Pieces by violinists

Edited: September 25, 2019, 5:52 AM · I was unsure about what to call this, but has there ever been a piece (concerto, sonata etc.) that you had never liked until hearinh a certain musicians interpretation of it?
Mine is Mendelssohn concerto. I couldn't get into it (I listened to about 4 recordings before I found the "one"). My go to one, which is still the only one I can get through is by favourite, Shlomo Mintz

How about you guys?

Replies (15)

September 25, 2019, 6:57 AM · The chaconne. To date, Gitlis is the only violinist whose recording I don't absolutely hate. All the others I've heard add so many stupid gimmicks to the music, like arpeggiating all the chords ("because hipp") or playing the entire thing as if they had a metronome click going ("because hipp") or using a baroque setup that only serves to completely flatten all the dynamics.

I actually really like to listen to the chaconne played on other instruments, like the lute or a keyboard, because then all the established conventions of playing it on the violin are thrown out the window and the musician just enjoys it for what it is—music. The chaconne is not some sacred object that we cannot change... Bach himself is unlikely to have exactly followed his own music every time he played it.

Anyways. There's my rant.

Edited: September 25, 2019, 7:10 AM · I was never a huge fan of Scarlatti sonatas until I heard Horowitz's album of them. Probably just bias though (I've always adored Horowitz).
September 25, 2019, 7:57 AM · I didn't find Sibelius until I heard Ferras play it. It's over the top but anything less just feels wrong for that piece. Ironically I like Hahn's Bach a lot, which is the polar opposite. I like Heifetz's Bach a lot as well and everything he ever played.
September 25, 2019, 8:12 AM · If I may, I have had an experience that was somewhat the reverse of what you describe. As a young child I grew up listening to the Mendelssohn violin concerto from a 1972 Deutsche Grammonphon recording, played by the soloist Yong Uck Kim, with the Bamberger Symphony. That interpretation by Yong Uck Kim is really idiosyncratic, if you can get a chance to listen to it, give it a try! But as a child it was the the only version I knew. Then later hearing the first "conventional" interpretation (I think it was Menuhin but I don't really remember) was really a shock for me, and it took me a while to like the conventional interpretation.
September 25, 2019, 8:33 AM · I don't know that I can put anything that strongly, but hearing Bach's organ arrangement of his E-major Prelude, played more like a fanfare than show off piece, was quite some revelation.
Also hearing one of Schumann's Oboe Romances was quite some revelation re the 1st movement of the Märchenbilder and prepared me for what Gerhard Schmidt (some readers might know whom I mean) told me about having had an unabridged copy of Schumann's journals back at home in Austria in which Schumann gave comparatively slow metronome speeds for the first and third movements (84 and 120, respectively) and revealed that the fairy tales pictured are Rapunzel (1st 2 movements - I wasn't surprised, I could hear her hair being let down and the prince climbing up it), Rumpelstiltskin (3rd movement, part of which is him dancing with attendant fairies outside his house {not "a storm at sea"}, and the Sleeping Beauty. I put this information on Wikipedia, but the one piece of independent online evidence I found for it was deleted or superseded and I am unable to prevent my contribution from being deleted, and this will probably remain so until someone can lay hands on a(nother) unabridged copy of Schumann's journals (in German, of course. Only abridged versions have been translated into English).
I've yet to hear the Scherzo of the Brahms D-minor sonata and the obligato part of "Es is Vollbracht" played the way I really want to hear them (and the way I actually tried to perform the latter). I'm not sure that people appreciate that the former is Brahms trying to be funny.
September 25, 2019, 12:24 PM · Quite a few - probably more than I can recall right now.
Beethoven - Pastoral Symphony. I never 'got' it until I heard an old recording by Erich Kleiber. Suddenly it all fell into place. After that I could listen to and appreciate other performances and it has become a favourite symphony.
The slow Movement of the Sibelius concerto - I never understood it musically or emotionally until I heard Hilary Hahn and Esa-Pekka Salonen play it (on the recording). This was a relatively recent 'revelation' so I've not had chance to test it on other recordings.
The Grosse Fuge - why does it always seem to fall apart in the final section? (yes I know there are musical reasons, but I think performers are also guilty at times....). But I recently acquired a recording by the Smetana quartet where it doesn't (from 1965). Again I haven't yet tested this on other recordings.
[PS John I too love Bach's arrangement of the E major Praeludium.]
September 25, 2019, 2:56 PM · Hi Jean -- I found the Mendelssohn recording by Yong Uck Kim on YouTube. I enjoyed listening to it, but it did not strike me as that different or idiosyncratic (aside from the cadenza which was played much slower than usual). Can you elaborate? Thanks!
September 25, 2019, 6:46 PM · Same as Peter -- I didn't quite understand the slow movement of the Sibelius concerto until I heard Hilary Hahn play it (also with Salonen, but live in concert).
September 25, 2019, 9:27 PM · Coming from a different angle, but I don't care for many renditions of Kreisler's short pieces after hearing his interpretations. For example, everyone plays Prelude and Allegro, but it's not easy to play well. I don't think Kreisler recorded it but Ida Haendel's version is great, and there are a few others.
September 26, 2019, 9:51 AM · I'm with Gene, Jean. I thought it was a perfectly cromulent recording.
October 25, 2019, 4:05 PM · Well for me, it is the Sauret Cadenza for Paganini 's unplayable violin concerto n°1.I heard the guy (forgot his name)in the Queen Elizabeth Competition and it was "showing" , but I don't think there was any "musicality" in his performance. When I listen to Mrs Hahn's CD with the Sauret Cadenza, It was totally different(musical, modest, etc...)

Bach's chaconne is too a piece that I hate until I listened ...to Christian Tezlaff's interpretation in a masterclass

Edited: October 25, 2019, 8:03 PM · "To date, Gitlis is the only violinist whose recording I don't absolutely hate."

Are you referring to the version which is on YouTube, or a better recording?

"has there ever been a piece (concerto, sonata etc.) that you had never liked until hearinh a certain musicians interpretation of it?"

Not quite the same thing, but.. I already loved Prokofiev's 1st violin concerto, and amassed a collection of about all the recordings that I could find, but still didn't feel that I'd found one which captured it. About a decade or two later, I heard Josefowicz's version, and think that she captured at least some of it like no one else I've heard.

October 25, 2019, 7:12 PM · I haven’t heard anything I didn’t like to some degree. I first listened to Robert Schumann’s violin concerto at Symphony Hall in Boston (If I recall correctly, the soloist was playing with a score! ) But I didn’t fully appreciate the piece fully until I listened to recordings.
October 25, 2019, 8:27 PM · Huh. I don't think of Paganini concerto #1 as unplayable. Difficult, yes. But there are harder pieces out there. Schoenberg comes to mind immediately. Even if one rules out the extraordinarily difficult 20th century concertos, Wieniawski #1 is also brutal.
October 26, 2019, 1:47 AM · How about some Ernst pieces?

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