What are your favorite violinist anecdotes?
When Perlman is talking about learning up bow stacatto and the story of Gingold and Ysaye. And the way Ysaye "taught" it. It makes me smile everytime I think of it aha
I think that's also a Heifetz story...
I don't recall the source, but decades ago I read an anecdote that after a performance of a Brahms quartet in which Brahms was in the audience, one of the quartet members tried to "butter up" Brahms with compliments. Brahms (by all accounts) was not always polite. When the musician asked, "Tell me, Maestro, did you like the tempo?" Brahms replied, "Yes, especially yours."
Elise - Kreisler and Einstein were playing together (I think it was some quartet work), and Einstein screwed up the timing, and Kreisler said, "What's the matter, professor? Can't you count?"
It's the way you tell them
Nina - how do you know that is the original? Did Einstein really play with Kreisler? Is that documented? Any sources?
I have always heard it was Sergey Rachmaninov, who exclaimed in exasperation to Einstein, "You are a man of science, but yet you cannot count".
J Ray "Legend has it" … nice try - but no cigar.
Elise, I don't smoke, and wasn't trying for a cigar. Make what you will of the article. I enjoyed reading it.
Heifetz and Milstein(?) were sitting in a cafe having coffee when the manager brought in an envelope addressed to 'The greatest violinist in the world'.
Lol. Thats great
Peter - LOL! [See we need those 'like' buttons ;) ]
Peter - that's hilarious! Where'd you get that from?
Nina - I can't remember where I first heard this one. I don't think it was actually Milstein when I first head it (can't remember who it was), but the general idea is the same.
Peter, very funny. I laughed so hard I almost spite out my coffee.
Paraphrasing something I read. Fritz Kreisler and someone were strolling down a European street one morning. They passed by a market, with fresh fish on ice outside by the sidewalk, their eyes staring and mouths hanging open. Kreisler looked at them for a moment, then said; "that reminds me, I have a concert tonight".
"Elise, I don't smoke, and wasn't trying for a cigar. Make what you will of the article. I enjoyed reading it."
One of my favorite anecdotes, which may be apocryphal, is about a man whose wife wanted to broaden his cultural exposures. Learning that Heifetz would be performing in their small town, she convinced her husband to attend. That evening though, there was a ferocious storm and only a handful of attendees showed up. Heifetz, upon seeing the dedicated few, suggested that rather than perform he would like to take them all out to dinner as his guest. Upon hearing this, her husband objected, uttering "The least he could do is to sing a couple of songs!"
One of my favorites - probably not true, but still a good story:
Nina, Einstein should have replied, "Maestro, you try counting when you are playing SECOND!" (or should he have said "Doctor ..."?)
Peter that is one of my favorite violin stories. I'm quite certain though that the story goes as follows. It's been many years since I read this, but I believe it comes from the book on Kreisler by Louis Lochner.
The one I always liked and recall reading about in Strings magazine involved a European jazz violinist named Angelina Rivera who was popular in the 1920s. She was playing a gig with a group at a Paris nightclub. At a table quite near the stage, there was a well-dressed young man who would clap very loudly after she did her stuff. During a break, she went to the club owner and asked who the well-dressed man at the table near the stage was who seemed very taken with her performance. The club owner said that it was Jascha Heifetz, at which point Rivera fainted. Apparently, Heifetz liked to go and scope out other violinists.
Another Heifetz story is that when he was on tour during WWII entertaining the troops, he preferred to bunk with the enlisted men rather than the officers. The reason: they were better at ping pong, which he liked to play.
Not a violinist, but there is a story similar to Tom's about Artur Rubinstein. He went to a club "incognito" to listen to Art Tatum. When asked later about Tatum's playing, Rubinstein basically said that he didn't he how it was even possible.
There is that one time Hilary Hahn went on Two Set which was ostensibly designed as a comedy video but as it turns out she's really good at playing Bach.
Horowitz also admired Tatum. Apparently got a strange look when he asked how long he took to practice a particular lick.
David Rose, other anecdotes on this site would suggest that Kreisler's and Elman's reactions to the prank would have been markedly different:
Not violinists, but...
Million dollar trio, found this bit on another forum:
The version I've heard about two famous violinists in a restaurant was that they were Kreisler and Heifetz. The maitre d' brought over to their table an envelope addressed to "The Greatest Violinist in the World", explained it was from a lady who had just left, and after a moment's thought carefully placed it exactly halfway between the two gentlemen.
One I heard about Arthur Grumiaux. The great man was at a concert in which a young lion of the fingerboard and bow gave a spectacular rendering of Paganini's 1st VC. When the tumultuous applause died away Grumiaux turned to his companion and remarked, “Very impressive, but can he play Mozart?”
Stephane Grappelli shows Irish fiddler Frankie Gavin how "Sweet Georgia Brown" should be played:
Trevor - I heard the piano arrangement of the Grumiaux story - Horowitz (after hearing some Liszt pyrotechnics)- 'Yes, but can he play Scarlatti'.
Kreisler mightn't have realized it was a prank.
Every episode of the Fargo TV series starts with the on-screen sentence "This is a true story". The producers have admitted in interviews that they put their own interpretation on the meaning of "true".
And speaking of Heifetz, it is said that Mischa Elman and Leopold Godowsky attended Heifetz's spectacular debut at Carnegie Hall on a warm afternoon. When the intermission came, Elman turned to Godowsky and said, " Gee, it's awfully hot in here", to which Godowsky responded "Not for pianists!"
Trevor - with all the stories of Einstein playing with famous people I had assumed it was true. However, a search for a picture of such an event came up empty. The only verified public performance that I could come up with thus far was a charity event for a synagogue where he played with professor Lewandowsky (does not ring any famous violinist bells) in Germany in 1930:
Elise, not a side track at all. It is hard evidence, which is difficult to find with most of these anecdotes; hence the ubiquitous variations on a theme.
....So, Heifetz was teaching God how to play the violin, and........
A young Heifetz was presented to Leopold Auer.
When someone told Heifetz (?) his violin sounded good and he held it up and said "I don't hear anything".
Another Kreisler story involving Godowsky and Kreisler's wife. Kreisler came from a Jewish family but had been baptized as a child. His wife was fairly anti-semitic. At one point, she claimed to Godowsky that Kreisler "did not have a drop of Jewish blood in his body." To which Godowsky replied, "well Madam, he must be quite anemic."
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