Jozsef Lacatos -the violinst with the best skill ever?

August 13, 2004 at 04:41 AM · I think he is the most talented violinist ever. No one can do the pizz like he does.

Replies (100)

August 13, 2004 at 05:47 AM · I've never heard (of) him. For me, Heifetz was the best ever technically.

August 13, 2004 at 05:57 PM · Different sytle-Lakatos is a Gypsy violinist. It would be unfair to say his is technically better or more talented than say Heifetz or say Vengerov plays better than he (Lakatos) does. Non-comparable.

August 16, 2004 at 06:53 AM · playing styles are not comparable, but "skills" are.

Just say right-hand pizzicato, I never saw and heard other palyer do it like Lacato does.

August 16, 2004 at 11:02 PM · ahh i still say kogan had the most awesome technique

August 17, 2004 at 12:19 AM · To me the person with the greatest technique is Ricci, even Kogan would not attempt certain pieces in concert that he would do.

August 17, 2004 at 02:35 AM · Lacatos- what a loser!!!

August 17, 2004 at 06:45 AM · na...i'd rather Kogan over Ricci anyday...Kogan has impeccable intonation and a superior tone. Lakatos is a very talented man and I must admit...he is so damn good. His Left Hand Pizz is superior to all...

August 17, 2004 at 09:49 AM · Both Heifetz and Kogan were superior to either Ricci or Lakatos.

August 17, 2004 at 01:52 PM · Yes, but Kogan, with all of his superior technique never once tried to play such pieces as Bartok and Ysaye solo sonatas in concert. Neither did he play Ernst violin concerto or Wieniawski no.1, nor did he record the coplete Paganini Caprice cycle...twice.

August 17, 2004 at 02:06 PM · Ricci recorded the complete caprices at the least 5 times. First one in 1947 (See Istituto Italiano), and IMO it is the best version around.

Abaout Lacatos, I supouse he is a relative of Sandor Lakatos, an excelent gypsy violinist who form a band in the 50s. Have a CD of gypsy hungarian music and is very good.

August 17, 2004 at 03:35 PM · ViolinT, it doesn't matter the rep you play, it matters how well you play it.


Let's take a violinist we can all say is damn good, such as...Oistrakh. Say you attended a performance of Oistrakh's where he played Mozart G major. Would you say that a mediocre student playing Wieniawski F-sharp is better technically than Oistrakh because of the technique required in the different pieces?

***It doesn't matter how difficult the piece is, it matters how well it's played.***

August 17, 2004 at 05:39 PM · quite right

August 17, 2004 at 06:59 PM ·

August 17, 2004 at 06:53 PM · I think the technique of all these violinists was about equal, that's why they're soloists and geniuses.

August 17, 2004 at 07:00 PM · Ricci would never have carved out a great career for himself, and would never have gotten the respect of such violinists as Milstein, if he did not play these pieces like a genius. Look at the exerpts of him playing Paganini Variations in "The Art of the Violin" video, how many violinists can play that piece as phenominally as Ricci? Also, it's not like Ricci achieved his fame when he was a prodigy and just went from there, his career was greatly interrupted during WW2 when he had joined the army, and after he returned, he had to, not only get back to his level of playing, but also make a comeback career wise. Finally, I really don't know that many violinists that at the age of 70 could play Eernst and Wieniawski 1 concertos as well as he did.

August 17, 2004 at 07:14 PM · Yes, Ricci played those pieces admirably when he was 70. But part of being a musician/artist is having a connection with the audience, and the power to emote and move the listener. Would you call someone an artist who plays Paganini's 7 caprice flawlessly over an violinist such as Oistrakh or Mutter playing a convincingly, powerful rendition of Brahms or Sibelius concerti? That's what I'm getting at. Flashiness does not equate artistry.

August 17, 2004 at 07:12 PM · Violin T,

Kogan regularly played the entire cycle of Paganini Caprices in public as a young man. Listen to his Waxman and Sarasate Carmen Fantasias, Nel Cor Piu non mi Sento, and a host of bravura pieces, and you will hear, not only fabulous fingerboard agility, but wonderful musicianship - just like Heifetz. Really, it's the agility combined with musicianship and intonation that make these guys so wonderful to hear. Unfortunately, Ricci had intonation problems so that many don't enjoy hearing him.

August 17, 2004 at 07:49 PM · It is true that Ricci had some intonation issues, but these were mostly in his older age and technical decline. I'd like to see another violinist who would record Ernst's Last Rose of Summer Variations at the age of 65. Ricci pushed himself to and beyond his technical limits; sometimes he would make inescusable mistakes, but he also made some of the most exciting violin recordings ever. Listen to his Ravel Tzigane, Sarasate Zigeunerweisen, Paganini "La Campanella", or Bazzini Le Ronde des Lutins.

August 17, 2004 at 07:56 PM · i have, i and i have a lot of respect for ricci but i prefer other violinists for most of those pieces.

August 17, 2004 at 07:50 PM · I love Ricci! He lead masterclasses at Meadowmount for two weeks this summer and he was wonderful. He is a really intelligent person and he was really helpful to all that played. It is so sad that he cannot play anymore because of his neck :(

August 17, 2004 at 08:50 PM · Left hand pizzacto is only one technique out of like 30 on the violin...Lacatos is phenomianal, but even above kogan, my vote is for ruggerio ricci

August 18, 2004 at 12:08 AM · Actually if we're judging the left-hand pizz, I think the greatest of all is Julian Sitkovetsky. In his recording of La Companella, his left-hand pizz is so spectuacular that it actually sounds that he's accompanying the violin with a mandolin.

August 18, 2004 at 03:46 AM · We cannot have a left-hand pizz discussion without mentioning Emil...

August 18, 2004 at 05:07 AM · i think its silly to have a left hand pizz discussion at all...but thats just me

August 19, 2004 at 03:00 AM · Not just left-hand pizz, Lacato's right hand pizz is like guitar playing.

October 10, 2004 at 09:20 AM · Personally I think Lakatos is incredible, but IMO Michael Rabin was the greatest violinist of the 20th century, that is, up until the time his career began to unravel. Kogan I think is my second favorite, almost up there with Rabin. I like Ricci but his intonation isn't always so great, though I have to give him credit for being the most daring. To record all 24 Pag Caprices without editing, no THAT takes cahones!!!

October 12, 2004 at 12:43 AM · Isn't his name Roby Lakatos? Maybe you're talking about someone else, but Roby Lakatos is a Gypsy violinist and yes his technique is really amazing although one can't quite compare. I think Kogan is much better than Ricci... sometimes Ricci gets like....... unstable?

October 15, 2004 at 09:56 AM · i've heard some of ricci and i think it was the concerto no. 4 by p. and it sounded a bit strained i heard the first caprice and it was really good. rabin was no doubt technically gifted however i have his caprices recording and i just dont like them like others i think his playing is dark.

October 17, 2004 at 01:49 PM · IMO Milstein was the supreme technician of the violin. He had the cleanest, most flawless technique, even more perfect, and consistent then Heifetz. Have a listen to his Wieniawski scherzo tarantelle, and caprice in a.

October 17, 2004 at 05:03 PM · I have to disagree. Although Milstein was very very clean, Heifetz was still technically superior to him, especially in his right arm. I do think Milstein comes 2nd though and I love his playing -- one of my favorites.

December 5, 2004 at 06:06 PM · you should hear ricci left hand pizz in last rose of summer and Variations on the austrian national anthem by wieniawski (and the demisemiquaver harmonics - astounding)

December 23, 2004 at 11:20 PM · I've never seen so much Lacatos intolerance.

December 24, 2004 at 08:44 AM · Rick,

I totally agree. Milstein had the most varied sound of any violinist I've ever heard and that is all in the right hand. He knew how to make a violin sing.


May 31, 2006 at 12:24 AM · I have just received a 5 DVD collection of Ricci providing Master Classes along with interview and discussion devoted to (a) left hand and (b) right hand. It is only available, from what I can find on - but it's a remarkable collection - especially if you're a Ricci fan - he doesn't play except in coaching, but it IS his history. Ricci devotes an entire DVD to coaching a Bach Sonata, the God Save the Queen Variations and the Wieniawski's Austrian National Anthem variations. However, I am looking for and cannot find ANY available recording of the Wiekiawski piece. Does anyone know of ANY (preferably the best) recording of the Wieniawski piece?

May 31, 2006 at 07:38 PM · How many Lakatoses ARE there??? A while back there was a thread on Roby Lakatos, I just got a delightfully schmaltzy CD of Sándor Lakatos, and now this Joszef Lakatos???

June 1, 2006 at 01:36 AM · surely what was meant was Roby here. If we are all actually talking about Roby, then I don't know anybody is able to compare Heifetz, Milstein, and even Ricci to him. Some people are crazy it seems. In terms of pure skill and abilities, no one comes close to Roby.

June 1, 2006 at 01:42 AM · I just discovered this violinist myself. Check out Roby on I Love this guy's playing!

June 1, 2006 at 01:40 AM · Surely Lakatos is amazing but my friend who is a clarinetist and studied in Mastrecht said that Lakatos honestly sucks when it comes to things that aren't his style, IE Mozart, etc etc.

I don't hold it against him at all, after all, Metallica doesn't play in the style of Zeppelin and Mozart is not the same as Hayden. Despite that, I would like to give my opinion on the greatest violin technician, but calling her a technician would not be doing her justice.

My pick goes to Mrs. Rachel Barton Pine. I was fortunate enough to play for her in a master class in Iceland and then to hear her perform the Joachim concerto. As both a teacher and a performer she is unparalleled. Not only is her technique amazing, but her phrasing and the way she paints all the colors in the music is astounding.

OK, I'll stop talking now.

June 1, 2006 at 02:07 AM · Roby's techniques go far beyond every technique the classical violinist uses. At the same time, he takes every technique that's already in use to another level. In just speaking of technique, you cannot compare a Rachel Barton or Heifetz or anyone to Roby because he is capable of doing every technique they can do at a higher level. Basically, he can do every technique they can do better, but they can't do everything he can do. And he can just flat out play faster than anyone, by far.

June 1, 2006 at 03:03 AM · Look, a gypsy is a gypsy and a classical player is a classical player. They are entirely different types of musician, different techniques, different priorities, different musical culture. I have a recording of Sandor Lakatos, and it's terrific, except for one track, and that's where he plays Paganini 24. Ugh--his intonation is suddenly atrocious, and he forgets how to use the bow. The next track is some wild csardas, and he's back to his virtuoso gypsy self.

Similarly, I wouldn't want to hear Heifetz play "Hullámzo Balaton".

June 1, 2006 at 03:35 AM · Brian said "he (Roby)takes every technique that's already in use to another level. In just speaking of technique, you cannot compare a Rachel Barton or Heifetz or anyone to Roby because he is capable of doing every technique they can do at a higher level."

I do not like reading fabrications and lies. It is slanderous to both Barton and Heifetz's abilities as different as they are to deem them inferior to this guy. Yes Lakotas plays very fast, we all know that. He can pluck with 3 fingers and do some other crazy stuff. I am surprised no one on here has pointed out how bad Roby's intonation is; it is terrible. I think a great Gypsy fiddler should play in tune. To say Lakotas plays better than Heifetz or Ricci is like saying one baseball pitcher who has a 100 MPH fastball who can't throw it for a strike is better than someone that throws 88MPH and throws strikes. Heifetz and Barton are great artists. They are masters in a much higher arena than this fiddler.

June 1, 2006 at 03:16 AM · My teacher studied with someone who studied under Persinger and Ricci and he also performed in a masterclass with Ricci. Then he studied with Erick Friedman who studied under Heifetz. He believes that if you just look at technique, Ricci is the best technical violinist. His style of playing supposedly caused his hand to tighten up more as he aged, which is an explanation for his questionable intonation at times.

As far as technical and musical virtuosity, I believe Hiefetz was the best. I can marvel at Ricci's recordings of showpieces, but I can't listen to his Brahms concerto for more than 5 minutes before I decide to put something else on. Ricci also had an early entrance when he performed the Bach Double (in the third movement) with my teacher...

one more thing...Ricci had the whole pizz variation in the 24th caprice worked out for left hand bow or plucking with the right hand.

June 1, 2006 at 04:18 AM · We haven't mentioned Roby's intonation because that's not the most important thing for a gypsy fiddler, color and expression are much more important.

By the way, gypsies and folk fiddlers often use quarter-tones in their playing, and that can make them sound out of tune to us classical players.

June 1, 2006 at 04:19 AM ·

June 1, 2006 at 04:29 AM · A violinist's technique should only be compared to that violinist.

There are lots of guys who play "perfect" who don't hit the music, and there are guys who make you feel every emotion but don't hit any notes. Which do you prefer?

We all have our preferences - I happen to like the guys that make me feel something since I can whip out my MIDI keyboard and have it play more in tune than Heifetz or Kogan or Lakatos or Kevin Huang or any human violinist can possibly do even with Pro Tools editing to airbrush his mistakes.

The bottom line is that technique is not a standardized thing. It is a totally individual thing that either works or doesn't work for a given musician. From what I've heard of Lakatos, he's terrific and I wouldn't change a thing about his playing.

June 1, 2006 at 05:57 AM · look, the reason you CAN compare them is because Roby uses every violin technique every classical violinist does. he can do octaves, tenths, sautille, up bow and down bow staccato, left hand pizzicato, detache, marcatto, etc. If you ever watched him play at a live concert, you will see that he does up bow staccato twice as clear and fast as anyone else (except maybe Eugene Fodor), his left hand pizz is clearer and faster than anyone, his sautille of course is at least 3 times as fast as anyone else's, and so on. On top of that, he does things no one else can do such as the extremely fast pizzicato with the right hand, and playing a melody with left hand pizzicato WHILE doing the right hand pizzicato effect, much like playing and doing pizzicato at the same time, but he can do it much faster than anyone else. As for his intonation, I hope you realize that he quite often uses expressive intonation. I am pretty sure he has a better ear than you or I or anyone else here, and a lot of times he plays a note slightly sharp or flat for expressiveness. For example, in the czardas video, in the beginning, his Fs and B flats are slightly flat. It's done on purpose, to create such an effect that blends in well with the cimbalom. You naturally say he's out of tune because you're unaware of this. Unless you see him live, don't even think of commenting on him, cause you don't know anything about his playing unless you've heard him live. And Keith, I hope you realize that Anne Sophie Mutter, Nigel Kennedy, Grappeli, Menuhin, and many famous musicians would go to the club in Brussels Roby used to play at JUST to see him. They'd actually take the time to travel there to go see and be amazed by this man's abilities, and I can tell you right now that those people are much more musically intelligent than you are. It's not like Oistrakh would actually travel to America just to see Heifetz play, so for violinists of that caliber to actually go to see another violinist, it's a testament to Roby's unparalleled talent and greatness.

June 1, 2006 at 07:12 AM · "For example, in the czardas video, in the beginning, his Fs and B flats are slightly flat. It's done on purpose,"

How do you know that? Did you talk to him and he told you he did this intentionally? I'm sorry you don't think I'm musically educated. That coming from someone who can hardly write the English language. I'm glad you do however agree with me that he plays out of tune.

"You naturally say he's out of tune because you're unaware of this."

You're right he sounds out of tune, out of tune is out of tune. To compare this guy to Heifetz is absolutely laughable, it is priceless. One other thing D - Kurganov, to my ear Heifetz at his peak played much more in tune than Szeryng and was a far more great musician than Szeryng (not to knock Szeryng I love his playing greatly) but I am sure he would be the first to admit he was no Heifetz.

June 1, 2006 at 08:36 AM ·

June 1, 2006 at 08:34 AM · I know that because, like i said, his ear and sense of intonation is far above all of us. He also does it on a consistent basis, while in other pieces opting to use tempered intonation on the same notes. I agree that it is not tempered intonation all the time. If you cannot get past the idea of tempered intonation, then you are oblivious to a great part of music. Your inability to explain why Heifetz is better than everyone else is what shows your lack of knowledge on the subject. All you are saying is that Heifetz sounds better to you. You have no idea why. You are also clearly oblivious to the fact that Heifetz quite often used expressive intonation, and Szeryng's was almost always tempered. It's almost as if you're not happy with tempered intonation or any kind of expressive intonation besides Heifetz's expressive intonation. You say it is laughable to compare Roby to Heifetz, and yet you have no supporting reasons as to why it is laughable. Your inability to use reasoning and examples to prove your point is further shown in you no longer arguing, but resorting to try and insult my use of the English language. It's actually quite ironic that you try to insult it. Thus, you are not even arguing, but instead, just throwing out opinions. Basically, all you have is a thesis, and then opinions such as "Heifetz at his peak played much more in tune than Szeryng and was a far more great musician than Szeryng." yeah, that's a thesis. "To compare this guy to Heifetz is absolutely laughable, it is priceless". That's another thesis. "Heifetz and Barton are great artists. They are masters in a much higher arena than this fiddler." There's another one. Are you going to just keep throwing me some more of those? An argument becomes kinda one sided when there's only one person arguing and the other is just throwing around opinions.

June 1, 2006 at 08:37 AM ·

June 1, 2006 at 08:43 AM · Brian said before he deleted his post above: "Your inability to explain why Heifetz is better.....shows your lack of knowledge on the subject."

First of all, before you really make a full of yourself Brian, I would check your inflated ego at the door. It need not take an explanation to why Heifetz is a better violinist than some gypsy fiddler who we've all agreed plays out of tune. It need not take an explanation why he played better on a techanical level than practically everyone. If you need an explanation my friend, you are tone-deaf.

June 1, 2006 at 08:45 AM · i don't need an explanation for myself. Just from you so that I know you know what you're talking about. =)

and the fact that you still say he plays out of tune means you refuse to acknowledge that Lakatos is using expressive intonation, correct? You are implying that you'd be able to correct him, correct? and what deleted post are you talking about? It still says in my post what you just said there.

June 1, 2006 at 08:46 AM · Well, I am glad, of course you know what a thesis is. No explanation needed, it's simply a waste of time, I could list out Heifetz's attributes; but that would take hours. Lakatos attributes would not be as nearly long. Yes and there's a thing called in tune and out of tune. Lakatos goes beyond the confines of "expressive" and just plays flat out inaccurately.

June 1, 2006 at 08:49 AM · ok, that's good enough for me. I've given my arguments, you've given your opinions. and would you care to point out where he plays flat out inaccurately? and a question: have you been to a live lakatos concert and if so where?

June 1, 2006 at 10:36 AM · Brian - If Roby can't play better than Heifetz on cd, why would he live?

I've seen him live (a few years ago and will have a new chance in January) and he did none of the advanced doublestops that you mentions. Sure a few sixths, but I can do those to, and even faster than he did???

And his sautille. what about it? He played csardas 2 times doring the concert and the second time the metronome was set to about 176. I can play that piece faster than that.

And have you seen Heifetz live?

June 1, 2006 at 12:31 PM · I went to Roby's carnegie hall debut, which was April 28 and he must've felt like he wanted to show a lot more there than at the concert you went to, because I saw just about everything. And now, I've never been to a heifetz concert live but it's not like he'd suddenly pull out techniques never seen before. And as for playing as fast as Roby, there's no way you can play as fast as him. Even in the video of him, he is playing 210 to the quarter note. In the live concert I went to at Carnegie, he played even faster. It is much faster than you think. You shouldn't even argue with me about if you or him can play faster because every major violinist who's played with him or heard him would say they can't play as fast as him. And no, i have not been to a live heifetz concert, but i know several who've been to both roby and heifetz's concerts. In terms of being amazed by virtuosity, it's not even close. Go online and search for people speaking of Roby. Most people say that the CDs don't quite capture what he does live.

June 1, 2006 at 03:44 PM · This debate is all about sublimated energy, by the way most people of the world love this , just check out what most sports have become. In one corner you have Heifetz "Auers Star pupil" weighing so and so pounds, and in the other corner you have Roby the Gypsy Fiddler weighing so and so pounds, at the sound of the "pitch fork" come out bowing! Who will be the next "violin champ" of the universe?

June 1, 2006 at 01:16 PM · Mattias, now that I think of it, it's really something of you to think that you can play faster than Roby and thus in a way be better than him at playing the violin. I mean, to compare Heifetz to him is one thing, but unless you've developed a reputation around the world to amaze everyone, I wouldn't compare yourself to Lakatos just yet. Just the fact that you're implying that you might be more capable than Roby at doing something on the violin, especially in the area of playing fast and sautille which is Roby's specialty, just appalls me.

Look, let me break it down this way. Heifetz was a great violinist. There's nothing I would change about Heifetz, because everything he does is what makes him Heifetz. However, Heifetz did not have an up bow staccato near the speed of Roby's, nor did he ever display in any music the ability to play as fast as Roby. On top of that, he was never able to do the pizzicato that Roby does, probably because he wasn't even aware that such a technique existed or was possible. Even if you say Heifetz plays cleaner and in tune more often than Roby, it doesn't negate that Roby is CAPABLE of playing as clean and in tune as Heifetz. In fact, any major violinist is CAPABLE of playing as in tune and as cleanly as Heifetz does. They just don't do it as often. However, Heifetz and most major violinists are INCAPABLE of doing some of the things Roby does. They cannot do the pizzicato tremelo, they can't play up bow staccato as fast as Roby nor as cleanly, and they just plain and simple can't play as fast as him. That's the point I'm trying to make, that Lakatos is capable of doing everything Heifetz does technique-wise, but Heifetz was not capable of doing everything Lakatos could do. Things like playing in tune and playing cleanly are not abilities and skills that are unique to just one individual. Most major violinists can do that. If you say that Roby is incapable of playing in tune, then you're implying that your ear is better than his and your concept of intonation is correct and his is wrong.

June 1, 2006 at 02:00 PM · Brian and Keith, quit flaming each other!

Look people, GYPSY TECHNIQUE IS DIFFERENT FROM CLASSICAL TECHNIQUE. A gypsy's left hand is much "looser" than a classical player and the gypsies play with an incredibly light touch--that's their way of making it easier to play fast. A gypsy's bow arm is completely different--again, a much looser hand, they play on the side of the hair a lot (again, trying for different tone colors). Although Brian I have to say I'm on your side with the intonation debate. C'mon people, have you ever seen a schmaltzy movie from the '40s, where the young couple gets serenaded by a gypsy fiddler in a romantic restaurant? :) Gypsies bend notes, play artfully "out of tune" and use quarter-tones all over the place. Again, GYPSY TECHNIQUE IS DIFFERENT FROM CLASSICAL TECHNIQUE. Quit comparing Roby to Jascha, it makes about as much sense as saying that Itzhak Perlman is a better player than Wynton Marsalis.

June 1, 2006 at 02:43 PM · Compare Grigoras Dinicu playing is own pieces and

the "classics" ones. As a romanian gypsy and Flesch

pupil, he mastered both techniques.

June 1, 2006 at 02:49 PM · Cool. It would be sooo much fun to be good at both styles. I love me a good csárdás. :)

June 1, 2006 at 02:50 PM · Brian - I wrote

Quote "the metronome was set to about 176. I can play that piece faster than that."

I still say that I can, and many others on this board.

And being able to play a certain passage faster than he chooses to do is not what makes someone a better violinst.

He plays mm 184 at

And that is faster than he played at the concert (I recorded it) but not impossible fast for such a relative simple piece.

June 1, 2006 at 03:06 PM · So What!

June 1, 2006 at 03:04 PM · And Brian - I really love Roby, I have just about everything he recorded, and he is quite a different violinist than I am. I am a theoretican not a plyer primarely.

But my point is that Roby has not done anything that I have heard that would qualify him as the greatest techniquan of the world. Sorry!

June 1, 2006 at 03:26 PM · Mattias, it still doesn't nullify the thinking that you believe you are capable of playing faster than him, and therefore be more capable than him. If you're more capable of doing something on the violin, you are better. You're correct that playing faster doesn't necessarily make you a better violinist, but having the ability to play faster than others does make you a violinist with more capabilities. You are implying that you are more capable than Roby Lakatos at something on the violin, which is pretty absurd. Roby Lakatos's trademark is the ability to play at very high speeds, faster than anyone else. Violinists like Vengerov have admitted that. And Roby is playing the czardas more or less 210. He starts at about 184, but he gets faster and starts playing above 210. Try playing along with him. Some parts it's easy to keep up, but other parts, he plays faster. It's done on purpose too.

Well, wait till you hear him live again. When he feels like it, he can be the eighth wonder of the world. He was incredible at Carnegie, probably more than usual because it was his debut.

btw, have you seen the deux guitares video too? Have you seen the fast passage he does in that one? Now that is very fast. But even still, he played even faster than that at Carnegie. And look at him, he's still doing it easily, which means it's still not close to his limit.

I've seen him play sixteenth notes at 240 to the quarter note, which is 16 notes in a second. 16 individual notes, not a tremelo on one note. Can you do a controlled sautille (not an uncontrolled tremelo at the tip) using the finger stroke Roby uses and play 16 notes in 1 second?

June 1, 2006 at 03:49 PM · Perhaps he should compete at the next 0lympics?

June 1, 2006 at 03:53 PM · Oh yeah, he should. There should be a competition of who can keep playing perpetual motion at a speed of 208 to the quarter note without stopping. In fact, every violin competition should be that. Bonus points for playing longer and faster, deductions for missed notes, and then a scoring section for musicality and phrasing.

June 1, 2006 at 03:56 PM · Sounds like break time at orchestra rehearsal.... :)

June 1, 2006 at 04:01 PM · Brian - you wrote "that you believe you are capable of playing faster than him, and therefore be more capable than him."

I said that I can play Csardas at a higher speed than 176, and then I said it again.

I never said that I am more capable violinist than him. What I said was that my main field was theory, not playing.

And what if I can play with that video?

Does that make me one of the best technichians of the world? :-)

Come on Brian!!!

June 1, 2006 at 04:03 PM · Groannnnn....I think I'll just go listen to my Sandor Lakatos CD now....

June 1, 2006 at 04:57 PM · "Sure a few sixths, but I can do those to, and even faster than he did???"

I've already discussed why i believe he's the greatest technician. It is not only because he can play faster than anyone.

June 1, 2006 at 06:45 PM · "You shouldn't even argue with me.........because every major violinist who's played with him or heard him would say they can't play as fast as him. And no, i have not been to a live heifetz concert, but i know several who've been to both roby and heifetz's concerts"

Brian, that is I would like to point out your perspective. You are inadvertently in your argument agreeing to disagree with yourself. Playing fast is not a virtue, playing accurately much like throwing strikes for a pitcher as I discussed before is a duty. I think we all have concluded Roby has fingers that fly, the main point I think you have been missing which I have brought up is a question of his accuracy. Yes I even think gypsy fiddlers should play in tune. Comparing him to Heifetz is ridiculous. First of all, they are in very different fields, secondly, Heifetz did things on the instrument that Roby or anyone else for that matter haven't come close to and could only dream of doing, from a musical, and a technical standpoint.

June 1, 2006 at 07:40 PM · when i talk about "fast" in this level of playing, I'm automatically assuming we don't even have to speak of accuracy. And yes, I believe gypsy fiddlers should play in tune as well. It's just that you seem to be unaware that there is a frequent use of quarter tones and bending of pitches in gypsy playing. It's just that it's not always tempered intonation. In the context of the music though, it is "in tune." I really would like to not repeat myself again on that matter. And you still have not pointed out to me where Roby plays just flat out out of tune and inaccurately. Until you do so, it will be assumed that Roby plays perfectly in tune and accurately because he is recognized by every major violinist who's heard him as a great violinist, and they wouldn't recognize him as such if he was incapable of playing in tune and accurately.

As for Heifetz doing things on the instrument, what could he do that other major violinists can't do? Tenths? Octaves? Thirds? sautille? up bow staccato (his wasn't all that)? down bow staccato? Once again, I'm proving that every major violinist is actually capable of doing all that. You don't have to dream about tenths to play them. In fact, from a purely technical standpoint, people like James Ehnes, Midori, Michael Rabin, Milstein, Kogan, etc. are all capable of playing everything Heifetz could play and just as in tune and just as fast. We don't have to go into the realm of musicality, because that is far too subjective. Anyway, why don't you try to name one technique Heifetz could do that others can only "dream" of doing.

June 1, 2006 at 08:13 PM · The thing that Heifetz did and that few others was capable of was maintaining the most gorgeous tone in any passage, combined with following the musical idea that he was creating.

I like Roby's playing but he was no Heifetz in instrumental command.

I have as a rule that I don't use public forums to put others down.

Listen yourself how Roby's tone differs according to how difficult a passage is, not according to musical points. And that is ALWAYS.

We can't appreciate a violinist only by abillity, and Roby is WAY more than just fingers. It is not because of his fingers that Repin, Vengerov and Menuhin appreciated his playing. It was for what he did with his music. He entertained them, as all gypsy fiddlers does like few others.

June 1, 2006 at 08:51 PM · I'm not quite sure the point you're making in terms of what Roby does with his tone. Are you saying the intensity in the tone drops when the passage gets difficult? Does he play with more or less core in the sound when it happens? I mean, just listen to him playing deux guitares online. There are many many colors in his playing and subtle nuances. Even in the pizzicato, he changes the color to go along with the music.

Perhaps Roby doesn't have the so called "command" that Heifetz had, but my point still stands that Roby can do any technique Heifetz could do at a high level, while Heifetz wouldn't be able to do every technique Roby could do. Anyway, I say just wait until the concert when you'll see him play live again. There are some concerts where he just chooses to show off the entire time and when he starts doing that, you really can't keep your mouth closed.

June 1, 2006 at 09:13 PM · Ok, my point is best summarized by what Benjamin Schmid had to say about Lakatos and what most major violinists feel about him: "Lakatos has done things on the violin that I have never heard done by anyone else. His technique is amazing - he does almost impossible things with pizzicato." I also heard someone on the Montreal competition last night talk about Lakatos, saying how it was an awe ispiring experience to watch him play and how he is able to do absolutely anything on the violin. THAT is my point, and the top violinists around the world agree with that view on Lakatos.

One last quote from Vengerov: ""Roby is the perfect role- model of a violinist. What he can do with the violin is a miracle - in his hands it's like a toy. Watching Roby, I think of those wonderful paintings of Chagall where the violinist is flying like an angel with his violin, which is part of his body and his soul." Another quote from the article: "Lakatos is a Gypsy who has put his classical training to the service of his inherited style: he has irresistible swing, a huge range of colour and an intonation that stays rock steady, no matter how high or fast he plays."

June 1, 2006 at 09:32 PM · Roby would have to lose a little weight before he can fly like a Chagall angel....

June 1, 2006 at 09:59 PM · he actually looked a lot thinner when I last saw him. Still chubby though, no doubt. It's good for the stage presence. ;)

June 1, 2006 at 10:28 PM · He should avoid flying Southwest, he might get charged for two seats :)

June 2, 2006 at 02:27 AM · Anybody have any recommendation's on what is a good cd to purchase by Robo Lacatos? I watched another video of his on, this violinist is sensational!

June 2, 2006 at 02:30 AM · i just ordered his cd fire dance, so i'll tell you how that is. All of his CDs are good, but like i said, they don't compare to him live. not even close.

June 2, 2006 at 01:27 PM · Brian, I will definitly go to his show, it is entertainment of the highest order!

And who knows, he might draw a rabbit out of his hat :)

June 3, 2006 at 03:43 AM · maybe we should ask roby who he thinks is "the greatest violinist"

apparently heifetz considered dinicu to be the greatest, but that might just be fabricated

June 3, 2006 at 09:02 AM · Has anybody heard Midori's recording of the Introduction and Tarantelle by Sarasate?

If this is really not sped up, it is undoubtedly the most impressive fast playing I've heard, infinitely more impressive than somebody play Csardas at ANY speed!

And why does "faster" always have to be "better"??

Let's hear Roby playing Melody by Tchaikovsky, or Salut D' Amour and see how BEAUTIFUL it sounds, without having to be fast. I'm not implying that he cannot, just saying that for me it is at least equally important to be able to play lyrical things would his Bach be, for instance.

Heifetz could play so many different styles and make it sound great, that is why he was considered the best violinist alive.

And recordings, unedited, totally exposed.

June 3, 2006 at 11:27 AM · Who can play Czardas fastest?! Who cares? Any violinist worth his salt could play it at 180bpm but why would you want to? music is not a race. A race is a race. If you want a race then listen to riccis moto perpetuo. Also the Heifetz/ Lakatos debate is nonsense.

June 3, 2006 at 12:19 PM · Yea, I would love to hear Roby play those pieces you mentioned, hopefully one day he might record an album of classical short pieces. There's no doubt, he would play those encores beautifully. To me, there's a reason why Menuhin would go see this violinist when ever he was in town. As far as Heifetz, and this is not knocking him because he is one of my all time favorites, to my ears, Heifetz sounds like Heifetz in everything he plays, which in some way I admire, he had a very identifiable sound!

June 3, 2006 at 12:54 PM · My reply would be to say.


Big deal

June 3, 2006 at 12:57 PM · Why are people trying to say that apples are better than oranges or that oranges are better than apples?

These guys are such different violinists with different skill sets. Comparing Roby Lakatos to Heifetz is like comparing Jimi Hendrix to Andres Segovia - you can't do it because they are not even in the same category!

I can sympathize with people preferring the style of one guy over the other, but just because a person happens to prefer classical over ethnic or ethnic over classical doesn't mean that classical is "better than ethnic" or ethnic is "better than classical". There are things that Heifetz can do that Lakatos cannot and there are things that Lakatos can do that Heifetz cannot. So they're EVEN from a technical execution standpoint because where one guy fails, the other guy succeeds.

These great players do have one thing in common: they're world famous violin superstars who people pay all sorts of money to hear play. They take people to a different world every time they get on stage or play off a CD, and arguing which world is better is like saying "Alaska is a better vacation spot than Shanghai" or "Shanghai is a better vacation spot than Alaska".

June 3, 2006 at 02:26 PM · Hey, John; I think that Heifetz played Moto faster

than anybody. And second can be Ricci or Kubelik

June 4, 2006 at 07:27 AM · "there are things that Lakatos can do that Heifetz cannot. So they're EVEN from a technical execution standpoint because where one guy fails, the other guy succeeds."

That is absolute hogwash, Kevin. I just have to shake my head when I read something like that comparing Heifetz's ability to a guy that plays Czardas really fast and out of tune or when you compare Rosand's out of tune "romantic" recordings to Heifetz. I've noticed the better and more educated the player, the more reverence he shows to how great Heifetz was.

June 4, 2006 at 07:45 AM · I've watched a lot of his videos now and am totally at a loss for how people consider him this technical giant..

June 4, 2006 at 07:49 AM · Yes Pieter, I think people often mix up dexterity (even when it's inaccurate) as being "good technique" and superior to those that play slower and in tune.

June 4, 2006 at 08:38 AM · Yea at first I find his little pizzing to be cool, but this makes me think none of these people have ever seen or heard someone like Vengerov or Fodor... if you want flashy trickery, they've got this guy beat big time.

June 4, 2006 at 03:44 PM · I have no doubt, Keith Hernandez, that Roby Lakatos is much more well versed in the ethnic fiddling idiom than Heifetz ever was. Besides, ethnic fiddling has its own type of intonation that does not rely on the Western 12-tone system. Lakatos may sound out of tune to you, Keith, but he sure doesn't to ethnic musicians and audiences who are used to hearing and playing the quarter tones of that idiom.

Take Heifetz and put him into an ethnic fiddling band where there's tons of on-the-fly improvisation and little subtle cultural nuances that give the performance flavor. It would be like taking somebody with a Chinese accent and asking him to read Shakespeare to a British audience. That kind of technique Heifetz simply doesn't have. If he did, we'd all own "Heifetz with his Gypsy Band" CDs and videos.

Don't believe me? Try it yourself, Keith. Get up with an ethnic band that's slamming away at a gypsy tune and try to keep up with them in their style. That's harder than it seems, especially if you want to "speak their language" musically. Without strong on-the-fly improvisation skills and a deep cultural understanding of the situation, one can find himself very lost. Lakatos is the undisputed king of this venue and has been for as long as I can remember.

On the other hand, Lakatos isn't in Heifetz's class on the classical concert platform. Very few people in violin are, and kudos should be properly given to Heifetz for that. But just because Heifetz is the king of the classical realm does not mean that he has supreme improvisational skills in a foreign idiom that he likely had no professional gigging experience in. Similarly, Lakatos's supremace as an ethnic improvisational fiddler does not directly translate into rote performance of classical repertoire.

There's far less overlap in violin technique between the ethnic fiddling and classical worlds than classical violinists think. Not only that, the ethnic world is NOT inferior in difficulty to the classical world. If you don't believe me, try crossing over from one to the other. It's a very HUMBLING experience, trust me.

January 27, 2007 at 06:59 AM · hello! roby lakatos I JUST AMAZING! I mean he has the technique like Heifetz( Ricci has the most fastest technique you can ever imagine)


and... listen at youtube

type in and then type in ROBY LAKATOS (with no capital letter) and then press SEARCH!

find the piece called, "CZARDAS".

I guarantee you a 100% that you WILL be amazed!

January 27, 2007 at 06:38 PM · I just love this guy's show he puts on. It's hard to compare him to classical fiddlers, since he's in a completely different genre, don't yall think? It would be much like comparing Slash from Guns N' Roses to Segovia.

January 27, 2007 at 06:49 PM · So how many fiddlers named Lakatos are there anyway? I've counted at least four, they're all related and they're all fantastic.

January 28, 2007 at 05:12 PM · I am trying to figure out why we talk about violinists like racecar drivers, or quarterbacks in a football game? This is not a sport; it is art? What matters is not how fast someone can play, or even who plays more in tune; it is how much music do you really get out of your instrument when you play? Honestly, I find these kinds of discussions really foolish and childish. It is not about technique, it is about finding a way to get what is in your mind and heart and soul, out of the strings before you.

And as far as who is or was the greatest? The really great violinist of our time, and the time before that, can play anything. You cannot say this person is better than that person, etc. You can only say whom you enjoy most. For me it is Chang, Elman, and Perlman, but that is not to say they are the best, just that I like them most. And really, all the names mentioned are great artists who we should be thankful for: Ricci, Mutter, Bell, Kreisler, Menuhin, D.Jensen, Holland, Oistrakh, Milstein, Heifetz, Ehns, Shaham, Venegerov, Rappin, etc. all great!

But again it is not who plays the most in tune, or who plays the fastest; it is about creating the most music.

January 28, 2007 at 06:13 PM · Oh, but listen to the Lakatos guys--they ARE artists. They just have some really dazzling technique to back it up.

January 29, 2007 at 03:09 AM · The Lakatos' are some of the "royalty" of Hungarian Roma musicians - other families include the Balogh's ...and in France and Germany, the Reinhardt's (Django's family - his younger cousins include Lulu and Schunuckenack (!) - a great gypsy swing fiddler)), Rosenberg', etc...It's similar to what goes on in Indian musical families - it's handed down for generations. What's my point? That there are a lot of Lakatos' and Jozsef and Roby probably aren't the same guy...Joszef could be better than anyone (don't know, haven't heard him)

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