Erick Friedman on CBC radio Erick Friedman on Jascha Heifetz' 100th Birthday Celebration

January 21, 2011 at 10:05 PM ·

This is an excellent interview newly uploaded to Youtube of my teacher Erick Friedman discussing his experiences as a student of Jascha Heifetz, the origins of Heifetz' violinistic lineage, and the famous Heifetz/Friedman Bach Double recording among other things.  I hope you like it!  

Replies (30)

January 21, 2011 at 10:52 PM ·

 I love the bach double story

January 22, 2011 at 12:46 AM ·

Hi Nate: about a mouth ago I have listened to a rare interview with Heifetz where he seems to be so relaxed and talks a great deal about himself, his career, his projetcs ( the electricar). And the part that most impressed me and made me laught a lot is when he speaks about his feelings and him not smiling and a false apparence of "coldness" often described by some critics...

It changed my view about the man, really, as a human being. I will look at the video of Erik, your teacher...



January 22, 2011 at 01:08 AM ·

I like the part where he speaks about vibrato and Wieniawski.. Kreisler always mentionned that he was inspired by Wieniawski for his famous vibrato. There is a now a quite assertive documentation about Lambert Massart, teacher of both Wieniawski and Kreisler, that he (Massart) was the very first to advice and teach continuous vibrato. A book has been published not a long time ago about that particular subject-matter...



Just go for Google with this title and you will find about all the details concerning that recent publication. Very interesting.

January 22, 2011 at 02:34 AM ·

Extraordinary interview with a broadly cultured and articulate artist. Many thanks, Nate, for sharing this.

January 22, 2011 at 04:41 AM ·

Thanks interesting!!!

January 22, 2011 at 12:54 PM ·

Reading googled sources it appears that Erick Friedman had a very low opinion of Galamian, de Lay, and Stern.

And although he admired Oistrakh as a violinist and musician he also doubted his integrity. All very interesting!

January 22, 2011 at 02:48 PM ·

 well about oistrakh: look at what happened with the tchaikovski competition incident

January 22, 2011 at 04:02 PM ·

What happened???

January 22, 2011 at 04:05 PM ·

What happened??? Is it the truth or just gossips again alike when Neveu won first prize at the Wieniawski competition in 1935, spreading a false assertion about the entire jury ( most of them were jews) was anti-semite, like if she was a second rate player...

January 22, 2011 at 08:22 PM ·

Marc, it's not this he's referring too... 

Oistrakh came here on tour and it is told he asked Friedman to come in Russia to the competition.  Igor also played in the competition if I remember well what I read. 

Friedman said that Oistrakh (David) didn't speak with him once in Russia at the competition and that he found that very weird. Also, some soviet "students" came in to Friedman's room to tell him he was very good and have huge chances to win (perhaps as a strategy to distract and stress foreign competitors who came in Russia)

I don't know how much of this is true...  In most situations, Oistrakh was told to be a very humble and true man.  Could the authorities have forced him to not talk or ignore the foreign competitors?  Could they have make him threats?  It is told by those who knew Oistrakh that he was more frighten/obedient than rebellious personality.

I have a hard time to beleive it was intentionnal! But everyone is human can receive threats and be frighten (and perhaps not behave like they would normally)  Oistrakh told Stern (another time) that he had to be faithful for his family safety...

Again, how can one know if this is true or not??? 

January 22, 2011 at 09:26 PM ·

Well, these are what we call in the judicial language pure speculation, expectative and false deductions. Why did Kremer won second prize in Montreal and Spivakov first... Why Spivakov won second in Moscow and Kremer first. Why Hirshorn won first in Queen Elizabeth and Kremer second... Now, who made the big career... Kremer.

Friedman was a very gifted violinist, and at the time came also Perlman and Zukerman. Competitions are weird. Time will assert who has a career and can hold it. Because it is very difficult to be on the road as a concert violinist, I mean a great one. And it is not necessary to win a big competition to be a great violinist. Mutter, Hahn, Ehnes never competed...

January 22, 2011 at 10:13 PM ·

Well, these are what we call in the judicial language pure speculation, expectative and false deductions.


I didn't said I agree...  No one knows exactly but everyone knows that there were political issues imposed on people may it be the case or not in that situation.  I simply put it the way it was written in an article I read from Friedman to the best of my memory. 

Every situation is subjective

But perhaps, in the whole story of violin and violin competitions, there must have been some "cheap shots" from one side/government to the other in both directions (soviets and occident).  How and when, no one will ever know...

January 22, 2011 at 10:22 PM ·

 nate, thanks for the link.  you are blessed to have been his student.  must be a mesmerizing experience!

that description of the interaction between heifetz and friedman over the wolf note shows so much class and character.


January 22, 2011 at 10:29 PM ·

Great interview! Thanks for bringing it to us, Nate!

It seems that people have always understood - and probably always will understand vibrato a bit differently. With great respect to Friedman, I wouldn't go so far as to say that modern vibrato is mainly in support of the bow and projection, etc. - if I absorbed that right on a first listening. For sure, the body of the sound does come from the bow. I compare the bow to the body of the violin, and the bow to the varnish. Perhaps it's a similar concept expressed differently. Many people don't know that written reference to some kind of vibrato on a string instrument goes back to the 1500's! Mozart's father, a violin pedagog, wrote a treatise on violin playing the same year WA was born - 1756. In it, he complains at one point that some violinists vibrate so much and so continuously that you'd think they had a palsy!

Of course these things are relative, and we'll never be sure what players sounded like who lived before recordings came about - and of course, the early ones only give an idea. But it seems that from a long way back there were the more chaste, and the relatively more opulent vibrato users - to simplify the issue a bit. Around the same time that Kreisler was already active, and Ysaye and Wieniawski had made their mark, Arnold Rose, the influential concermaster of the Vienna Phil. forbade the string players to vibrate at all, except on special notes that he would specify. And Auer, too, advocated a rather circumspect use of vibrato.

January 22, 2011 at 11:00 PM ·

 for the full freidman story

January 22, 2011 at 11:03 PM ·

 well a correct vibrato even does more than protect the gaurantees the proper position and fuction of the left hand and arm

January 22, 2011 at 11:05 PM ·

What ever the issue about that particular soviet competition, it was possible for Friedman to have a greater career. He is forgotten today by the public in general. Why. What hapenned... He should have done it in the states and Europe... Maybe he did not give his best in Moscow. Other foreigners did win the first prize in Moscow. I am not sure if correct, but believe he himself did not pursue a career and studied medecine...

January 22, 2011 at 11:42 PM ·

 No he did do his best and the jury chose 

Viktor Tretyakov (USSR)

Second Prize

Masuko Ushioda (Japan)

Second Prize

Oleg Kagan (USSR)

Third Prize

Yoko Sato (Japan)

Third Prize

Oleg Krysa (USSR)

Fourth Prize

Nicholas Chumachenko (Argentina)

Fifth Prize

Zinovy Vinnikov


January 22, 2011 at 11:45 PM ·

 just llsten to friedmans recording of the saint seins intro and rondo and compare it to comparison!

Apparently at the winners concert, when the winners had to give a 15 minute concert each, friedman gave the audience one and a half hours until the soviets had to take him off the stage

January 23, 2011 at 12:24 AM ·

well: thesecond prize ex equo and third to japan, that is not what I call being dishonest... Treayakov gave an unforgettable performance of Paganini first, this I was told by Vladimir Lancman, one of the best student of Yankelevith ( he was considered the best by both Spivakov and Tretyakov). Lancman was my dearest teacher and a first class violinist, better than Hirshorn, and very classical. He played Bach with pure style, with a very thin vibrato and perfect, intonation. His Sibelius was one of the very best I have heard in my life. And his recording of the Franck sonata with his wife, and several other items are of the first class, like Seidel , Heifetz... Unfortunately, he was not interested at all in doing a career, even if he was at the very top.

So, finally, Igor , the son of David was not into that competition. I believe Igor at the time was already on the International scene as a concertist. It is during the 50,s that he competed in the Queen Elizabeth...

January 23, 2011 at 01:37 AM ·

I read the complete story...and what about Galamian. He left him for Heifetz and in 1966 emerged both Zukerman and Perlman....

I still do not understand why Friedman did not make it as well...

January 23, 2011 at 02:22 AM ·

Oh, re the competition, I remember reading in a Strad interview with Friedman that Heifetz warned him not to go. "You will see what will happen" he warned, and was right.

Nate - could you share any other tidbits that Friedman may have shared with you about his interactions with Heifetz that have not been recorded in public interviews? Those of us familiar with the Heifetz master class tapes saw an incomplete show - maybe it was never televised - where Friedman played some scales, Paganini #17 - not to Heifetz' satisfaction, and then when asked to play a concerto said he couldn't that day because he'd strained his wrist. Heifetz said "you crossed me up today, I don't mind telling you." I wonder how upset H really was with him.

January 23, 2011 at 02:34 AM ·

 Thanks for all of your comments guys!  I hope you liked the interview. 

Raphael to answer your question in regards to that particular masterclass on video, Friedman did tell me that they had a slight disagreement before the class about a scheduled concert tour.   So there was some animosity that day already before the cameras rolled.  Also I've heard from a few sources that these masterclasses on tape supposedly were quite different from the way Heifetz actually taught.

January 23, 2011 at 05:00 AM ·

Hey Marc,

   The interview with Heifetz that you mentioned above, is it available on YouTube by any chance?



January 23, 2011 at 12:40 PM ·

Kenneth: YES and it is a must because you will discover a different view about Heifetz. it is untitled Heifetz: a rare interview... he is so warm that someone commented tha he must have been drunk a little. I think it is nasty.

January 23, 2011 at 12:45 PM ·

Easy to find: It is called, Heifetz on music!!! That is the real title on youtube...and he is very warm, listened to it again...



January 23, 2011 at 02:09 PM ·

Thanks, Nate! If you Think of more, please share! And thanks Marc! Just listened to the Heifetz interview. I wonder where that person got that version from. I say "version" because back in I think 1970 or 1971 there was a program aired on tv all about Heifetz. It's available on DVD, titled "Heifetz in Performance". It includes the Bach Chaconne, the Bruch "Scottish Fantasy" and some short pieces. Intersperced is some of Heifetz' commentary on different things. That is essentially the same material as the Youtube inrerview - except that the comments on tv/DVD are edited and abridged from this. While finding it on Youtube, I also came across an intervirew with Eudice Shapiro, commenting on Heifetz, Pietagorsky and other things that's very interesting.

January 23, 2011 at 03:09 PM ·

 The interview is from volume 35 in the heifetz collection. its on the same cd where he plays the mendelssohn octet

January 24, 2011 at 11:47 AM ·

Marc, what an interesting statement

    "Lancman, better than Hirshhorn".

Remarkable achievement, at last a genius created the Richter scale for violinists! Don't forget to patent it... (did you name it Ehnescale?)

January 31, 2011 at 01:00 AM ·

Daniel: you do not even know who really was Lancman... he had a very brief career and devoted himself to teaching.  The few who had the opportunity to hear him do remember how impressive and sensitive he was when he performed at his best... By the way, I had the opportunity to hear both them live. Hirshorn was absolutely fabulous and  a rare breed of the virtuoso rank. Lancman had great virtuosity, but as I mentionned ,  was more classical. Hirshon was not as good in Bach solo works... and Lancman was considered by all his peers as the most promising at the time. Hopefully they will reedit all his recordings he made in the soviet union during the 60's. You must aknowledge that Lancman suffered a lot about the regime and that he and his wife left for Israel in 1970... He had the misfortune to have a serious injury of his back and had so much pain, that he coulld not perform anymore...

The "Ehnescale" creation of yours is totally irrespective my friend... and I will not add any further comments

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