Ivry Gitlis

August 5, 2007 at 05:36 AM · what are you thoughts on maestro Ivry Gitlis? He is one of my favorites. He is never boring, very fresh, and very inventive. There is no one that sounds like him or plays like him, he is totally unique. I really want to get the "Art of Ivry Gitlis" CDs (tchaivkosky, mendelssohn, sibelius bruch, bartok, others) as well as the new EMI dvd of him playing Tchaikovsky.

Replies (21)

August 5, 2007 at 07:20 AM · he's amazing...really unique violinist with a very warm sound. I love listening to anything gitlis (i love his paganini concerto 2 La Campanella recording as well as his introduction & rondo capriccioso video on YouTube)

August 5, 2007 at 06:47 PM · He is clearly a great violinist. His on-again, off-again vibrato takes some getting used to, and I can't say I'm entirely comfortable with it in the traditional romantic works. But it is absolutely perfect for the Bartok Concerto and Solo Sonata. These pieces fit him like a glove, and are my all-time favorite recorded performances of those works.

August 5, 2007 at 08:41 PM · Definitely a unique and extraordinary violinist. For sheer excitement, he's at the very top of the tree. To echo Sander, his Bartok is gobsmacking, (and by the way his Berg, Hindemith and Stravinsky are also outstanding), in the Romantic repertoire he's less fully satisfying to me, because whether it's Mendelssohn or Wieniawski, Tchaikovsky or Sibelius it's all basically in the same style: electrically intense, somewhat gypsy-ish in sound and temperament, but overall not terribly subtle. I find myself initially blown away by his playing but then it gets a little predictable.There are always remarkable passages to be thrilled by (the opening of the Sibelius is memorable), but don't expect to find a sense of repose. Even in the Bartok, in the slow movements, to me that is a slight drawback. I would still recommend just about everything he's done, it's always an "experience". He's a great guy (well, a venerable 80-year-old plus man by now) and his comments in the Art of Violin are typical.

August 6, 2007 at 12:45 AM · I had the fortune of working closely with Mr. Gitlis as a pupil and North American tour manager. Due to some political misfortunes in the music business (details of which I do not wish to disclose), he has not been able to establish a big presence here in the States. However, he is definitely a very special "artist". He is in his 80's and still has a very colorful life, to say the least. Many people don't seem to fully understand his artistic viewpoint. He sees the notes on a piece of music as a bunch of dancers on a stage. He likes to "choreograph" the notes to bring them to life. The importance of having a choreographer or a fashion designer's approach to music is what he gave to me. His sense of adventure even carries over to his personal life -- he has a passion for driving fast cars around in the french countryside on a quiet Sunday morning!

September 13, 2007 at 11:16 AM · I have some of his VOX lp's, and had a lot of trouble with his "theremin" like vibrato....

But some clips I looked at recently on youtube made me a bit more positive about him.

Greetings from the Netherlands,



(my classical lp->mp3 hobby page, updated every friday)


(my classical music youtube channel)

September 13, 2007 at 05:28 PM · He's definitely not subtle. He carries his demonic approach into every piece he attacks. I saw a vid of his Schon Rosmarin (granted, he is old in it) in which he simply hacked through it. No sweetness or romance, it was all on the string hacking. He sounded simply terrible in this piece.

September 13, 2007 at 10:48 PM · Great violinist,

very violinistic.

September 14, 2007 at 02:19 AM · I saw people use the expression "violinistic" often on this site and it sounds really nice, but what does it really mean?

September 14, 2007 at 02:35 AM · It means like "lawyerly" except with violins.

September 14, 2007 at 02:38 AM · I saw him play Schon Rosmarin and I thought it was fantastic! I loved his playful approach to the piece. This guy, 150 years old or not, is a great violinist and a true musician.

September 14, 2007 at 04:04 AM · I love that clip of Schon Rosmarin... Very unique/playful..

He puts a lot of passion in his playing. No one has or ever will sound like him

September 14, 2007 at 04:34 AM · Jim, "lawyerly" means something ugly or yuko in my dictionary. I hope you were wrong about violinistic.

September 14, 2007 at 04:40 AM · I used to have the Devil's Dictionary memorized. I think lawyer was something like "A person specialized in circumventing the law" maybe lawyerly came from that. I thought it meant studious and methodical.

September 14, 2007 at 04:55 AM · Oh, you are being very kind to them lawyers.

September 14, 2007 at 10:17 AM · I think violinistic might mean associated specifically with violin. That's probably wrong too.

September 14, 2007 at 05:38 AM · I wonder which great violinist isn't violinistic.

September 14, 2007 at 05:52 AM · Maybe one who insists on playing regular E instead of harmonic E? Just guessing.

September 14, 2007 at 08:33 AM · Ivry is a customer of our workshop...

A simply and a very interesting musician.


January 3, 2008 at 03:58 AM · I LOVE this recording...


January 3, 2008 at 11:55 PM · Chris: Good taste :)

The Gitlis sound is so sensuous with 1000 different layers of colours. I got pissed off at a friend majoring in violin at the Hartt School of Music when he said, "Funny -- I only hear a plain, dull sound from Gitlis!" I was like "Are you deaf???? One might like or not like Gitlis, but can never accuse him of being dull or boring for sure."

January 5, 2008 at 01:25 PM · I'm a Gitlis fan. Yes I really love the Art of Ivry Gitlis collection; his playing is unlike that of any other violinist. Can't say I prefer his rendition of Intro and R.C. though. He performed the Tchaikovsky concerto with my orchestra several years ago. I still remember one rehearsal...his fingers seemed to be asleep or something and he comically remarked that maybe it was because he had 'spent too much time in the hot tub'. :P

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