Best recording of Meditation from Thais

January 19, 2008 at 07:52 PM · has a few. Gitlis is wild and Mutter is luscious. What is your favorite and why?

Replies (41)

January 19, 2008 at 11:38 PM · Fritz Kreisler recorded it several times. Its very good.

January 19, 2008 at 11:52 PM · Nadien.

January 20, 2008 at 12:23 AM · How do you find them on the tube?

January 20, 2008 at 01:26 AM · Just go to and type in what you're looking for. There are some great videos there. Will check out Kreisler and Nadien. Thanks!

January 20, 2008 at 04:20 AM · sorry, can't find Gitlis's on youtube

Josef Hassid

January 20, 2008 at 02:40 PM · Michael Rabin's recording is sublime . . . He was a great talent who died prematurely at 35 in 1972.

January 20, 2008 at 07:31 PM · Michael Rabin's "Meditation" is my favorite. What sound! It is on the EMI 6 CD set "Michael Rabin".

January 20, 2008 at 07:54 PM · Milstein's version, which can also be found on youtube, is simply out of this world to me. The tempo might seem too fast at first hearing, but it has a most incredible sincerity that transcends the mundane love usually associated with the piece.

January 20, 2008 at 11:10 PM · Greetings,

Stewart, that one is my favorite too.



January 21, 2008 at 09:05 PM · I'm glad people already put their vote in for Rabin. Mine goes to his rendition as well. :)

January 22, 2008 at 12:21 AM · Rabin´s is my favourite. I enjoy Grumiaux recording too.

January 22, 2008 at 03:28 AM · I listened to 4 or 5 (at least) on youtube the other day after reading this thread. My favorite was Milstein's.

January 22, 2008 at 03:30 AM · Grumiaux

January 22, 2008 at 05:29 AM · fritz kreisler or josef hassid

according to kreisler, a violinist like heifetz comes once every 100 years while a violinist like hassid comes once every 200 years

January 22, 2008 at 06:03 AM · Greetings,

well a hundred years has passed and we don`t have another violinist like Heifetz. Now we have to wait another hundred and see if he got it half right....



February 22, 2008 at 02:24 AM · Re: Kreisler and the 100-200 yrs. After hearing Heifitz play, He also

said words to the effect," Well boys, we can all break our fiddles

across our knees now!!!! ".

Kreisler's rendition of Meditation is my all time favorite. His Mastery

of vibrato is unreigned in this piece. I have heard this played by a lot of the old time greats, and modern players too, and no one can

come close to him. His violin sings for him in the most beautiful voice. Sometimes happy, sometimes sad and crying. I almost cry myself when I hear him play. He was one of the all time Greats, and loved by many, of all ages.

February 22, 2008 at 03:23 AM · Monelle,

Listen to the opera Thais. The best recent recording is of Rene Fleming as Thais. Renaud Capucon plays the solo violin. I think french music is one of the hardest to play well.


February 22, 2008 at 04:33 AM · Dang, I always thought it was a Suzuki piece.



February 22, 2008 at 01:27 PM · I agree with Joey. If you're not familiar with David Nadien you're missing out on a jewel of violinists! Well... you'd like him if you like portamentos.

February 23, 2008 at 04:34 PM · The version played on no strings is best.

February 23, 2008 at 05:00 PM · I have never heard a recording even close to Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg's version on the Mendelsohhn Violin Concerto album. It is just hauntingly beautiful. Nearly every other version I've heard sounded like the artist was trying to race to the finish, but she draws it out slowly with such gorgeous coloring and phrasing.

February 23, 2008 at 05:15 PM · 4 recordings of this work stand out for me: Heifetz, Rabin, Milstein, and Nadien.

February 23, 2008 at 05:16 PM ·

February 25, 2008 at 04:02 AM · Joshua Bell is pro with the Meditation.

February 25, 2008 at 11:05 PM · I don't believe I've seen Anshel Brusilow with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Eugene Ormandy mentioned or John Georgiadis with Richard Bonynge conducting the London Symphony on an old album entitled Homage to Pavlova based on music to which Anna Pavlova danced, but these are two more beautiful performances in addition to the ones mentioned previously.

February 26, 2008 at 02:06 AM · Here's another recording:

February 26, 2008 at 03:30 AM · I like Nicola Benedetti recording of Thais.

Why, Well I haven't listen to many many verions but this one is so beautiful, I don't feel the need to search for more.

February 27, 2008 at 05:51 PM · I'm not one to collect multiple versions of Thais but I certainly would jump through hoops to hear someone like Anshel Brusilow play it.

February 27, 2008 at 06:14 PM · One of the most provocative recordings of the Meditation is by the great violinist Arturo Delmoni on the album "Songs my Mother Taught Me". This album was a gift to my parents (on tape at that time!lol) and was my introduction to the violin. I remember vividly whelling up while listening to that piece. For an 8 year old to be moved so dramatically was a definitely feat by Maestro Delmoni.

February 28, 2008 at 03:13 AM · Hi,

I'm actually learning this piece right now, and what I look at for inspiration is Joshua Bell of course. I think his phrasing is exquisite- and the way he can make it flow seamlessly is wonderful. But of course, after hearing him, and then hearing myself, it makes me want to throw my fiddle out the window. :)



February 28, 2008 at 04:32 AM · ^Megan, listen to Milstein play it instead. He doesn't overplay it with excessive maudlin sentimentality. The recording is on youtube

February 29, 2008 at 05:06 PM · I recorded Gitlis playing this live 4-5 years ago in France.


May 25, 2013 at 06:14 PM · I just came accross this recording and looked up this topic. I have to agree with Chris Mayer above: this is amazing by Josef Hassid - the young brilliant violinist who went mad and died at 27...

Thais: Josef Hassid

May 25, 2013 at 10:45 PM · hassid had a sad story, he didn't go mad. He could not marry the woman he loved, because she wasn't jewish. His family didn't alow him, thats the reason why he got "mad". sad story indeed and interesting recording! But there is no "best" recording of this piece...

May 25, 2013 at 11:26 PM · This guy does a nice job, and word on the street is that he used a cheap Chinese Hellier copy violin for it...

May 26, 2013 at 06:55 AM · Simon - from what I can find out Josef definitely went through the traumatic loss of his life's love but I think its romantic to think that this alone killed him. From what I can glean he first went into a psychiatric hospital in 1941 at age 18 after a 'nervous breakdown' and had electroconvulsive treatment (strong electrical shocks to the brain) and insulin-induced coma. He was then diagnosed with 'acute schizophrenia' in 1943. He was lobotomized in 1950 and died the same year. No question he suffered some barbaric treatments.

There is some discussion as to what extent his medical breakdown was a natural disease and what due to the 'medical treatments' but there was probably little they could do in the pre-pharmacology era.

there is a topic on Hassid right here on that has both sides of the argument - whether he was destroyed by science or science had a futile attempt at saving him from an inate disease. They do note that before he had any treatments he suffered from acute memory lapses - notably during performances. Josef Hassid

May 26, 2013 at 05:04 PM · I know that he died because of that "medical treatment" but as far as I know the mental illness came from or was triggered by the cultural stubborness of his family. I tried to go back those steps. Of course he must have been highly sensitive, but that is actually what makes a great artist (not musician necessarily).

The best always have some trouble. Also pharmacy can make you trouble: Michael Rabin used tranquilizers and was probably "high" as he died. Szerying and Ferras were alcoholics as far as I know. They all had different storys but similar background. They probably never had a childhood and never could really live through that thing, that we call puberty. Everything has its price...

May 27, 2013 at 12:33 AM · Modesty prevents me from citing my own Youtube Thais performance. That is, if I WERE modest!

May 27, 2013 at 01:04 AM · There's that narcissism again! ;-)

May 27, 2013 at 01:26 AM · Raphael, I already have you a shout out a few posts up...So your modesty remains unblemished!

May 27, 2013 at 02:19 AM · So I'm immodest AND senile. That's quite a combination!

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

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

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


Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine