Andre Previn has an interesting chapter on him in his book 'No Minor Chords'. He says, 'Heifetz was a good deal less godlike when he put his violin down. So sad. Oistrakh would also be my second choice - fabulous playing. Even if it was only a masterclass. Last edited by norman bates; Sep at What time is the next swan? I see that Rabin is missing from that list - he died young of course - amazing rec he made of Pag Vc1.
Originally Posted by DavidA. Originally Posted by Sydney Nova Scotia. Interesting post - my compliments He inspired me what not to do. It's good that the list consists mainly of old masters and not our here-today-gone-tomorrow whizz-kids. I'd add one more great: Mischa Elman. Originally Posted by David Phillips. Joe B liked this post. Originally Posted by stomanek. Agreed - there are one or two great violinists alive today such as Leonidas Kavakos.
I doubt Paganini could pull off the Elgar or Sibelius, just to take two examples, in a manner that would not instantly brand him as mere circus act. We cannot judge greatness in a vacuum. Our assessments must necessarily be informed by our knowledge and appreciation of the advancements the art of violin has undergone since the time of Vivaldi or Paganini. Now, Paganini was THE linchpin to that advancement. But, did the art of violin achieve its pinnacle with Paganini? Certainly, not. Rachmaninov, who was rather sober as a player and very sentimantal as a composer And dear Carlos, how do you know Tellefsen?
I've heard a most amazing Beethoven Concerto live from him, and the "2 sentimentala romanser" it's an old LP, all is written in svensk and I'm quoting from memory Paganini's compositions are an added asset to his art if we are to appreciate him mainly as a violinist and not merely as a composer , even if his compositions are not "deep" whatever the term "deep" may mean. Paganini's greatest merits and reputation according to his biographers rested much more on how virtuosic he was with the violin than with anything else.
If the term "violinist" is also to include concepts such as "interpreter", "composer" or "musician", besides virtuosity, then I would agree that Paganini was not necessarily the pinnacle of the art of violin. But, then It all depends on what we really mean when we use this term. My comments on Paganini have to do much more with his great command of the violin than with anything else, and is in this sense that I use the terms "virtuosic", "virtuosity" or "virtuoso".
Of course, Paganini single-handedly rearranged the molecules of violin art and set forth a new peformance paradigm by which every player since has operated. Moreover, there's a reason his compositions will never leave the active repertoire. They are dazzling vehicles for demonstrating what the violin is capable of. The violin is the beneficiary of many profound compositions by great composers, but without the pizzazz that Paganini offers as a counterweight to that profundity, violin art would not be as popular as it is.
Given his contributions, perhaps Paganini deserves his own category altogether. Even though I consider Heifetz's achievements more holistic a demonstration of what you get when you combine instrumental, musical, stylisitc, and artistic excellence into one complete package , there's no question that his acheivements stand on the shoulders of Paganini's.
We can never make the kind apples-to-apples comparison we can with, let's say, Milstein and Oistrakh in a series of recordings of the same pieces.
But, the mere fact that he could even conceive of the kind of compositions he acheived great fame and wealth playing surely places him on any "greatest" shortlist. But I was the only one to have the nerve, the gall, the temerity, indeed the chutspah to begin to write in a certain name before modesty, reality and common sense stopped me! Has anyone ever heard Paganini play? Paganini is out of question, of course, but just take a look at Heifetz's wife Recently I have been awed by the talent of Pearlman.
He was incredible even at age ten. Stephane Grapelli. He played so sweet, lyrical and expressive. And also the way he phrased his solos against new rythmn styles was groundbreaking. His legacy of Hot Club music reaches globally, with "Hot Club" bands and their devoted listeners. Stephane and Django are legend even after 50 years since their last performance. Django gets so much of the credit they both deserve, he wanted and thrived on it, selfishly demanding attention, Stephane?
He reminded Django that he could perform without him if need be, and to behave. Grapelli is what many players aspire to. Jean-Luc Ponty comes to mind here too. Kevin Burke is an Irish fiddler worth a mention. He leaves you wondering "how does he do that? Bluegrass ain't that easy folks! There are many different bowing patterns and percussive techniques as well as countless tunes to memorize and master.
Improvisation and music theory are a much different study than Kreutzer or Bach. He defined the "right" way for every tune he played. And then of course Mark O'Connor. Mark won just about every award possible before age For fiddle and guitar. O'Connor is in a league of his own really and can play any style of music either from sheets of improv.
Mark O'Connor would be my choice as the best violinist because of his great diversity of talent. The swiss army knife of violinists, that's what he is. I know that this really dates me, but Seriously though, I think it's legitimate to do some historical research and consider a historical figure's compositions, and his impact on colleagues and audiences, whether or not their playng would have been our cup of tea. Just to consider some inter-composer influence - no Paganini, no Berlioz Harold in Italy , and maybe Liszt would not have been the same, as he sought to become the Paganini of the piano.
I agree. The role of Paginini as pivotal figure would then have been taken by somebody else. It is the pivotal role rather than the player which is significant. As opposed to Mr Kipling whose cakes are exceedingly dubious. Kipling's cakes". But I would recommend Mr. Maugham's "Cakes and Ale"! I blame the influence of modern technology and junk food. The latter name will not be familiar to many, as he didn't become a "big name". But many in the know would rank him with some of the other top American vitruosos such as Rosand, Nadien, and Dicterow.
Libove made just a few recordings, including a super one of all Ravel. It's gorgeous, artisitc playing of the highest order. I've never heard a better Tzigane. None of us has ever heard Paganini, for example, but it's pretty clear that he was one of the great violinists of history. For all we know, maybe Hilary Hahn plays with cleaner technique and better intonation -- but if those were the only criteria, then Kreisler would never make anybody's list. For what it's worth, while we may not know how Paganini actually sounded it's pretty remarkable that he was able to play the things he wrote considering he didn't even use a chin rest much lest a shoulder rest.
Now you give that a try. Oh yes - "Who are the greatest violinists of all time? Not to put anyone down, but maybe we need a couple of separate categories such as "who are the best looking or sexiest violinists" and "who are the most successful irrespective of their actual playing" Every violinist who has been mentioned not including the ones that we may have missed.
There are still a few not mentioned. What will be nice, is a violinist be up for listing and whomever can contribute material about that person will be fabulous! And he's beautifully musical on top of that. Possibly my fav violinist of today. Of contemporary violinists, another vote for Kavakos. He's been called many times a "violinist's violinist. Another name that hasn't yet been mentioned--Erica Morini. She is right up there with the all-time greats, but is less often mentioned--perhaps because she was a woman?
Heifetz without saying should really be first on the list. His sheer coordination has been unmatched. I think Perlman is sort of a necessity on this list, as one of the most famous personas of all time. He just has this personable personality. Some of my students call him "Mr bear paws.
I think the Heifetz generation is the single most important. The sound, technical accuracy, and personality of that era were earth-shattering.
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Of course, video and audio quality of that era were also good enough so that we can actually tell what they might have sounded like Vanessa Mae is not really the type of violinist we were talking here even if she is competent in her type of music shows. When "le contenant est plus important que le contenu" I don't think it fits here :.
Carolin Widman, she is not listed in the otherwise very comprehensive list mentioned in the above post by the link Benny provided.
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Roberto Michelucci. Roman Totenberg. Ruggiero Ricci. Louis Persinger. Leonid Kogan. Midori Goto. Julia Fischer. Isaac Stern. David Garrett. Janine Jansen. Anne-Sophie Mutter. Sarah Chang. Nathan Milstein. Maxim Vengerov. Hilary Hahn. Joseph Szigeti. Gidon Kremer. Ivry Gitlis. James Ehnes. Joshua Bell.
Antonio Vivaldi. Arcangelo Corelli. Gil Shaham. Ole Bull. Giuseppe Tartini. Mischa Elman. David Oistrakh. Stephane Grappelli. Viktoria Mullova. Itzhak Perlman. Pinchas Zukerman. Yehudi Menuhin. Jascha Heifetz. Bronislav Huberman. Fritz Kreisler. Pablo de Sarasate. Niccolo Paganini. Who according to you is the greatest violinist of all time? Which classical music composer do you think contributed the most?
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