too much actual music out there to enjoy.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on February 9, 2014 at 12:29 AM
if I practiced LH pizz for 10 000 hours my hand would be more plucked than the proverbial chicken. But it's interesting to note that the first exercise in Simon Fischers 'Warming Up' utilizes LH pizz. I also see to recall an interview in which Hilary Hahn said she used LH pizz by sevcik to keep in shape on a daily basis.
The music quoted is art that has stood the test of time. Like any other field of expresison except Facebook, dross is filtered out by the general view that something either has quality that makes it worthwhile to some degree or it belongs in the dustbin of history. for example, when Paginini wrote caprice 24 he didn't include that variation at that point just bgecause he was bored. It provides contrast and support to the variations around it. Like wise note how except in cases where LH pizz is used as an acompaniament, a musical rather than technical effect, the pizz tends to come later in the work to provide contrast with the lyrical openings which on their own would make for an over creamy diet.
Posted on February 9, 2014 at 4:19 AM
I am not sure if my vote is fair but the only violinist that I actually saw live was Fodor before he passed away. He was like a little spider he was so quick. He was so entertaining and his smile was so infectious that I never forgot it.

From stephen levine
Posted on February 9, 2014 at 4:21 AM
If you really want to hear the finest l.h.pizz, try slowing down the Heifetz recording of ronde des lutins...its perfect as is pag. cap 24
It can't be bettered. The only violinist approaching this perfection is vasa prihoda
Posted on February 9, 2014 at 6:24 AM
Roman Kim
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on February 9, 2014 at 7:12 AM
I agree. But we wanted to present some stuff that was a little less well known.
From Bev Saunders
Posted on February 9, 2014 at 9:24 AM
All of those choices are brilliant, but I'd have to say that Roman Kim may trump them all in LH pizz.
From Hartmut Lindemann
Posted on February 9, 2014 at 8:19 PM
Vasa Prihoda
From Hartmut Lindemann
Posted on February 9, 2014 at 8:22 PM
Vasa prihoda "Nel cor piu" 1938 recording
From William Wolcott
Posted on February 10, 2014 at 1:20 AM
I wish Fodor's Nel cor was one of the choices.
Posted on February 11, 2014 at 2:22 PM
I wish Ruggiero Ricci was an option - he has such an electrifying LH pizzicato!
From Mark Roberts
Posted on February 12, 2014 at 2:30 PM
surely it is just a matter of finding out which muscles are used and then strengthening them, that sort of lateral motion is not used elsewhere on bowed instruments but is used for bends on plucked instruments.

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