Erick Friedman new CD!

August 3, 2005 at 05:19 AM · The Erick Friedman recording of Prokofiev Concerto No. 1 with the Boston Symphony has just been released on the Testament label. This is an incredible recording.

Here's the address:

Replies (17)

August 3, 2005 at 04:23 PM · Nate, I just heard Friedmann's recording of the Strauss Sonata with Nadia Reisenberg. are kids here so I won't finish the thought. Unbelievable! Exactly how I always heard the thing in my head.

So explain to me now why it is that I have an uncontrollable urge to record it?? After all, if he's got the Ideal Version already on tape, what do I have left to say? And if it's nothing he hasn't already said, why are my recording muscles itching??

(Like Dewey said, after losing to Truman: "I feel like the man who woke up in a coffin and thought 'If I'm alive, why do I have this lily in my hand. And if I'm dead, why do I have to go to the bathroom?'")

August 3, 2005 at 04:55 PM · Hi Nate,

Thanks for the info. I have the original LP of the Prokofiev. Fantastic performance!

Emil, on which label is the Strauss available? I have not heard that recording, but from what you are saying, sounds like something I would like, especially since I love the piece!

Thanks and Cheers!

August 3, 2005 at 05:20 PM · My teacher played that Strauss sonata at a recital, I'd like to hear Friedman play it. But of course, not until we get a few people from here to inform me of all the missed notes and rushing before hand... that's just a must!

August 5, 2005 at 10:51 AM · I do believe it's on the famed "my-pianist-brought-it-to-listen-to-on-a-long-car-trip" label. That label, I'm afraid, only allows one to listen and not to remember where one obtained any given recording.

Ok, I'll go get some Starbucks so as to wake up, and cease writing drivel, and then call Michael. Perhaps he can enlighten us.

August 5, 2005 at 12:40 PM · Hi Emil.

Thanks! That's hilarious!!!!!!!! I have way too many recordings on that label, as well as the "it-came-from-a-violist-friend" label too!


November 1, 2005 at 09:04 PM · Paging Messrs. EMIL CHUDNOVSKY, CHRISTIAN VACHON, PETER VILJOEN, i.e., al!

Discovered your collective, more-than-casual interest in the Richard Strauss SONATA IN E-FLAT MAJOR, Opus 18 for Violin and Piano.

Quite by accident, I came across Mr. Chudnovsky's quasi-mystical comments regarding his "fascination" with the Strauss Sonata followed by "echoes" from Messrs. Vachon and Viljoen. I, too, was at one time fascinated by the gargantuan composition. Summarily, I promised myself to record the work --someday-- so that it would become and ultimately prevail as one of my favorite recordings in the ever growing SKOWRONSKI COLLECTION. So be has been done. And to critical acclaim---- "Skowronski's Strauss Sonata is music making at the highest level." Chicago Daily Herald -------- "Listening to Mr. Skowronski reveals a violinists of assured technique and acute interpretive sensibilities. The Strauss, as it should be, sounds lush." Bloomington (IN) Herald-Times

This disc is globally available via the Internet, but much easier to obtain from SKOWRONSKI: CLASSICAL RECORDINGS..........if one has a mind to. Also featured on the CD are Karol Szymanowski's ROMANCE, Opus 223 and THREE PAGANINI CAPRICES, Nos. 20, 21 and 24, Opus 40.

YES, there is a stalwart contingent of Strauss admirers who rally around the value of his only sonata. And a gallant band are we!!

Best regards,

Skowronski: Classical Recordings

November 1, 2005 at 10:52 PM · Sorry folks, but I don't think that the old version

by Heifetz-Arpad Sandor can be improved.

November 1, 2005 at 11:35 PM · ^^^Just go and spoil the topic, why don'tcha

November 2, 2005 at 03:18 AM · I was fortunate enough to hear David Oistrakh play the Prokofiev 1st Concerto live in Chicago in the late 1960's. I still remember the performance. The 1st and 3rd movements were spectacular. He totally botched the second movement, however. It was as if he was a measure or two behind, he made mistakes all over the place, and it was horrible. However, as an encore, he replayed the 2nd movement, and it was such a spectacular performance that I cannot imagine ANYBODY doing it better. With that in mind, I am very eager to hear the Friedman recording, because I love his playing too.

Sandy Marcus

November 2, 2005 at 02:06 AM · Sander, if he botched it so bad the first time, then played it great as an encore, do you think he was just goofing with the audience? It's hard to see how it could happen otherwise.

November 2, 2005 at 03:24 AM · Hi, Jim. No, I don't think he was goofing with the audience. I saw him play in person 6 times (memories which I treasure). He was serious in the mold of Heifetz -- all business. He just stood up there and played. My impression was that the Prokofiev 2nd movement is so technically difficult from the getgo, that he just got off to a bad start, and he never caught up. I was sitting pretty far from the stage, but I vaguely remember some looks of disgust on his face during that movement (usually, like Heifetz, he didn't mug and had an impassive look). The impression I got at the time was that he did it as an encore because of the challenge of playing it the way he knew he could. It was a very interesting experience, because as I said the outer two movements were absolutely beautifully played, technically and musically. It is an experience I will never forget.

Cordially, Sandy

November 2, 2005 at 04:32 AM · Sander,

Oistrakh is badass. I think he draws his super human powers from his jowels, but for my money he's got all the steak of Heifitz with twice the sizzle.

November 2, 2005 at 02:45 PM · Hi, Pieter:

Well, I know that in that era there was Heifetz and there was everyone else. I had an opportunity to hear Heifetz once, so I have some comparison not from recordings. Live, you hear all of the overtones. The Oistrakh approach was certainly very different from Heifetz, and Oistrakh himself was once quoted as saying something like, "There are us violinists, and then there is Heifetz." I think that was the general attitude (and with good reason). However, Oistrakh produced twice the tone of any violinist I have ever heard (including Heifetz). His sound could cut through an orchestra incredibly. The voluminous tone you hear on records isn't too far from what he sounded like in the concert hall. But it was an entirely different approach from Heifetz. Heifetz got right to the point; Oistrakh took his time and "smelled the flowers" along the way. In fact, some of Oistrakh's later recordings (to me) lack a certain excitement because of that. But live, in his prime, he was something else.

One of the times I heard Oistrakh he played the Locatelli Harmonic Labyrinth (which I don't think he ever recorded). He did not end it in a loud chord, but a gradual fading away while furiously crossing the strings. It was a remarkable exercise in bow control I don't think I've ever heard from anyone anywhere else (in person or on records). Incidentally, at that recital (in Orchestral Hall in Chicago), he also played the newly written Shostakovich Sonata dedicated to him. I usually love Shostakovich, but it was the first time I ever heard the piece, and at that time it struck me as a bit inflated, although Oistrakh played it with his usual emotional expressiveness and technical mastery.

But this gets us away from Prokofiev. Up to now (I'm waiting to get the Friedman recording), the one I have liked the most is Oistrakh with (I forgot the orchestra) von Matacic (or however you spell it) conducting.

Anyway, ultimately it is a matter of taste, and the great thing about the violin to me is the possibility for differences.

Cheers. Sandy

November 2, 2005 at 03:14 PM · What great stories Sander. In fact, just yesterday I pulled out my DVD with Oistrakh playing Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Sibelius, as well as that Locatelli.

I realize that Heifitz was superhuman, and as a craftsman suprassed anyone. I also realize that give my age (20), I never had the priveledge of hearing him live, and hearing a live sound that was by all accounts far different from the "git" sound on his recording.

About Mr. Friedman, I will buy this CD. Prokofiev 1 is often overlooked, and I hope he recorded no.2 because I love the 1st and 2nd movements.

November 2, 2005 at 03:51 PM · Recollections from a 10 year old!

To: Pieter Viljoen, et al.....AHhhh.......the flame of youth, fed by the vagaries of life, etc., etc., etc.!

Re: Mr. Superhuman Heifetz--

I stand with Sander Marcus on this one, but surpass Mr. Marcus in actual "in-person" Heifetz listening opportunities. Nevertheless, my very FIRST experience with Heifetz was at Chicago's Orchestra Hall when I was but a kid,....maybe 9 or 10 years old. Honestly, I do not recall what he played. A mental block, perchance?

The Heifetz name was almost a household word around our home as my mother (rumored to be a pretty respectable fiddler in her era) used to frequently play some of his old vinyl LPs for me as part of my "education" (i.e., Mendelssohn's Concerto in E Minor). So, via force-fed OSMOSIS, I obliviously became very familiar with the RECORDED sounds and "superhuman" abilities of Mr. Jascha Heifetz while I was still a very young boy. My first sampling of Mr. Heifetz "on the boards" occured during a learning procedure quite popular back in those days known as the "Mom and My-Son-the-Violinist" field trip. However, what I remember and am about to relate about that particular "field trip" may possibly disturb

and/or offend a large number of true, die-hard Heifetz aficianados -- aka, fanatics. But at times, "Truth proves stranger than fiction."

That rueful "field trip" afternoon, I remember wondering to myself --while seated in about the tenth row, main floor center of Chicago's Orchestra Hall waiting for Heifetz to appear-- What In The World Is This Guy Going To Do?!

To wit: At "game time," an absolutely expressionless, ashen-white Heifetz hurled himself through the rear stage entrance, proceeded to trample over the first-violin section until he lurched to a "Road-Runner" stop at almost the very edge of down-stage. Having swiftly arrived at his concert domain, (I definitely remember the welcoming applause being very brief) Heifetz quietly rivoted himself next to the podium, placed an icy if not quasi-hateful stare on the conductor (whose name I can not recall) and abruptly snapped a headbob in his immediate direction. I learned a tad later that these collective histrionics meant,.....Hit It, Charlie! And, Charlie did!

The orchestra sounded pretty good,.... right off the bat (just like at home). I was impressed! But, then came Heifetz. With violin pointed up

--I noticed-- at an off-stage EXIT sign, the dreaded Heifetz launched his opening musical statement. Immediately, a few puffs of rosin dust flew from his "attack area" (those puffs frequently re-appeared throughout the performnace.) Many of the man's playing movements appeared to me as overly deliberate, un-athletic and almost herky-jerky while the mystery conductor --I noticed-- rarely took his eyes off the soloist's bow. The Concertmaster (Mr. John Weicher, I believe) seemed nervous, almost agitated---like a person who is expecting a train wreck to occur. Mr. Weicher never once slouched down in his chair (as was his custom).....but always remained "at attention." Afterall, you-know-who was playing! I well remember hearing FOREIGN and UNLOVELY sounds (scratches, scrapes, perhaps?)) coming from the master's violin which surprised if not jarred me --also more than an ocassional clump of SOUR notes surfaced, ANATHEMA --and more than a few loathesome mechanical slips occured along the way. But, I really do believe that, at the time, these dreadful things were most certainly happening un-intentionally. Regardless, I absolutely do remember them happening so, that's that!

So went the entire Heifetz performance. To me, Heifetz's presentation that afternoon seemed ultra-long, AC/DC boring and certainly not at all what I had expected or was led to expect. (Alas, I wanted to hear the guy that I heard play on my victrola!) Every so often I would furtively glance at my escort, Mom, to hopefully get some kind of a signal from her as to whether things were going well or not so well for Mr. Heifetz. But she was rapt, unwrapped and under wraps, etc., for the entire duration of the Heifetz adventure. I waited politely for the proceedings to come to an end.

The small crowd was grossly receptive to the event. My reaction was one of disappointment and mild disbelief like, --This Ain't The Same Guy.......Nah? Yup,.......sure enough was. But, I held my youthful opinions of that "experience" to myself in fear of being deluged with excoriating and predictable retributions,---such as,....What do you know about anything,'re just a kid.

SUPERHUMAN HEIFETZ???? To end this nostalgic journey, I allow printed remarks from my friend, the very astute Music Critic from New York City, Mr. James R. Oestreich, to more-or-less try to put a cap on this Heifetz infallible "mystique" stuff. Writing in reference to RCA's set of 8 CDs, "Heifetz Rediscovered," Mr. Oestreich muses........."William Steinberg conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the Tchaikovsky Concerto. Here, in a fiery performance, it is the myth of Heifetz's unfailing perfection that is dismissed."

Praise the Lord,..........and pass the ammunition.

Best to all.

Vincent P. Skowronski

November 2, 2005 at 08:57 PM · I am very disappointed to hear what Vincent P. Skowronski has to say.

However, it doesn't change my opinion of Heifetz as one of the best violinists of all time.

People either like Heifetz or they hate him. I suppose I am one of the few that likes the way he played?

November 2, 2005 at 11:10 PM · Hi, guys: I think I mentioned this on another thread, but one of my violin teachers, a Julliard graduate and later Fullbright scholar on the violin, told me that HIS father idolized Heifetz and had the same reaction when he heard him in person, and he was also sitting within the first 5 or 10 rows. Aside from the robot-like Heifetz mannerisms, my teacher said that Heifetz sounded much, much better when you were further back, because all of that ccceeechcch sound didn't translate further back. Who knows. When I heard him, I was way up in the gallery, and it sounded pretty smooth to me (it was a recital). Certainly the great thing about him was not that he was perfect (which is what everybody talks about, and which he acknowledged many times that he was not), nor even that he strove for perfection (which he did admit). It was a combination of his mastery, attention to detail, unique violin "voice," ability to build a phrase, rubato and other rhythmic variations, the careful planning of each interpretation, the intensity of the sound, the modern vibrato, the intonation, the sheer speed of being able to do these things (which has always bothered me a little on certain pieces) and Lord knows what else. I heard another story about him from one of my teachers. Apparently (if this is true), at the United States premier of the Prokofiev 2nd Concerto, a violinist in the orchestra (who was at the actual premier in Europe) came up to Heifetz and told him that he was playing one wrong note in one of the fast runs of one of the movements. According to the story, Heifetz actually panicked, saying "but I practiced it the other way." That same night, he played it right.

I like what Henry Roth says about him, that whether or not you agree with his interpretations or like the way he plays, his impact on the art of violin playing (and, in my opinion, on the art of any kind of musical performance) was profound. Well, so much of the thoughts from an amateur violinist.

Cheers. Sandy

As a follow-up thought, I have to say that I really admire ANYBODY, amateur or professional, who takes up the violin. It is impossible to play, and no matter what you do, you get lots of criticism. Just look at how not only critics who know nothing about the instrument but also how violinists themselves go after each other. I always thought that this kind of adversarial world was the exclusive province of lawyers and politicians. Oh, well.

And just as another afterthought, I once heard a rehearsal with Isaac Stern and the Columbus, Ohio, Symphony Orchestra. It included the Hindemith Concerto (which Stern was about to play in New York, and was just before he recorded it, I think), and the Mozart 3rd. The Hindemith was fantastic. He missed only 2 notes, on both of which he tried to slide up with the 4th finger. On the very last note of the Concerto, when the orchestra stopped, he kept playing the first few bars of Gershwin's "The Man I Love." It was very funny. Then, after this magnificent performance, he turns around and in the run-through of the Mozart 3rd, he literally hacks his way through, just going through the motions. I'm sure that you can pick 5 amateurs at random who could have played it better. It was a rehearsal, of course, but go figure.

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