Ferenc Von Vecsey informations

May 20, 2006 at 05:24 AM · Ca someone give informations about violinist Ferenc Von Vecsey?

I find nothing on the web

Replies (23)

May 20, 2006 at 06:16 AM · "The Strad" did an article on him a few years ago - check their old issues. I read it once, but I don't remember what it said.

Doesn't Ferenc von Vescey have a CD? I'm pretty sure it's issued by Biddulph or Pearl or some other historic recording label.

von Vescey sounds like a guy that I would've enjoyed listening to. Usually when a guy is labeled a "technician" (i.e. Kubelik, Zimbalist), I end up hearing a lot more real musicality than he's given credit for.

I'm of the mind that there's no such thing as a "pure technician". Even playing a song robotically is a sort of a color in itself.

May 20, 2006 at 03:35 PM · Ferenc Vecsey was a student of Jeno Hubay around the same time as Joska Szigeti. Ferenc, like Joska, was a prodigy, but unlike Joska his strength was almost purely technical and he basically "burned out" sometime in adolescence. Hubay dedicated his third (?) violin concerto to him.

PS Kevin--where did you hear Kubelik?

May 20, 2006 at 04:15 PM · There are quite afew recordings out with bot Vecsey and Kubelik. Check Amazon.com

May 20, 2006 at 05:27 PM · I have Kubelik's "The Acoustic Recordings 1902-1913."

He's by far my favorite violinist even over guys like Heifetz and Prihoda and Rabin and Kreisler and Elman. That's mainly because he's got incredibly tasteful musicianship and matchless violin skills (yes, he can do a heck of a lot more than Heifetz did especially in issues of control and emotional tone color shadings). Much has been made of his technique, which makes incredibly hard things like Paganini's "Nel Cor Piu Non Mi Sento" sound like Suzuki Book 1 in ease of play. To me, that's not Kubelik's #1 asset. His best asset is that he tries to play the music the way it was meant to be played as the composer intended, which requires a special kind of ability that I haven't seen from any other violinist since.

I'm not Kubelik, but I did a double take when first hearing him play. He is the only violinist who somewhat reminds me of myself in terms of the approach to music and the violin. That's hardly surprising considering we're exactly the same size with the same hand shape with the same soft skin and flexible joints.

William Roth took Kubelik to task in his book. I listened to all of the tracks Roth was complaining about and I couldn't believe that we were listening to the same guy. Kubelik was NOT "typewriter-like", he wasn't antiquated in tone, and he made stuff sound so easy that Roth couldn't recognize how incredibly difficult it is for Kubelik to make hard stuff sound musical and easy. Kubelik easily could've burned rubber in terms of sheer speed, but he chose not to in order to preserve the sanity of the music and to guarantee concert hall projection. Roth leveled the same criticisms against Efrem Zimbalist, which I just could not understand after hearing Zimbalist's deep musicianship and fabulous taste on his Pearl CD that I recommended to Aaron Rosand.

Roth didn't talk much about Ferenc von Vecsey, but he did compare him to Elman unflatteringly because of his finger gymnastics. Given that what Roth dislikes I tend to like (A LOT), I'll bet that I'll be blown away by Ferenc von Vecsey's playing.

Many people hear those old scratchy recordings and get turned off. But if you record any modern violinist into a telephone answering machine, you can get the same kind of effect and old-fashioned sound these guys get. I've learned to mentally filter out that surface noise to hear what Kubelik was doing, and I'm hearing a guy that had concert level projection without hacking at the violin as if he were an axe murderer. There's nobody I know who would project his tone into that medium as well as Kubelik did - Heifetz's earliest acoustic recordings were done 10 years later in that same acoustic medium and they don't have the same power and projection that Kubelik's do. I often listen to Heifetz and Kubelik one after another on the same song in order to appreciate the differences in approach. Most people won't agree with me, but I prefer Kubelik's more fluid and less frenzied interpretations.

In the span of about 10 years, Kubelik amassed something like $500,000 from concert tours all over Europe and recording royalties. That was 100 years ago! Imagine how far $500,000 went 100 years ago, let alone today? That's Paul McCartney level money and pop status! Money talks, and Kubelik outearned EVERYBODY until the start of WWI. Even afterwards, he still had like 3000 people a night in European concerts when he wasn't managing his family and estates. Any violinist today would be thrilled to get 300 people a night, let alone 3000. You can't be a mere technical robot and earn that kind of money or draw that kind of an audience in any era.

The Jan Kubelik society in Czechoslovakia has put out a CD of some unpublished recordings of Kubelik's, including a live Carnegie Hall performance. I'll probably order it. One day I'd love to meet his son (the famous conductor Raphael Kubelik) and tell him how great I think his father was.

Maura, have you heard Ferenc von Vecsey play?

I have also heard that he burned out because he was "strictly technical", but my experience as a concertizing violinist has taught me that sheer ability does not have as much influence over one's career as we'd all like to believe. Until I hear him actually play, I can't say anything more about his ability other than I am taking notice of what other people say about him and thus suspect that he's better than advertised.

There are issues like politics, family, health, internal emotional issues, agents, opportunities (or lack of them), and other sundry things that can severely curtail the career of even the finest violinists.

May 20, 2006 at 05:51 PM · Kevin, you are a bit late too meet Raphael. He died in '96. I dont know how it is with the rest of the 8 siblings.

May 21, 2006 at 12:57 AM · Speaking of early violinists, are there any Joe Venuti fans out there? There's a whole bunch of (low res) streaming tracks of his on:


The streaming clips do not do justice to his tone, which is fanastic, but you can immediately hear his mastery, especially his intonation and bow control / string contact. That great plain gut E sound too...

Try listening to:

** Doin' The Uptown Lowdown (for lots of hot jazz breaks)

** Apple Blossoms (for a bit of legato)

** Four String Joe (for double stopping)

And to think most of it is improvised. If you ever get the chance, listen to recordings of the multiple "takes" from sessions with the top players of the time (Beiderbeck, Venuti and friends) - The creativity, and the "voice" these players have on their respective instruments, is mindblowing. It is completely freaky to hear two or three completely different improvisions of the same tune from these guys under "live" studio conditions.

Apparently, Venuti was the violinist Heifetz most admired (apart from himself presumably).

May 21, 2006 at 12:57 PM · Hi,

Viliyat - most of the info you will find will be be for Franz Von Vescey. There is info about him in the book "Great Masters of the Violin" by Boris Schwarz. Vescey was a pupil of Joachim and a prodigy who was Elman's chief competitor in their teenage years. Vescey's career centred mostly around Germany and central Europe. His sound was more akin to the old Joachim school than the new style and more vibrant tone that became the range after WWI.

I seem to remember that Vescey was the first to champion the Sibelius Concerto at the turn of the century.

Don't remember much else about him except that be played a Strad and kind of fell into oblivion after WWI.


May 21, 2006 at 03:58 PM · Actually, I just looked at my copy of Sibelius (still unplayed, sadly) and saw that the concerto is dedicated to Vecsey.

May 21, 2006 at 03:59 PM · BTW--are we mixing languages here? It's Franz Von Vecsey (German version) or Ferenc Vecsey (authentic Magyar), no Ferenc Von......just nitpicking, sorry. :)

September 3, 2006 at 02:20 AM · Today, I listened to von Vecsey play a clip of "Le Ronde De Lutins" on Amazon.com. UNBELIEVABLY GREAT PLAYING in the Prihoda or Kubelik clean tone mode - it's practically not even human. Definitely I'll want to pick up his full-length album.

Franz von Vecsey was born in 1893 as a scion of old Hungarian nobility (there you go, Maura!) I don't have any details of how his early training went other than that he played for the prodigy-hating Joachim and caused the older Hungarian to state "I am 72, yet never in my life have I heard the like, and never believed it possible".

Soon after, von Vecsey played everywhere. However, later in his career he stated "I do not suppose I can go on playing for many years: the incessant travelling is so tiring; and so I would like to conduct".

Supposedly von Vecsey limited his daily practicing to under 5 hours. It was written that he lead an easy life because playing came naturally. von Vecsey stated that his own compositions were so difficult that he didn't think he could play them himself. He never played more than 3 times and week, and seldom more than twice.

Von Vecsey began on an Amati, then acquired a Guarnerius that Kubelik once owned, and finally settled on a Stradivarius.

September 3, 2006 at 05:20 AM · Vecsey started out as a pupil of his own father and when he was 8 he went to Hubay for 2 years.When he was 10 he went to Joachim and he did that famous concert that made him "the" wounderkind.

He was in Sweden 4 times between 1910 and 1920 and contemporary reviwers said that he had "the perfect technique" together with a "rich modulating tone that was beautiful in all tempi and positions".

September 5, 2006 at 04:58 AM · Greetings,

I think it was a rich modulating- toe- actually. So much gets lost in tranlation from Swedish,



September 5, 2006 at 11:44 AM · And "Tranlation" is of course an anagram for "Rant at Lion". And for you that don't know it: It was the place where Vecsey got his modulating toe after barking up the wrong tree.

September 14, 2006 at 09:01 PM · Ferenc Vecsey was indeed a giant of violin and only his sudden death avoided him to be the n.1 of violin golden age. His Ronde des Lutins, his Guitare by Mozkowski, his Caprice n.2 by Paganini are totally unrivalled )(Ricci included, not to say about the actual Paganini "specialists"...), even thinking that he recorded them when he was 13 or 14 years old...His style was elegant and not rethoric, and so he was not well understood at his time by someone.

He presented for the first time in USA,in 1922, with Leopold Stokowski conducting, in Philadelphia, Sibelius violin concerto which was dedicated to him since 1905...(he was twelve in 1905...just to know how great violinist he was).

Recently the Hungarian violinist Vilmos Szabadi has recorded, with pianist Zsuzsana Homor, some 20 Vecsey original compositions (CD Hungaroton "Caprice fantastique"). Yes, Vecsey was also a refined composer since his teens.

September 14, 2006 at 10:55 PM · Greetings,

thats interesting. I think his recordings are awesome too. But I also think there is perhaps a little overstatment here. Rather than offer a personal opinion of Vecsey I would ask why , as far as I know, although Vecsey mad ehis debut after Heifetz, one cannot find the same range of ecstatic reviews or commentary. For example, Kreilser hearing the young Heifetz and saying `now we can break our violins over our knees.` I cannot really recall seeing anything that suggested that Vecsey ushered in a new era of playign in the same way Heifetz did. I just don`t think it happened. Perhaps you could point me to some references or commentary.



September 15, 2006 at 12:16 AM · Just a guess, but I would surmise that it's simply because Vecsey made his debut AFTER Heifetz! :)

September 15, 2006 at 03:11 AM · Vecsey's european debut was years before Heifetz.

But it is interesting to note that many reviewers that said that Vecsey was incomparable as a kid said that Elman had all that Vecsey was lacking when Elman did his debut.

September 15, 2006 at 05:52 AM · Greetings,

maybe that was a reference to the hair , too?



September 15, 2006 at 10:15 AM · It had to be a pre-hair then since MacDermot wrote the set in the 60's...

September 15, 2006 at 10:10 AM · Maybe not . . . at the time of their debuts, both Elman and Vecsey were kids. I have two pictures of the adult Elman, one with full hair and one with half hair.

Let's not forget that Auer, the teacher of Elman, had considerable influence in his students' careers. Besides Vecsey didn't do half bad - he was good enough such that he had been honored by royalty with incredible souvenirs like gold watches and studs and such. After a concert in Stockholm, the crowd detached the horses from his carriage and dragged it back to his hotel!

For all his great ability, von Vecsey was definitely a violinist from the pre-Kreisler continuous vibrato era. Also, I have no doubt that ethnicity factored into his career - he was neither Russian nor Western European.

September 15, 2006 at 01:57 PM · It is always dangerous to raise comparisons. But are you sure that Heifetz was renowned in Europe the same that was Vecsey, until mid Thirties? It was not so, Heifetz was projected into the fame by the new era of American electrical recording. This does not diminish his technical grandeur of course. In Europe he was acclaimed years after.

But just for a comparison, listen e.g. to Sibelius Nocturne played by Vecsey (in the Pearl CD) and by Heifetz: isn't Vecsey much more persuasive, much more musical in creating an athmosphere?

As for Kreisler's and others' judgements, i would not base upon these any objective comparison. Remember what did the great Menuhin at the end of his career, he "inflated" violin world with judgements on "young violinists that I never heard playing so well in all my life..."

September 15, 2006 at 03:13 PM · What, did Vecsey have impressive hair like Kubelik, or just in comparison to Elman? :)

P.S. I DID know that Vecsey made his debut before Heifetz. Damn, I really did know that. Honest. (*smacks self on forehead*)

BTW Kevin, wasn't there something pretty glamorous about a Hungarian Violinist back then? I doubt ethnicity was a big problem--Heifetz was Lithuanian for pete's sake. :)

September 15, 2006 at 10:32 PM · Many of the finest Jewish musicians of that day turned to the violin as a means of economic escape out of their ghettos.

I do notice that a lot of them from that era stuck together. Kreisler, Ysaye, Heifetz, Zimbalist, and others used to hang out together quite a bit. I'm sure that they had common managers as well.

Being a Hungarian violinist didn't seem to be a problem back then - Joachim and Auer were Hungarian and they were celebrated. Being Czech (like Kubelik) back then definitely was, according to biographers.

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