The best violinist ever? My first thought is to say there is no such person; there is only the violinist that you like best. And for me that is Perlman (if I had any guts I would say Holland, but because of his past substance abuse problems few have heard of him, so I will stick with Perlman). But the more I thought about this the more I realized the best violinists are: Paganini, Sarasate, Kreisler, and Vieuxtemps. Why? Because they not only played like gods, they wrote for the instrument as well! And is that not why the rest of the music world laughs at us and sees us as abnormal or esoteric, at best. When you listen to the Fusion guys talk they mention Larry Carlton, Robin Ford, Jay Graydon, Pattituchi, Sample, Benoit, etc…And what is it about these guys? They play like gods, and play “their own material!”
Now please understand that I believe there is an incredible upside to the repertoire that exists in the classical violin world, and all the tradition that goes with it. It is really great to hear so many versions or approaches to the same pieces. But the fact that we are all playing the same music and that very few good things have come since Kreisler, is huge downside to our musical world.
The greatest violinist of our time will be the one who cannot only play like Ehns, or Perlman, or Bell, or Rippin, etc., but the one that adds meaningful melodies to the existing repertoire, in other words--new stuff that is as good as the old stuff! That is the person or persons that we should all be waiting for.
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