Philippe Hirshhorn - underated violinist

February 25, 2006 at 05:49 AM · Philippe Hirshhorn - underated violinist

There's not much on the internet on this fella. But in 1967, he (1st) beat Gidon Kremer (3rd) in the Queen Elisabeth Violin Contest in Belgium. Any comments on his rec. (Beethoven, Berg, Paganini VC1). Repin told me that his Paganini VC 1 was the best that he had ever heard. Any comments, please?

Replies (73)

February 25, 2006 at 08:48 AM · I have seen Phil play on video a little bit. Mainly footage from his Brussel's win. I believe he said he got cancer and had to stop performing.

February 25, 2006 at 11:41 AM · Hello ! I'm glad to hear speaking about Philippe Hirshhorn, because I'm a great fan of him...

I dicovered him by chance 3 years ago in the recording of the gala concert just after he won 1rst Prize at Queen Elisabeth Competition... He had made me so much effect than I looked for every recordings he made. Not so much, unluckily...

He didn't have a big carriere because that was not his priority (in my opinion and after trying to have the most informations about him)... His priority was maybe to have the most perfectly playing, technically and musicaly... He has the most great sound I've never heard; a such strange vibrato ... , I think he was a little creasy to play like this! but I love that !

I heard about him he was never happy about his playing... Once, after concert, he began to play the 1rst caprice by Paganini, everybody in the hall was so impressed by his perfectly technique but after one minute of playing, he suddently stopped and went out because he thought he was playing too bad !!!

I heard his Paganini Concerto (Finale of the competition) and it's really incredible... Moreover, the audience was really fantastic ! I've never heard such applause after only the first mvt !

He recorded Beethoven and Berg Concerto and a Recital with E. Leonskaja too (Beethoven 3rd, Prokofiev 1rst, Brahms 3rd).

If you can, listen to them !

I must go now, see you very soon...

(and sorry for my so bad english!)

February 25, 2006 at 08:03 PM · He was a stellar violinist, and one of the best to come out of the Soviet School. He did garner many of the 1st prizes in top competitions beating Gidon K. and Vladimir Spivakov, as well as many other familiar names of the time.

Unfortunately he suffered from nerves, perhaps that is the reason he did not have a lasting performing career. I heard him (in a recital) and met him in Paris 1987. He sounded great and was very pleasant.

I was sad to hear that he died of throat cancer in 1996.

He was a prof. of violin in Brussels for many years.

Glad to see that he is remembered.

Here is a wonderful article written about a French violinist Phillipe Graffin who studied with Hirshhorn and has some great things to say about him:

February 26, 2006 at 03:56 AM · I listened to some samples of Hirshhorn's playing on the internet - LOVED the little that I've heard. Thanks for introducing him to me! Does anyone know where I can get his recordings? I did a google search and only found one available in the US. Thanks!

February 26, 2006 at 11:31 PM · Greetings,

he died of a brain tumor.



February 26, 2006 at 11:56 PM · Thanks Buri for the correction.

I think I mixed that up with someone else.

But I did remember when he died.

February 27, 2006 at 06:25 AM · Gennady - Any comments on his CD of Beethoven, Berg & Paganini VC1 please? Were these done at the QE Contest in Brussels? Regards - Cheng

February 28, 2006 at 02:13 AM · I think only the Paganini was recorded from the competition if I remembered correctly.

February 28, 2006 at 04:20 AM · Cheng,

I don't believe that this recording was from the QE competition.

It was recorded for Cypres label at a later time: BEETHOVEN/BERG/PAGANINI Violin Concertos (Philippe Hirshhorn) (2CD set)

February 28, 2006 at 04:46 AM · Thanks Alan-V. I remember Repin telling me personally that in his esteemed opinion, the best Paganini VC 1 that he (Repin) had heard was the Hirshhorn. If that is the only Paganini VC 1 Hirshhorn had recorded, then I'm in for a great treat. I just ordered this & it's on the way from (Priced at GBP14.47). Regards - Lee

February 28, 2006 at 03:58 PM · Hey all,

Where can one find these video clips of him playing on the internet? Several people have mentioned them here and elsewhere, but a Google search yielded nothing of the sort. I'm told that the QE website also has a video of each of the winners from years past, but again, I have never found that part of the website. Any help will be much appreciated...

September 28, 2006 at 05:55 PM · There is one video clip of Philippe Hirshhorn playing the Bartók solo sonata, live for Dutch television, in 1994. It is on .

If you can understand (or just stand) the introduction in Dutch, you're in for a treat.

The very last bars are missing.



February 8, 2007 at 05:52 PM · Yes, Phillip Hirhshorn was one of the greatest violinists in Soviet Union. I know his roommate in Saint-Peterburg, who actually was telling very interesting stories about him. He told me that his Paganini concerto no.1 was so good that Leonid Kogan

stood up after he finished the last note of it...

That meant something...

all the best

February 8, 2007 at 08:28 PM · So did the rest of the audience (except for the ones in wheelchairs). That's what they do to leave the auditorium. I've done it myself.

Maybe Kogan had a wedgie. It could happen...a Soviet wedgie. They weren't immune, in spite of their ideology.

February 9, 2007 at 12:45 PM · Well, for Paganini VC 1 - I like the Michael Rabin recording best of all.

February 9, 2007 at 05:20 PM · hirshhorn's paganini concerto is absolutly stunning. imo, its better than kogan's or anyone else's for that matter (and its live!!). That 2 cd set you're talking about it a real gem, but I only got it for the paganini. everyone needs to listen to this man play...

February 9, 2007 at 08:24 PM · There's a film called "The Winners" that follows competition winners (mostly violinists and pianists) from the 1950s. Hirshorn is one of the musicians featured in the film. His playing is (or, at the time was) simply outstanding. There is also a segment about Berl Senofsky that is fantastic. The film is hard to get. I have a copy of a copy dubbed from a showing of the film on Dutch television.


February 9, 2007 at 10:28 PM · I will re-listen to the Kogan, Rabin & Hirshhorn Paganini VC 1 & revert.

February 9, 2007 at 10:28 PM · I will re-listen to the Kogan, Rabin & Hirshhorn Paganini VC 1 & revert.

February 10, 2007 at 11:30 PM · The Hirshhorn was a competition recording - thus it has poor tone, bad intonation, etc. For the on-the-spur of the moment performance, it was good - very intense and revealing - slightly like Ivry Gitlis's style, without the Giltis waywardness.

February 10, 2007 at 11:50 PM · Before anyone flames you, Cheng Hooi, for not being able to play like Hirshhorn I'd like to point out that it is NOT necessary to do a thing better than the object of criticism in order to have the right to criticize. It is, however, necessary to be accurate in objective statements, which accurate objectivity ought to give credibility to one's subjective statements as those coming from someone who knows what he or she is talking about.

You commented on two specifics, one of which was subjective (poor tone) and one of which was objective (bad intonation). Poor tone is a tricky topic; you might like a big, juicy sound while another person likes a streamlined, driven, turbo-charged laser beam of a sound. The only objective measurement of sound is its variability (i.e. ability to go from one dynamic extreme to another, ability to project not just volume gradations but tonal shadings) and cleanliness (i.e. lack of scratching, of incomplete attacks - the "surface" sound). That Hirshhorn's sound is clean and variable is beyond argument. That it is narrow-gauge, focused and owes a great deal of its driving force to an intense and narrow-amplitude vibrato is another matter. It may be your poison. It is another's meat.

As for bad intonation, that is inarguable. A note is in tune or it isn't. If you say one isn't in tune when everyone else says the same pitch is, perhaps it's not intonation to which you're listening. Or perhaps you confuse an occasional intonation error with "bad intonation" (i.e. inability to self-perceive and fix on the fly, inability to play reliably in tune with only the occasional slip). Heifetz had perfect intonation, with the occasional inconsequential error. So did Hirshhorn. Actually, so do almost all professional violinists since people with bad intonation don't become violinists - they become Rieu or Mae or the rest of that tribe. So it follows that when you say that PH's intonation was bad you're either confusing the occasional slip with an overall weakness, or that your hearing is fundamentally flawed.

Please note, for you and those who leap to your defence for "everyone having a right to an opinion", that I didn't flame you. I don't call the quality of your humanity into question. I define terms, and then I show that you're measurably, quantifiably, demonstrably and absolutely...


February 11, 2007 at 10:49 AM · That Hirshhorn's sound is clean and variable is beyond argument. That it is narrow-gauge, focused and owes a great deal of its driving force to an intense and narrow-amplitude vibrato is another matter. It may be your poison. It is another's meat.

I did not say these specific thing. In fact, I agree of this point you make.

I have perfect pitch and PH performance on the Paganini VC at the QE contest was poorly tuned in places (esp. the 1st mvt). Things improved in the 2nd & 3rd mvts.

I had a listen to both the M Rabin versions of the Paganini VC 1. The mono & earlier one also had questionable intonation in places and is the playing of a younger man. Impetuous in places, I'd say. The stereo is my preferred version - more secure technically and MR takes his time over the more lyrical bits. This is my 2 cents worth for now.

February 11, 2007 at 02:57 PM · Hello,

one of my teachers, Hans Mannes and also Elisa Kawaguti worked near together with this great violonist...I've met him once live...For me he's one of the greatest violinists that has existed

I still regret it I hadn't the opportunity to study with him...But also from the story's my teachers tell to me about this person I can conclude he must been wonderfull

February 11, 2007 at 04:03 PM · there isn't a thing in music that's more subjective than intonation. We all have different ears. There are countless instances of professional violinists that can not play in tune for the life of them. It's also perfectly acceptable to think somebody's tone quality is poor without being "wrong". Besides, Hirshorn is dead. That's as regards intonation.



P.S. Subjectivity is objective

Woody Allen

February 12, 2007 at 12:42 PM · Heard the Kogan-Bruck version of Paganini VC 1 on Testament on the way to work. Fantastic and brilliant playing - perhaps a little to restless and breathless phrasing. My version that tops all others is the stereo Michael Rabin one, which is cut in places - but not matter. Rabin is supreme in terms of technique, tone, elan, daredevil-ery, etc in Paganini VC 1 for me.

February 12, 2007 at 01:08 PM · I love these pointless who-is-playing-the-best-Paganini # 1-concerto. Try Kogan-Nebolsin (in case you can find the complete version) or Tretjakov (both versions). My $ 0,02.

But the Hirschhorn rendition I watched on tv in 1963, still is the most impressive one I've ever heard AND seen. During his stay in the Netherlands and Belgium I heard him numerous times and had the privilige of speaking him twice. He was a tragic man, as wittnessed by a radio interview of more than an hour. Sorry for you, most in Dutch. He in fact preferred to play with amateur musicians as they sometime have surprising musical ideas, unlike most professionals.

I like to point out two more of his recordings: the Kirchner arrangement for piano trio of the Brahms sextets op. 18 and 36 with Rabinowitsch and Geringas and, a bit hard to find a it was not commercially issued, the Brahms violin concerto with the (Dutch) omroeporkest under Dumbraveanu from december 1980.

Maybe one day some of his recordings will be reissued, including, I hope, the Ysaÿe arrangement of Saint-Saëns' 'etude en forme d'une valse' as played during the finale of the Concours Reine Elisabeth 1963. A recording of this work was reissued earlier, but it was not the one played during the finale (with Petcherskaya?), which was superior.


February 13, 2007 at 09:47 PM · Cheng,

since when does having perfect pitch have anything to do with having good intonation?

February 13, 2007 at 10:19 PM · I can hear all the notes that were out in Hirshhorn's live performance of the Paganini VC 1 that other people on the forum love so much, Nicholas. Regards - Cheng

February 13, 2007 at 10:41 PM · Never heard Hirshborn play, one of my friends was his last student before he passed away. My friend spoke very highly of him as a player and teacher.

I don't believe intonation is subjective at all really. If that were so, people would be claiming that Vanessa Mae plays more in tune than Szeryng did.

February 14, 2007 at 12:10 AM · >I can hear all the notes that were out in Hirshhorn's live performance of the Paganini VC 1 that other people on the forum love so much, Nicholas

Maybe you can. But that means you have a good ear, not "perfect pitch." Unless you're defining the term differently, perfect pitch is the ability to correctly identify pitches which are played without any exterior reference point. Basically, it's permanent remembrance of tight ranges of frequencies which the brain assigns names or solfege syllables. But you can't make an objective case that an A440 is "more in tune" than an A445. (You could make an aesthetic or historical one, maybe, but that's a different topic.) Certainly both are A's, and most musicians could probably tell you which is which, but which is "better?" There's no context. Intonation depends on the surrounding harmonies - and even then it's not completely objective. Fourths, fifths, and octaves are generally black and white, but what about thirds and sixths? how sharp do you play that leading tone?

The point is that having good relative pitch is the important thing to hearing intonation well. If you play, quick reflexes, to "adjust on the fly" as emil mentioned, are essential to produce in-tune notes. Perfect pitch might help, sure, if you get really off (wow, i've moved up a half step!).

That's why to me, "I have perfect pitch, so I can hear when notes are out of tune" really has no meaning and is incorrect.

I know lots of people who don't have perfect pitch and have great intonation, and lots of people who do have it and have crappy intonation. I have perfect pitch, and my intonation...often leaves much to be desired.

Regarding emil and ilya's comments...certainly I think there are some times when it's pretty obvious that a note is just plain out of tune. But there's a lot of play in harmonies too, and I tend towards ilya's view that intonation is generally subjective. (This is probably my subconscious trying to rationalize my out-of-tune notes. "It's not out of tune, it's expressive playing!"...=)

February 14, 2007 at 03:35 AM · How does perfect pitch resolve itself when playing a sonata with piano, and obviously attempting to meld "perfection" with well-tempered-ness ? (Didn't Alexander Schneider complain about this phenomenum ?)

Sharp 7ths in the scale, high 2nds in whole step trills, wide thirds and narrow sixths...beatless 4ths and 5ths...there are just too many options and plesasures for intonation to be totally objective, except for one's favorite player's choices.

February 14, 2007 at 06:38 AM · I did not M Rabin's playing was not brilliant. Some tuning is questionable in his mono version - it is still very brilliant playing. He is steadier in the stereo version though, with a slightly reflective mood in the lyrical bits.

February 14, 2007 at 06:40 AM · You are absolutely right, Peter Kent with a piano - the violin intonation can "clash". Our C#s are higher than on a piano in the key of D major, and our D flats are lower than the piano's D flat. Therefore, there is a dilemma with playing with a pianist. However, the conductor and violin soloist can align the intonation better in a concerto, in my opinion.

February 14, 2007 at 06:42 AM · Greetings,

actually I find a lot of conducters rather out of tune. I`ve often secretly shortened their batons during breaks in rehearsal.



February 14, 2007 at 01:38 PM · thus adding to and exacerbating the conductor behavior commonly attributed to "baton envy"

February 14, 2007 at 05:10 PM · He was a brilliant violinist, I agree with the past comments that people love different things about a tone. It is very hard to please everyone's taste. He definitely had his own sound and a very strict approach to the instrument. I had a chance to meet him briefly when I was playing chamber music concerts in Brussels. The rehearsals were at the Brussels Royal Conservatory and as we were having some lunch in the cafeteria afterwards I recognised him there. He was very kind and immideately made some time for me to come play for him. His comments about the violin were very analytical and very useful. I'll always remember him as a kind and very serious man.

February 16, 2007 at 04:32 PM · well, actually we are talking about Hirhshorn not about conductors...

August 12, 2007 at 11:15 AM · I was recently searching for 2 recordings of him and found this 2 little snippets of this above mentioned dutch documentary:

snippet I: Mischa Maisky talks about him, and Philippe Hirshhorn watchs a tape of himself playing "La Poème"

snippet II: Philippe Hirshhorn plays Geminiani and talks about Gidon Kremer and career.

August 23, 2007 at 01:48 AM · thanks, I'll check that out

August 23, 2007 at 01:32 PM · there is a commercially available DVD that talks about the Queen Elisabeth Competition. There are plenty of great performances on there. One of them happens to have snippets of Hirshhorn. Others that appear are Kremer, Laredo, Oistrakh, Fried, Repin. Some other fun stuff includes seeing who DIDN'T win the competition. On the piano side you see that Emanuel Ax and Mitsuko Uchida didn't win. Though some VERY strange guy from France won. If you watch the film, you will understand what I am saying!

August 23, 2007 at 11:55 PM · I actually knew Phillipe Hirshhorn. When I was studying at the Utrecht Conservatory (1979 to 1982) he and Victor Lieberman both arrived out of Russia to teach there. Hirshhorn and his wife both played violin. I accompanied one of his students with a Vieuxtemps concerto and he came in to Lieberman's studio once to ask him some questions while I was waiting there poking away at the piano to accompany someone or other with the Mendelssohn Concerto. Hirshhorn was quite a nervous impulsive sort of guy, they were having auditions or something and he had to sit there the whole day and watch everyone get nervous in trying out for the conservatory and in between auditions he caught me in the hall and asked me to buy him some cigarettes (two packs of Marlboro cigarettes!). It was terrible then, Lieberman also smoked and there would be a whole cloud in the audition rooms. I met a lot of Russians then (I think they ALL smoked Marlboro Reds too). I was was a friend and student of Youri Egorov who also came to The Netherlands to escape Russia. I'm sorry I never heard Hirshhorn play much then, what I hear now on the internet he was a very passionate player, more from the old school who dared to still give a certain amount of freedom to the music which allows it to breath.

To tell you the truth, Hirshhorn seemed quite nervous and impulsive, he didn't have the calm inviting presence that Lieberman had as a teacher then.

September 13, 2007 at 11:03 AM · Don't forget he was also the teacher of Janine Jansen...

Greetings from the Netherlands,


(my classical lp->mp3 hobby page, updated every friday)

(my classical music youtube channel)

September 13, 2007 at 12:01 PM · Just to promote Rolf's site a bit: He's posting some real gems for download (currently Max Rostal playing Beethoven sonatas 4 and 8), or Zino Francescatti playing Tchaikovsky, recordings of Gioconda de Vito, Bronislav Gimpel etc.. Very nice!

September 13, 2007 at 05:21 PM · A true rarity: Theodor Kirchner transcriptions

por piano trio of the 2 Brahm's strigs sextets

CD NOVALIS: Alexander Rabinovich piano, David

Geringas cello and PHILIP HIRSCHHORN violin

(recorded 1989)

September 14, 2007 at 08:01 AM · ehhh... Thank you Mischa... :)

Just updated it with Martzy's 1952 DGG LP

of Mozart's 4th violinconcerto KV 218.

(is it really worth that much money)



October 9, 2007 at 07:04 AM · "As for bad intonation, that is inarguable. A note is in tune or it isn't. "

I can show this isn't true. Imagine a scale with each pitch corresponding to a frequency of your choice. If a pitch in the scale deviates from the frequency you chose by a small enough amount, a difference will be undetectable. If you increase the deviation it will be detectable by an increasing number of people as you enter the toe of a curve that represents the distribution of hearing acuity.


April 30, 2008 at 07:36 PM · I found this old thread because I just discovered Hirshhorn and I was moved by his playing. Thanks to any who have uploaded videos onto Youtube. I hope bringing this thread up again will motivate more violinists to watch the Youtube clips and appreciate this talent who was once among us!

May 1, 2008 at 06:09 PM · He was a genius. I love listening to his recordings.

November 2, 2008 at 07:03 AM · Hirshhorn is one of the most amazing violinists or musicians i've ever heard. Listen to the first movement of the Geminiani Sonata for the rare vibrato(s) and most stunning rubato, very IMPORTANT about Hirshhorn is his dynamics!!!!. His ability to ascend and descend in dynamics throughout the music really makes me addicted!!! For his Paganini Concerto combines a technical perfection, but this technical perfection is infused with a musicality that is pure, a connection from being and motive that is poured directly into the violin. As for comments that said he is out of tune sometimes...i don't hear it guess..why? in my opinion you need to stretch notes "flatter" or "sharper" to create effect. You know just like the time signatures and tempos change so should certain notes to give more direction. It is very common to hear 3-4 very "in tune" notes in a melody then hear the next one shockingly high or low. This is VIRTUOSITY!!!! In the exact similar piece and movement eg: Leonidas Kavakos clip of his Paganini 1 1st movement Cadenza after the staccato Kavkaos lands on a very

low note, he does this a few more times in the cadenza....different composers=styles have different degrees of this..even Mozart should be stretched a little, not as much as some other composers but you get the point, everything in taste by the way!!!.

For the journey into the free flowing spirit of the essence of solo violin... listen to his Cadenza in Tzigane,, after the cadenza is also amazing!! When i say listen I mean listen A LOT also, you miss so much in the 1st,2nd and so in listenings... I recommend listening to his Tzigane at least 5-10 times to hear his intention. He is a


November 6, 2008 at 01:55 PM ·


I studied with Philippe Hirshhorn in Utrecht Conservatorium for four years.

I heard him playing most of the repertoire and no doubt He was one of the best if not the best violinist I 've heard ever.

As far as the Paganini recording querell, this is a "live" in a final round competition, so I think we can't compare it with studio recordings as far as technical perfection is concerned.
He had no retake possibilities and a lot more psycological pressure than even "normal concert".

For the little story I often spoke with him about this recording, and I was always used to quickly cut the conversation just saying it was not good, just too many wrong notes!!


Giovanni Radivo

October 22, 2011 at 11:30 PM ·

 His Tchaik appeared on the tube a few days ago

October 23, 2011 at 09:59 AM ·

 As far as recordings are concerned, DOREMI issued a 4 CDs box in 2007, still available with live recordings of the Brahms, Paganini 1st (QE final), Sibelius and Tchaikovsky concertos, studio rec of the Berg, Sonatas by Brahms #3, Bch D minor, Ravel's Tzigane, Prokofiev 5 melodies, Saint Saens  étude en forme de valse (arr.Ysaye) . This is available everywhere.

Cyprés, a belgium label issued 2 cds in 97 and 98, still listed in their catalogue: one double album with the Beethoven, Berg and Paganini (live QE again) concertos, another from a recital in Brussels  recorded days after the competition (award concert) with pianist Lydia Petcherskaya :Bach D minor sonata, Geminiani C minor, Tempo di Ciaconna from Bartok's sonata, Hindemith  E major sonata, Saint Saens étude, Ravel Tzigane, Milhaud valse from le boeuf sur le toit...

Finally, a sonatas recital with Leonskaya (Beethoven 6, Prokofiev 1, Brahms 3) on the Pavane label, and 2 Brahms trios with Rabinowitsch and Geringas on Novalis!

October 23, 2011 at 11:50 AM ·


thank you for the info!

Do you have these CDs? If yes, could you please look and tell from what year is the recording of three sonatas with Leonskaya? 

October 23, 2011 at 12:46 PM ·



I do not have the last two cds, saw them on amazon (de)...I don't know when the recital with Leonskaia was recorded!

 I wish your essay on Auer could be translated in english...

October 23, 2011 at 04:21 PM ·

Daniel, I think you'll find that Google Translate gives a reasonable first approximation, good enough anyway to get a fair idea of what it is all about. I fed the first few lines of Marina's essay into it and this is what came out the other end within a second of pressing ENTER:

"In 2008, marks 140 years since that day, as Leopold Auer began teaching at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. During all that time until the violin world exists without him, his name has managed to become a symbol, a myth of an absolute educator, as Paganini - the absolute violinist. No one now really knows what exactly he did with his disciples. It happens to hear that it was just a clever manager who helped organize the concert life has already taken place musicians. But this view is debatable words, Heifetz, who idolized him until his death, "Professor Auer was an extraordinary, incomparable teacher. I do not think anyone in the world could have him come anywhere close."

I suggest this isn't a bad option if you cut and paste a paragraph at a time and then save each translated bit on a word processor for subsequent tidying up.

The best option of course is to learn Russian ...


October 24, 2011 at 01:22 AM ·


October 24, 2011 at 05:41 AM ·

 mmm.... what dadaism, Stephen?

Trevor and Daniel, thank you for your attention to my profile :) It is a surprise for me that online translators can be so.... not saying good, but at least you can realize what is being spoken about 8)

About Hirshhorn. I ask about the year because it happens to hear that shortly after QE he "began to play definitely worse'. It is shoking for me, - I consider his Paganini 1st from the competition one of the highest peaks of "the art of violin" of all times. What happened after? His Sibelius from 1974 is, nevertheless, blowing you away... Tchaik is so warm and singing... I never heard anything comparable (I realized at last what for are so many notes in the first movement)

And that story with Karayan? Does anyone know exactly what it was?

November 26, 2011 at 07:08 AM · 15 years today, if 26.11.1996 is correct.

November 27, 2011 at 05:57 AM · Well he is not as well known as he should be, that's for sure. Among those who have heard him I don't think he is underrated. I've only ever heard recordings of him because his career was before my time but he is one of the people I admire the most. I know people who studied with him and his influence on them is really obvious.

December 8, 2011 at 11:46 PM · I will be lucky to play the first violin part of Schubert's Octett in the next April-May. Our clarinetist told he had played the same opus with Philippe Hirschhorn, and that had been something really special. I hope, he still has a recording of that.

December 9, 2011 at 02:39 AM · that's wonderful Salla! Great piece. Great violinist. You must be too if you studied with Mi Kyung Lee. I met her when she was teaching in Gstaad many years ago.

December 9, 2011 at 10:06 AM · Terry, the piece is truly wonderful! Mi-Kyung has had a very important meaning in my studies - her advice and attitude are still in use, after many years! I was able to tell her that in the last year when she played Szymanowsky's 1rst violin concert here in Kuopio, Finland. As she says, there are many ways or styles to play the violin well - she presents quite a different approach than Hirschhorn did.

December 9, 2011 at 09:25 PM · Salla,

May be your clarinettist would tell you something about how it was, and you tell to us?

As for me, I collect every word about Hirshhorn I can find.

December 9, 2011 at 09:54 PM · Marina,

okay, I'll keep that in my mind! The rehearsals will start later.

November 3, 2012 at 04:11 AM · BUMP!

The Philippe Hirshhorn topic (see the best minute topic).

November 5, 2012 at 10:10 AM · John: I guess you missed this link from Charlie in the 'perfect minute of music' topic.

This guy is the best.

November 6, 2013 at 05:18 AM · Two great news on youtube:

Chausson (video! finally!)

and Prokofiev's Sonata

The first is a videotape of 1970-s, from which there is a fragment in "The Winners". It is a formidable example of a young Hirshhorn in his best form, taking you away with his unique feelin of unreal flight. This is a legendary recording, but I recommend especially the "late" Prok of 1993, phantastic by sound invention and miraculous ensemble playing (together with Leonskaya)

November 6, 2013 at 12:18 PM · Greetings,

I loved the Chausson. HavenT heard the others yet. Listen and weep.


November 11, 2013 at 07:43 PM · When I commented on this discussion in 2007, I had never heard him. But since then, I have heard quite a bit. My only criticism is he does play a bit sharp sometimes, but the overall harmonic framework is there. It's very solid and exciting playing. This recording of Hirschhorn's is especially good I think, and it's live!

November 12, 2013 at 01:46 AM · Nate,

it is of course tremendous playing, of outstanding virtuosity, especially for live performance, and with so very rare valse feeling, not only the etude one. But it is young Hirshhorn at QE and everybody knows that he was great.

What I am now frenetic of, it is the sonata I mentionned above - the live (again) recording made when he was already ill, and it is so overwhelming innovative, with never before heard colours and ensemble discoveries (for instance, in the 3rd movement you can hear violin mixing with and hiding into piano (!!!) chords), and so vivid that you feel like in a cinema sitting and watching a tragic story (sometimes monochrome, and you can hear that!) being not able to move a finger, with shivers down your spine... and we should add his unique sound beauty and his unique easyness of playing! it is so strange that there are no comments, I concider it as one of the most impressive cultural events of 1990s, that evening in Concertgebow twenty years ago.

November 12, 2013 at 02:34 AM · Greetings,

perhaps there are no comments because we are speechless,

. I didn't use 'dumbstruck' because I thought it might be dangerous with this spell checker,



November 12, 2013 at 09:43 AM · spellchecker? the one which admitted "underated"? :)

I hate the topic title. There should be "legendary" or something.

August 7, 2016 at 09:26 AM · On my view Phillip Hirschhorn was an incredible musician. And it is really sad that he left not much recordings. However, critise others much easier rather to be critised, as we are humans:(

I agreed, Phillip hadn`t perfect intonnation in some parts of Paganini and even in Geminiani sonata, but if consider how great he played Paganini`s (Sores) Cadenza on the Competition and his that special, splendid, amazing, melted & warm the sound of his violin and vibrato, No doubt he is one of the GREATEST MUSICIAN!!! His performance of Paganini`s Cadenza THE BEST in the WORLD so far!!!!!

My question is: How to reach this type of sound?? (we don`t talk about strings or the violin brand)

im intersted in pure techincs advises..!

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