Violinists that test the limits of what can be done with a violin

October 25, 2007 at 04:43 AM · Some violinist try to test the limit of what they can do.

I think about Ricci and Accordo playing the extremely demanding concerto by Ginastera, or Stern playing Penderecki´s first.

One violinist that never really seemed to test his own limits was Heifetz I think. He claimed that you need 6 fingers on your left hand to play the Schoenberg concerto and we all know that, that isn´t true.

Same thing with Kogan I believe, he could propably play more demanding works then he did if he wanted to.

Replies (23)

October 25, 2007 at 05:19 AM · Greetings,

not sure if I completely buy into this for two reasons.

1) Heifetz played very diifuclt works he liked such as the notoriously difficult Gruenberg cocnerto.

2) He felt he was tesitng his limits in striving to play Mozart well. For me this shows a remarkable level of integrity.

Cheers,

Buri

October 25, 2007 at 11:55 AM · Absolutely.

October 25, 2007 at 01:15 PM · I think Heifetz was famous for his sometimes glib and evasive answers. I also think he could handle anything and everything the violin repertoire can dish out, and do it in an unsurpassable way.

The fact he did not record the Paganini concerto for instance, does not mean he could not play it. It reflects his almost impossible standard for what he felt comfortable putting on a record for history.

I also feel certain his response in reference to the Schoenberg was not made without actually working over the piece first. Its more likely the statement is "Heifetz" for : "I don't like the piece."

October 25, 2007 at 02:02 PM · Heifitz also premiered and recorded the extremely difficult Miklos Rocza concerto.

October 25, 2007 at 02:00 PM · Buri-Amen to the Mozart comment.

I often mourn the passing of the era of great violinists (Oistrakh et al) that were judged not on their technical ability or what kind of gymnastic 'tricks' they could do on the violin, but judged on the beauty and artistry of the music that they made.

In that sense...does anyone (other than me) feel like the real meaning of the word "virtuoso" has been corrupted? I looked it up online for laughs, and was horrified to find this definition:

1. a person who has special knowledge or skill in a field.

2. a person who excels in musical technique or execution.

(from Dictionary.com)

In its original meaning, "virtuoso" implied VIRTUE. Not technical ability--of course that was a part of that, but the meaning IMPLIED by the word in its original context would be something like "the understanding, appreciation, and ability to create beauty". Food for thought, there.

October 25, 2007 at 02:07 PM · Darol Anger and Casey Driessen I would say are exploring new bounderies of what can be done with a violin !!!

David Blackmon

October 25, 2007 at 03:37 PM · Another Amen to Buri's post above.

One need not hear Heifetz play a Paganini caprice to hear his superlative technique. The greater the expresssive content, the greater the technique needed to deliver the content. Hence, when Heifetz played the simplest of first position melodies the expressive content was so great as to require and reveal a superlative technique at work. In a private conversation, Milstein spoke of two kinds of technique: The ability to competently play a challenging piece, and the ability to play something that anyone could easily play, but on a very high technical level. He said that every violinist should pursue both goals.

July 24, 2008 at 03:42 PM · When one goes to a professional concert, the expectation should be that the performing artist should be in top form, that the listener should sit back, be comfortable and enjoy the musical selection.

This sense of professionalism was attained by many a performing artist. In the case of Jascha Heifetz the above expectations were virtually assured.

The following web address is from a short movie clip and it shows how effortlessly all of the technical and musical aspects of the Tschaikovsky Violin Concerto were realized.

http://www.nme.com/video/id/kFaq9kTlcaY/search/concerto

Ted Kruzich

July 24, 2008 at 09:52 PM · Ginastera's concerto is extremely demanding not only for the solist, but to the listener also. I had the Ricci's version, put it once, listen for

nearly 10' and that's all I could stand. IMHO an

unpleasant and ugly piece.

If you want extremely demanding but at the same

time extremely beautiful pieces, listen to Hubay's

Scenes de la Czarda

July 25, 2008 at 12:29 AM · To say that Heifetz didn't test his limits is blasphemy! He was, IMHO, always reaching "a litter bit further." He once said "there is no top, there are always further heights to reach" (that's not quite verbatum).

July 25, 2008 at 12:30 AM · ....besides difficulty, there's the problem of converting it to to music....Pinchas says Bartok 2 is the toughest thing he's ever done....easily understood...and after years of unsuccessfully trying to admire and work on this piece myself,a live performance by Miriam Fried did two things:

She presented the piece with such musicality and lush facility, I was enthralled...and hearing her and seeing the emotion she put forth, it was obvious that Bartok and I would never be a working relationship.....I promptly put the part away and went back to Accolay (actually Glazanov).

July 25, 2008 at 06:46 AM · Listened to Gavriloff´s recording of Ligeti´s violin concerto a few days ago, thats a good example of a violinist that propably pushed himself to the max when he learned that concerto

You can listen to the recording here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8Wu7t2_b-0

Irvine Arditti is another violinist that should get more credit I think

A lot of Contemporary music is so much more demanding to learn then the old warhorses

July 25, 2008 at 07:42 AM · "A lot of Contemporary music is so much more demanding to learn then the old warhorses"

But why would you bother.

July 25, 2008 at 12:17 PM · As an aside, Heifetz did of course, record a few Paganini pieces - not much, granted - a few of the caprices and that spectacular Moto Perpetuo recorded when he was 16 or 17. There is a recording and a film of Caprice 24 (I think it's the Auer version with piano accompaniment) that puts every other violinist to shame. Not only is it technically and musically right on point, but it is played with passion and with a kind of vocal quality that is breathtaking. Clearly, he could play anything. Whether he wanted to play anything is another question.

July 25, 2008 at 03:40 PM · I was surprised when perusing the website of a tiny nearby orchestra (Illinois Valley Symphony) to see their repertoire for last season, which included a concerto performance by their concertmaster, a grad student.

The Miklos Rozsa concerto. :-) Wish I'd have caught that...

July 26, 2008 at 01:59 PM · " Moto Perpetuo recorded when he was 16 or 17. There is a recording and a film of Caprice 24 (I think it's the Auer version with piano accompaniment) that puts every other violinist to shame. Not only is it technically and musically right on point"

It´s mostly the tempo and precision that makes these recordings so difficult

I should mention the Youtube recording of Kavakos playing Caprice no.5 as another recording where the tempo itself makes your jaw drop.

Rosza´s violin concerto is indeed hard but most people find for instance Ginastera´s and Ligeti´s harder

Just the score of the Ligeti concerto was enough to scare me.

July 27, 2008 at 08:54 AM · A nice story concerning Heifetz was told by Margarete Berson, mother of pianist Daniel Wayenberg. She studied the violin in St.Petersburg at the same time Heifetz did. One day at the Conservatory little Jascha played Ernst's Last Rose of Summer.

The next day in the music shop many students of the violin wanted to buy 'that nice and easy piece' by Ernst.

August 6, 2008 at 10:36 PM · "The ability to competently play a challenging piece, and the ability to play something that anyone could easily play, but on a very high technical level. He said that every violinist should pursue both goals."

Completely agree 100%.

August 7, 2008 at 01:22 AM · Apologize if it has been noted already, Heifetz - Caprice 24 has gone over 1,000,000 views on Youtube. Wow.

August 7, 2008 at 05:10 AM · http://www.nme.com/video/id/kFaq9kTlcaY/search/concerto

This is an amazing video. Bela Lugosi never conducted so well. Heifetz's astonishing technique and musicality evident in abundance.

But how sad to watch his mental deterioraton: "But Nora, you ARE Carnegie Hall." Imagine an artist of Heiftez's caliber confusing a woman with a concert venue. It happens I guess.

Please, violinistdotcommies, let's keep taking our fish oil and doing crossword puzzles. Whatever those are.

August 7, 2008 at 05:21 AM · "But how sad to watch his mental deterioraton: "But Nora, you ARE Carnegie Hall." Imagine an artist of Heiftez's caliber confusing a woman with a concert venue. It happens I guess."

hahahaha

August 7, 2008 at 06:30 AM · Tijn,

when I heard Hilary Hahn play the Last Rose of Summer on Youtube, she had the same effect on me! I downloaded a copy just to see what it was like. Now I know :)

Another story like that: for my nineteenth -- or so -- birthday my brother bought me a record of Bartók's Solo Sonata, played by Joshua Epstein. During the subsequent year, we agreed that it was very beautiful music. Next birthday I got the sheet music!

History repeats itself.

August 7, 2008 at 08:00 AM · "Tijn,

when I heard Hilary Hahn play the Last Rose of Summer on Youtube, she had the same effect on me!"

Poor Hilary got very little sleep before that performance and she played sloppier then usual

She made at least one significant mistake but her performance was great overall as usual

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Violin Finder
Yamaha Violin Finder

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Metzler Violin Shop
Metzler Violin Shop

Juilliard: Starling-Delay Symposium on Violin Studies
Juilliard: Starling-Delay Symposium on Violin Studies

Gliga Violins
Gliga Violins

ARIA International Summer Academy

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases

Fiddlerman.com

Fiddlershop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Pluhar Violins

Potter Violins

Pro-Am Strings Ltd

Violin Lab

Violin Pros

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop

Subscribe