Zino Vinnikov Plays
About Fritz Kreisler
Fritz Kreisler made his American debut in Boston in 1888, and toured the country with pianist Moriz Rosenthal the following season. Like so many musical geniuses before and since, he suffered the disdain of critics, to such a discouraging degree, in fact, that he temporarily gave up music for the study of medicine and a tour of duty in the Austrian army. But not for long!
The scope of his genius and his inevitable response to its irresistible call brought Kreisler back to the public eye and ear again in 1898, when he made his Vienna debut with Richter and the Vienna Philharmonic, followed by idolized performances in Berlin. Like so many musical geniuses before and since, he was to bask in the unabashed and unstinting praise of the same critics who had roasted him not that long before, writers who now found themselves transformed by his spectacular technique and unprecedented flair for the romantic.
Shortly thereafter, in a triumphant return to the United States, Fritz Kreisler performed to standing room only, foot stamping, wildly cheering audiences in recitals and concerto appearances. Then, it was off to a London debut in 1902, followed by a triumphant reign as the toast of music capitals around the world. Kreisler didn't just captivate his audiences. He seduced them. His remarkable tone was displayed to perfection on a Guarneri del Gesu violin of 1733. To his great credit, Fritz Kreisler eschewed sensationalism, devoting his prodigious technique instead to the glorification of the music.
He was a prolific composer of salon music and numerous other pieces for the violin, a selection of which can be admired and enjoyed on this recording. Kreisler's music transports us back to the Vienna of his era, to that atmosphere of intellectual and artistic effervescence which to this day remains unique in history. An enchanting charm which is both timeless in its appeal and notoriously difficult in its interpretation permeates his music.
Fritz Kreisler's reputation as one of the greatest violinists of all time is rarely challenged. But what exactly was it that set his playing apart? For Zino Vinnikov, Kreisler's greatness resides in the latter's "achievement of perfection in the art of parlando (literally, 'speaking' or 'articulating'), and in the magical, expressive bow that made it possible." Indeed, Vinnikov continues, "parlando is the single most important element for listeners to look out for in Kreisler's compositions, and probably also the most difficult one for artists to master."
Fritz Kreisler died in New York City in January, 1962.