FAMOUS VIOLINISTS OF TO-DAY
Henry C. Lahee
jfuthor of "Famous Pianists of To-day and
Yesterday, " " Famous Singers of To-day
and Yesterday, " " The Organ
and Its Masters, " etc.
___ ^ jipjl
A \^-^-r-- -_=/ v-
L-C PAGE- ^-COMPANY
BY L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
All rights reserved
Sixth Impression, February, 1906
Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds &> Co.
IN " Famous Violinists " the writer has
endeavoured to follow the same general
plan as in " Famous Singers," viz., to give
a "bird's-eye view" of the most celebrated
violinists from the earliest times to the pres-
ent day rather than a detailed account of
a very few. Necessarily, those who have
been prominently before the public as per-
formers are selected in preference to those
who have been more celebrated as teachers.
It was at first intended to arrange the
chapters according to "schools," but it soon
became evident that such a plan would lead
to inextricable confusion, and it was found
best to follow the chronological order of
The " Chronological Table " is compiled
from the best existing authorities, and is
not an effort to bring together a large num-
ber of names. If such were the desire, there
would be no difficulty in filling up a large
volume with names of the violinists of good
capabilities, who are well known in their
HENRY C. LAHEE.
I. INTRODUCTORY ir
II. 1650 TO 1750 30
III. 1750 TO 1800 60
IV. PAGANINI 104
V. 1800 TO 1830 135
VI. OLE BULL 172
VII. 1830 TO 1850 204
VIII. JOACHIM 244
IX. VIOLINISTS OF TO-DAY . . .261
X. WOMEN AS VIOLINISTS . . . 300
XI. FAMOUS QUARTETS .... 345
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
OLE BULL Frontispiece
ARCANGELO CORELLI 30
NICOLO PAGANINI 104
CAMILLO SIVORI 154
MARTIN PIERRE JOSEPH MARSICK . . 238
JOSEPH JOACHIM 244
EMIL SAURET 265
MAUD POWELL ...... 340
FRANZ KNEISEL 362
FAMOUS VIOLINISTS OF TO-DAY
THERE is no instrument of music made by
the hands of man that holds such a powerful
sway over the emotions of every living thing
capable of hearing, as the violin. The singu-
lar powers of this beautiful instrument have
been eloquently eulogised by Oliver Wendell
Holmes, in the following words :
"Violins, too. The sweet old Amati! the
divine Stradivari ! played on by ancient ma-
estros until the bow hand lost its power, and
the flying fingers stiffened. Bequeathed to
12 Famous Violinists.
the passionate young enthusiast, who made
it whisper his hidden love, and cry his in-
articulate longings, and scream his untold
agonies, and wail his monotonous despair.
Passed from his dying hand to the cold
virtuoso, who let it slumber in its case for
a generation, till, when his hoard was broken
up, it came forth once more, and rode the
stormy symphonies of royal orchestras, be-
neath the rushing bow of their lord and
leader. Into lonely prisons with improvi-
dent artists ; into convents from which arose,
day and night, the holy hymns with which
its tones were blended ; and back again to
orgies, in which it learned to howl and laugh
as if a legion of devils were shut up in it ;
then, again, to the gentle dilettante, who
calmed it down with easy melodies until
it answered him softly as in the days of
the old maestros; and so given into our
hands, its pores all full of music, stained
like the meerschaum through and through
Introductory. 1 3
with the concentrated hue and sweetness of
all the harmonies which have kindled and
faded on its strings."
Such, indeed, has been the history of
many a noble instrument fashioned years
and years ago, in the days when violin
playing did not hold the same respect and
admiration that it commands at the present
The evolution of the violin is a matter
which can be traced back to the dark ages,
but the fifteenth century may be considered
as the period when the art of making instru-
ments of the viol class took root in Italy.
It cannot be said, however, that the violin,
with the modelled back which gives its
distinctive tone, made its appearance until
the middle of the sixteenth century. In
France, England, and Germany, there was
very little violin making until the beginning
of the following century. Andrea Amati
was born in 1520, and he was the founder
14 Famous Violinists.
of the great Cremona school of violin makers,
of which Nicolo Amati, the grandson of
Andrea, was the most eminent. The art
of violin making reached its zenith in Italy
at the time of Antonio Stradivari, who lived
at Cremona. He was born in 1644, and
lived until 1737, continuing his labours al-
most to the day of his death, for an instru-
ment is in existence made by him in the
year in which he died. It is an interesting
fact that the art of violin making in Italy
developed at the time when the painters
of Italy displayed their greatest genius, and
when the fine arts were encouraged by the
most distinguished patronage.
As the art of violin making developed, so
did that of violin playing, but, whereas the
former reached its climax with Stradivari,
the latter is still being developed, as new
writers and players find new difficulties and
new effects. While there are many proofs
that orchestras existed, and that violins of
Introductory. 1 5
all sizes were used in ecclesiastical music,
there is still some doubt as to who was
the first solo violinist of eminence. The
earliest of whom we have any account
worthy of mention, was Baltazarini, a native
of Piedmont, who went to France in 1577
to superintend the music of Catharine de
Medici. In 1581 he composed the music for
the nuptials of the Duke de Joyeuse with
Mile, de Vaudemont, sister of the queen,
and this is said to have been the origin of
the heroic and historical ballet in France.
The progress of violin playing can also
be judged somewhat by the compositions
written for the instrument. Of these the
earliest known is a " Romanesca per violone
Solo e Basso se piaci," and some dances, by
Biagio Marini, published in 1620. This con-
tains the "shake." Then there is a "Toc-
cata" for violin solo, by Paolo Quagliati,
published in 1623, and a collection of violin
pieces by Carlo Farina, published in 1627
1 6 Famous Violinists.
at Dresden, in which the variety of bowing,
double stopping, and chords shows a great
advance in the demands upon the execution.
Farina held the position of solo violinist at
the Court of Saxony, and has been called the
founder of the race of violin virtuosi. One
of his compositions, named " Cappriccio Stra-
vagante," requires the instrument to imitate
the braying of an ass, and other sounds
belonging to the animal kingdom, as well
as the twanging of guitars and the fife
and drum of the soldier.
Eighteen sonatas composed by Giovanni
Battista Fontana, and published at Venice in
1641, show a distinct advance in style, and
Tomasso Antonio Vitali, himself a famous
violinist, wrote a " Chaconne " of such merit
that it was played by no less a virtuoso than
Joachim, at the Monday popular concerts
in London, in 1870, nearly two hundred
years after its composition.
Italy was the home of the violin, of com-
Introductory, 1 7
position for the violin, and of violin playing,
for the first school was the old Italian school,
and from Italy, by means of her celebrated
violinists, who travelled and spread through-
out Europe, the other schools were estab-
Violin playing grew in favour in Italy,
France, Germany, and England at about
the same time, but in England it was
many years before the violinist held a
position of any dignity. The fiddle, as it
was called, was regarded by the gentry
with profound contempt. Butler, in " Hudi-
bras," refers to one Jackson, who lost a
leg in the service of the Roundheads, and
became a professional " fiddler : "
" A squeaking engine he apply'd
Unto his neck, on northeast side,
Just where the hangman does dispose,
To special friends, the knot or noose ;
For 'tis great grace, when statesmen
Dispatch a friend, let others wait.
38 Famous Violinists.
His grisly beard was long and thick,
With which he strung his fiddle-stick ;
For he to horse-tail scorned to owe,
For what on his own chin did grow."
Many years later Purcell, the composer,
wrote a catch in which the merits of a violin
maker named Young, and his son, a violin
player, are recorded. The words are as
" You scrapers that want a good fiddle, well strung,
You must go to the man that is old while he's
But if this same Fiddle, you fain would play bold,
You must go to his son, who'll be Young when he's
There's old Young and young Young, both men of
Old sells and young plays the best Fiddle in town,
Young and old live together, and may they live
Young to play an old Fiddle; old to sell a new
In the course of time the English learned
to esteem all arts more highly, and in no
country was a great musician more sure of
a warm welcome.
Two celebrated violinists were born in the
year 1630, Thomas Baltzar, and John Banis-
ter, the former in Germany, at Lubec, and
the latter in London.
Baltzar was esteemed the finest performer
of his time, and is said to have been the first
to have introduced the practice of " shifting."
In 1656 Baltzar went to England, where he
quite eclipsed Davis Mell, a clockmaker, who
was considered a fine player, and did much
to give the violin an impetus toward popu-
larity. The wonder caused by his perform-
ances in England, shortly after his arrival, is
best described in the quaint language of
Anthony Wood, who "did, to his very
great astonishment, hear him play on the
violin. He then saw him run up his
Fingers to the end of the Fingerboard of
the Violin, and run them back insensibly,
and all with alacrity, and in very good
2O Famous Violinists.
tune, which he nor any in England saw the
At the Restoration Baltzar was appointed
leader of the king's celebrated band of
twenty -four violins, but, sad to relate,
" Being much admired by all lovers of mu-
sick, his company was therefore desired ;
and company, especially musical company,
delighting in drinking, made him drink more
than ordinary, which brought him to his
grave." And he was buried in the cloister
of Westminster Abbey.
John Banister was taught music by his
father, one of the ^vaits of the parish of St.
Giles, and acquiring great proficiency on the
violin was noticed by King Charles II., who
sent him to France for improvement. On
his return he was appointed chief of the
king's violins. King Charles was an admirer
of everything French, and he appears, accord-
ing to Pepys, to have aroused the wrath of
Banister by giving prominence to a French
Introductory. 2 1
fiddler named Grabu, who is said to have
been an "impudent pretender." Banister
lost his place for saying, either to or in the
hearing of the king, that English performers
on the violin were superior to those of
John Banister lived in times when fiddle
playing was not highly esteemed, if we may
judge by the following ordinance, made in
1658: "And be it further enacted by the
authority aforesaid, that if any person or
persons, commonly called Fiddlers, or min-
strels, shall at any time after the said first
day of July be taken playing, Fiddling, or
making music in any inn, alehouse, or tavern
or shall be proffering themselves, or desir-
ing, or entreating any person or persons to
hear them play . . . shall be adjudged . . .
rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy beggars."
John Banister seems to have been a some-
what " sturdy beggar," though not exactly
in the sense meant by the ordinance, for he
22 Famous Violinists.
established regular concerts at his house,
" now called the Musick-school, over against
the George Tavern in Whitefriars." These
concerts began in 1672, and continued till
near his death, which occurred in 1679. He,
too, was buried in the cloister of Westmin-
ster Abbey. His son, also, was an excellent
performer on the violin, and played first vio-
lin in the Italian opera when it was first
introduced into England. He was one of the
musicians of Charles II., James II., William
and Mary, and of Queen Anne.
Henry Eccles, who lived about the end
of the seventeenth century, went to France,
where he became a member of the king's
band, and William Corbett, who went to
Italy to study the violin in 1710, was a player
of much ability ; but one of the most eminent
of English violinists was Matthew Dubourg,
born 1703, who played at a concert when he
was so small that he was placed on a stool
in order that he might be seen. At eleven
years of age he was placed under Geminiani,
who had recently established himself in Lon-
don. Dubourg was appointed, in 1728,
Master and Composer of State-Music in
Ireland, and on the death of Festing, in
1752, he became leader of the king's band
in London, and held both posts until his
death in 1767.
An amusing incident is related of Dubourg
and Handel. The latter visited Dublin and
presided at a performance of the " Messiah."
A few evenings later, Dubourg, who was
leader of the band at the Theatre, had to
improvise a "close," and wandered about in
a fit of abstract modulation for so long that
he forgot the original key. At last, how-
ever, after a protracted shake, he landed
safely on the key-note, when Handel called
out in a voice loud enough to be heard in
the remotest parts of the theatre, " Welcome
home, welcome home, Mr. Dubourg."
Dubourg's name is the first on record in
24 Famous Violinists.
connection with the performance of a con-
certo in an English theatre.
John Clegg, a pupil of Dubourg, was a
violinist of great ability, whom Handel placed
at the head of the opera band, but his facul-
ties became deranged by intense study and
practice, and he died at a comparatively early
age, in 1742, an inmate of Bedlam.
Another very promising young English
violinist was Thomas Linley, who exhibited
great musical powers, and performed a con-
certo in public when eight years old. He
was sent to Italy to study under Nardini, and
through the mediation of that artist he be-
came acquainted with Mozart, who was about
the same age. Linley's career was prema-
turely closed, for at the age of twenty-two
he was drowned through the capsizing of a
This completes the list of English violin-
ists of note who were born previous to the
nineteenth century. The later ones we shall
find in their place in succeeding chapters,
but there have been very few violinists of
English birth who have followed the career
of the "virtuoso." Even Antonio James
Oury, who made a series of concert tours
lasting nine years, during which he occasion-
ally appeared in conjunction with De Beriot
and Malibran, is hardly known as a "vir-
tuoso," and was not all English. But there
are pathetic circumstances in regard to the
career of Oury. He was the son of an
Italian of noble descent, who had served as
an officer in the army of Napoleon, and had
been taken prisoner by the English. Mak-
ing the best of his misfortunes the elder
Oury settled in England, married a Miss
Hughes, and became a professor of dancing
The son, Antonio, began to learn the violin
at the age of three, in which he was a year
or two ahead of the average virtuoso, and
he made great progress. By and by he
26 Famous Violinists.
heard Spohr, and after that his diligence
increased, for he practised, during seven
months, not less than fourteen hours a day.
Even Paganini used to sink exhausted after
ten hours' practice. In 1820, we are told,
he went to Paris and studied under Baillot,
Kreutzer, and Lafont, receiving from each
two lessons a week for several successive
winters. With such an imposing array of
talent at his service much might be expected
of Mr. Oury, and he actually made his debut
at the Philharmonic concerts in London.
There was another unfortunate officer of
Napoleon who became tutor to the Prin-
cesses of Bavaria. His name was Belleville.
Mr. Oury met his daughter, and, there being
naturally a bond of sympathy between them,
they married. She was an amiable and ac-
complished pianist, and together they made
the nine years' concert tour.
During the period in which the art of
violin playing was being perfected on the
Continent, the English were too fully occu-
pied with commercial pursuits to foster and
develop the art. Up to the present day the
most eminent virtuoso is commonly spoken
of as a "fiddler." Even Joachim, when he
went to a barber's shop in High Street,
Kensington, and declined to accept the
advice of the tonsorial artist, and have his
hair cropped short, was warned that " he'd
look like one o' them there fiddler chaps."
The barber apparently had no greater esti-
mation of the violinist's art than the latter
had of the tonsorial profession, and the situa-
tion was sufficiently ludicrous to form the
subject of a picture in Punch, and thus the
matter assumed a serious aspect.
England has not been the home of any
particular school of violin playing, but has
received her stimulus from Continental
schools, to which her sons have gone to
study, and from which many eminent violin-
ists have been imported.
28 Famous Violinists,
The word " school," so frequently used
in connection with the art of violin playing,
seems to lead to confusion. The Italian
school, established by Corelli, appears to
have been the only original school. Its
pupils scattered to various parts of Europe,
and there established other schools. To
illustrate this statement, we will follow in a
direct line from Corelli, according to the
table given in Grove's Dictionary.
The pupils of Corelli were Somis, Loca-
telli, Geminiani (Italians), and Anet (a
Frenchman), whose pupil Senaille was also
French. The greatest pupil of Somis was
Pugnani, an Italian, and his greatest pupil
was Viotti, a Piedmontese, who founded the
French school, and from him came Rober-
rechts, his pupil De BeYiot and his pupil
Vieuxtemps, the two latter Belgians, also
Baillot, etc., down to Marsick and Sarasate,
a Spaniard, while through Rode, a French-
man, we have Bohm (school of Vienna)
and his pupil Joachim, a Hungarian (school
Several violinists are found under two
schools, as for instance, Pugnani, who was
first a pupil of Tartini and later of Somis,
and Teresa Milanollo, pupil of Lafont and
of De Beriot, who appear under different
The only conclusion to be drawn is that
the greatest violinists were really indepen-
dent of any school, and, by their own genius,
broke loose from tradition and established
schools of their own. Some of them, on
the other hand, had but few pupils, as for
instance, Paganini, who had but two, and
Sarasate. Many also were teachers rather
than performers. We have to deal chiefly
with the virtuosi.
1650 TO I/SO.
ARCANGELO CORELLI, whose name is recog-
nised as one of the greatest in the history
of violin playing and composition, and who
laid the foundation for all future develop-
ment of technique, was born in 1653, at
Fusignano, near Imola, in the territory of
He showed an early propensity for the
violin, and studied under Bassani, a man
of extensive knowledge and capabilities,
while Mattel Simonelli was his instructor
Corelli at one time sought fame away
from home, and he is said to have visited
Paris, where Lulli, the chief violinist of
\RCHAN GE C O RE LLI
'>a.Fufiqnari OMU If TlawonnGit. Jttcrt it
1650 to 1750. 31
that city, exhibited such jealousy and vio-
lence that the mild-tempered Corelli with-
drew. In 1680 he went to Germany, where
he was well received, and entered the ser-
vice of the Elector of Bavaria, but he soon
returned to Rome. His proficiency had
now become so great that his fame extended
throughout Europe, and pupils flocked to
him. His playing was characterised by
refined taste and elegance, and by a firm
and even tone.
When the opera was well established in
Rome, about 1690, Corelli led the band.
His chief patron in Rome was Cardinal
Ottoboni, and it was at his house that an
incident occurred which places Corelli at
the head of those musicians who have from
time to time boldly maintained the rights
of music against conversation. He was
playing a solo when he noticed the cardinal
engaged in conversation with another person.
He immediately laid down his violin, and,
32 Famous Violinists.
on being asked the reason, answered that
"he feared the music might interrupt the
Corelli was a man of gentle disposition
and simple habits. His plainness of dress
and freedom from ostentation gave the
impression that he was parsimonious, and
Handel says of him that "he liked nothing
better than seeing pictures without paying
for it, and saving money." He was also
noted for his objection to riding in carriages.
He lived on terms of intimacy with the
leading artists of his time, and had a great
fondness for pictures, of which he had a
valuable collection. These he left at his
death to Cardinal Ottoboni.
It was at Cardinal Ottoboni's that Corelli
became acquainted with Handel, and at one
of the musical evenings there a " Serenata,"
written by the latter, was performed. Corelli
does not seem to have played it according
to the ideas of the composer, for Handel,
to '75- 33
giving way to his impetuous temper, snatched
the fiddle out of Correlli's hand. Corelli
mildly remarked, " My dear Saxon, this
music is in the French style, with which I
am not acquainted."
For many years Corelli remained at Rome,
but at last he yielded to temptation and
went to Naples, where Scarlatti induced
him to play some of his concertos before the
king. This he did in great fear, for he
had not his own orchestra with him. He
found Scarlatti's musicians able to play at
first sight as well as his own did after re-
hearsals, and, the performance going off well,
he was again admitted to play, this time
one of his sonatas, in the royal presence.
The king found the adagio so long and dry
that he quitted the room, much to Corelli's
mortification. But greater trouble was in
store for the virtuoso. Scarlatti had written
a masque, which was to be played before
the king, but owing to the composer's
34 Famous Violinists.
limited knowledge of the violin, Corelli's
part was very awkward and difficult, and
he failed to execute it, while the Neapolitan
violinists played it with ease. To make
matters worse, Corelli made an unfortunate
mistake in the next piece, which was written
in the key of C minor, and led off in C
major. The mistake was repeated, and
Scarlatti had to call out to him to set him
right. His mortification was so great that
he quietly left Naples and returned to Rome.
He found here a new violinist, Valentini,
who had won the admiration of the people,
and he took it so much to heart that his
health failed, and he died in January, 1713.
Corelli was buried in princely style in the
Pantheon, not far from Raphael's tomb, and
Cardinal Ottoboni erected a monument over
his grave. During many years after his
death a solemn service, consisting of selec-
tions from his own works, was performed in
the Pantheon on the anniversary of his
1650 to 7750. 35
funeral. On this occasion, the works were
performed in a slow, firm, and distinct man-
ner, just as they were written, without chang-
ing the passages in the way of embellishment,
and this is probably the way in which he
himself played them.
Corelli's compositions are remarkable for
delicate taste and pleasing melodies and har-
monies. He must be considered as the
author of the greatest improvement which
violin music underwent at the beginning of
the eighteenth century. These compositions
are regarded as invaluable for the instruction
of young players, and some of them may be
frequently heard in the concert-room at the
present day, two hundred years since they
were written. Corelli's most celebrated
pupils, Somis, Locatelli, Geminiani, and Anet,
settled respectively in Italy, Holland, Eng-
land, and Poland.
Giovanni Battista Somis was born in Pied-
mont, and, after studying under Corelli, he
36 Famous Violinists.
went to Venice and studied under Vivaldi.
He was appointed solo violinist to the king
at Turin and leader of the royal band, and
seems scarcely ever to have left Turin after
these appointments. Little is known of his
playing or his compositions, but, by the work
of his pupils, it is evident that he possessed
originality. He formed a style more brilliant
and more emotional, and caused a decided
step forward in the art of violin playing.
He was the teacher of Leclair, Giardini, and
Chiabran, as well as Pugnani, and he forms
a connecting link between the classical
schools of Italy and France.
Pietro Locatelli was born at Bergamo, and
became a pupil of Corelli at a very early age.
He travelled considerably, and was undoubt-
edly a great and original virtuoso. He has
been accused of charlatanism, inasmuch as
he overstepped all reasonable limits in his
endeavours to enlarge the powers of execu-
tion of the violin, and has, on that account,
1650 to 1750. 37
been called the grandfather of our modern
Locatelli settled in Amsterdam, where he
died in 1764. There he established regular
public concerts, and he left a number of com-
positions, some of which are used at the
Jean Baptiste Lulli, one of the earliest
violinists in France, is perhaps associated with
the violin in a manner disproportionate to
the part he actually played in its progress.
He was a musician of great ability, and his
compositions are occasionally heard even to
this day. Lulli was born near Florence about
1633. When quite young he was taken to
France by the Chevalier de Guise, and
entered the service of Mile, de Montpensier.
He was employed in the kitchen, where he
seems to have lightened his burdens by play-
ing tricks on the cook and tunes on the
stewpans. He also beguiled his leisure hours
by playing the violin, in which art he made
38 Famous Violinists,
such progress that the princess engaged a
regular instructor for him. Fortunately, as
it turned out, his wit led him into composing
a satirical song on his employer, and he was
sent off, but shortly afterwards secured a post
as one of the king's violinists in the cele-
brated band of the twenty-four violins. Soon
after this a special band called Les Petits
Violons was formed with Lulli at their head,
and under his direction it surpassed the band
Lulli found great favour at court, and,
indeed, astonished the world with his ex-
quisite taste and skill. That he was firmly
established in the favour of the king is
shown by the story that, when Corelli came
to France and played one of his sonatas,
King Louis listened without showing any
sign of pleasure, and, sending for one of his
own violinists, requested him to play an aria
from Lulli's opera of " Cadmus et Hermione,"
which, he declared, suited his taste.
to 1750. 39
There is little doubt that the principles of
the great Italian school of violin playing
were, some years later, brought into France
by Anet, who was born in 1680, and returned
from Italy about 1700, but owing to the
jealousies of his colleagues, he found it ad-
visable to leave France in a short time, and
he is said to have spent the rest of his life as
conductor of the private band of a nobleman
Lulli is said to have been very avaricious,
and his wealth included four houses, all in
the best quarters of Paris, together with
securities and appointments worth about
$70,000. His death, in 1687, was caused
by a peculiar accident. While conducting
a performance of his orchestra he struck his
foot with the cane which he used for mark-
ing the time. The bruise gradually assumed
such a serious condition that it ended his
Jean Baptiste Senaille", who was a pupil of
40 Famous Violinists.
Anet, was born in 1687, and turned to the
Italian school. In 1719 he entered the ser-
vice of the Duke of Orleans.
Francesco Geminiani was considered the
ablest of the pupils of Corelli, and was born
about 1680. When about twenty-four years
of age he went to England, where his talent
secured a great reputation for him, some
people even declaring him to be superior, as
a player, to Corelli. He lived to an advanced
age, and was in Dublin visiting his pupil Du-
bourg at the time of his death. He was a
man of unsettled habits, and was frequently
in dire necessity, caused chiefly by his love
of pictures, which led him into unwise pur-
chases, and thus frequently into debt.
About the year 1650 three violinists were
born in Italy, who all left their mark upon
the history of violin playing.
Tommaso Vitali was born at Bologna, and
was leader of the orchestra in that city, and
later in Modena.
1650 to 7750. 41
Giuseppe Torelli was leader of a church
orchestra in Bologna, and afterwards accepted
the post of leader of the band of the Mark-
graf of Brandenburg-Anspach, at Anspach,
in Germany. To him is generally ascribed
the invention of the " Concerto."
Antonio Vivaldi was the son of a violin-
ist, and sought his fortune in Germany, but
returned to his native city in 1713. He
wrote extensively for the violin, and is said
to have added something to the development
of its technique. An anecdote is told of him
to the effect that one day during mass a
theme for a fugue struck him. He immedi-
ately quitted the altar at which he was offici-
ating, for he united clerical with musical
duties, and, hastening to the sacristy to write
down the theme, afterwards returned and
finished the mass. For this he was brought
before the Inquisition, but being considered
only as a " musician," a term synonymous
with " madman," the sentence was mild,
42 Famous Violinists.
he was forbidden to say mass in the
The most illustrious pupil of Vivaldi was
Francesco Maria Veracini, who was born
about 1685. He is said to have been a
teacher of Tartini, who, if he did not actually
receive instruction from him, at least profited
by his example.
Veracini's travels were extensive, for he
visited London in 1714 and remained there
two years, during which time he was very
successful. He then went to Dresden, where
he was made composer and chamber virtuoso
to the King of Poland.
While in Dresden he threw himself out of
a window and broke his leg, an injury from
which he never entirely recovered. This act
is said to have been caused by his mortifica-
tion at a trick which was played upon him
for his humiliation by Pisendel, an eminent
violinist, but this story is discredited by
some of the best authorities.
1650 to 1750. 43
He left Dresden and went to Prague, where
he entered the service of Count Kinsky. In
1736 he again visited London, but met with
little success, owing to the fact that Gemi-
niani had ingratiated himself with the public.
In 1847 Veracini returned to Pisa.
Veracini has been sometimes ranked with
Tartini as a performer. He was also a com-
poser of ability. In making a comparison of
him with Geminiani it has been said that
Geminiani was the spirit of Corelli much
diluted, while Veracini was the essence of
the great master fortified with r eau de vie.
Veracini was conceited and vainglorious,
and these traits of his character have given
rise to a number of rather inconsequential
stories. He was a most excellent conductor
of orchestra, and Doctor Burney mentions
having heard him lead a band in such a bold
and masterly manner as he had never before
witnessed. Soon after leaving London Vera-
cini was shipwrecked, and lost his two Stainer
44 Famous Violinists.
violins, which he stated were the best in the
world. These instruments he named St.
Peter and St. Paul.
The name of Giuseppe Tartini will ever
live as that of one of the greatest performers
on, and composers for, the violin. Born at
Pirano, in 1692, his career may be said to
have commenced with the eighteenth century.
He was not only one of the greatest violinists
of all time, and an eminent composer, but he
was a scientific writer on musical physics,
and was the first to discover the fact that,
in playing double stops, their accuracy can
be determined by the production of a third
sound. He also wrote a little work on the
execution and employment of the various
kinds of shakes, mordents, cadenzas, etc.,
according to the usage of the classical
Tartini' s father, who was an elected
Nobile of Parenzo, being a pious Church
benefactor, intended his son for the Church,
1650 to 7750. 45
and sent him to an ecclesiastical school at
Capo d'Istria, where he received his first
instruction in music. Finding himself very
much averse to an ecclesiastical career,
Tartini entered the University of Padua to
study law, but this also proved distasteful
to him. He was a youth of highly impul-
sive temperament, and became so much
enamoured of the art of fencing that he,
at one time, seriously contemplated adopting
it as a profession. This very impulsive
nature caused him to fall in love with a
niece of the Archbishop of Padua, to whom
he was secretly married before he was
twenty years of age.
The news of this marriage caused Tartini's
parents to withdraw their support from him,
and it so enraged the archbishop that the
bridegroom was obliged to fly from Padua.
After some wanderings he was received into
a monastery at Assisi, of which a relative
was an inmate. Here he resumed his mu-
46 Famous Violinists.
sical studies, but though he learned com-
position of Padre Boemo, the organist of
the monastery, he was his own teacher on
the violin. The influence of the quiet monas-
tic life caused a complete change in his
character, and he acquired the modesty of
manner and serenity of mind for which he
was noted later in life.
One day, during the service, a gust of
wind blew aside the curtain behind which
Tartini was playing, and a Paduan, who
remembered the archbishop's wrath and
recognised the object of it, carried the
news of his discovery to the worthy prelate.
Time had, however, mollified him, and instead
of still further persecuting the refugee, he
gave his consent to the union of the young
couple, and Tartini and his wife went to
Venice, where he intended to follow the
profession of a violinist.
Here he met and heard Francesco Maria
Veracini, who was some seven years his
1650 to 7750. 47
senior, and whose style of playing made
such a deep impression on him that he at
once withdrew to Ancona, to correct the
errors of his own technique, which, as he
was self-taught, were not a few.
After some years of study and retirement,
he reappeared at Padua, where he was
appointed solo violinist in the chapel of
San Antonio, the choir and orchestra of
which already enjoyed a high reputation.
It is said that the performance of Veracini
had an effect upon Tartini beyond that of
causing him to quit Venice. It made him
dream, and the dream as told by Tartini
himself to M. de Lalande is as follows :
"He dreamed one night (in 1713) that
he had made a compact with the devil, who
promised to be at his service on all occa-
sions ; and, during this vision, everything
succeeded according to his mind ; his wishes
were anticipated, and his desires always sur-
passed, by the assistance of his new servant.
48 Famous Violinists.
In short, he imagined that he presented the
devil with his violin, in order to discover
what kind of a musician he was, when, to
his great astonishment, he heard him play
a solo so singularly beautiful, which he exe-
cuted with such superior taste and precision,
that it surpassed all the music he had ever
heard or conceived in his life. So great was
his surprise, and so exquisite his delight
upon this occasion, that it deprived him of
the power of breathing. He awoke with the
violence of his sensations, and instantly
seized his fiddle in hopes of expressing what
he had just heard ; but in vain. He, how-
ever, directly composed a piece, which is
perhaps the best of all his works, and called
it the ' Devil's Sonata ; ' he knew it, how-
ever, to be so inferior to what his sleep had
produced, that he stated he would have
broken his instrument, and abandoned music
for ever, if he could have subsisted by
to ij$o. 49
This composition is said to have secured
for him the position in the chapel of San
Antonio, where he remained until 1/23, in
which year he was invited to play at the
coronation festivities of Charles VI. at
Prague. On this occasion he met Count
Kin sky, a rich and enthusiastic amateur,
who kept an excellent private orchestra.
Tartini was engaged as conductor and re-
mained in that position three years, then
returning to his old post at Padua, from
which nothing induced him to part, except
for brief intervals. At Padua Tartini carried
on the chief work of his life and established
the Paduan school of violin playing. His
ability as a teacher is proved by the large
number of excellent pupils he formed.
Nardini, Bini, Manfredi, Ferrari, Graun, and
Lahoussaye are among the most eminent,
and were attached to him by bonds of most
intimate friendship to his life's end.
Tartini's contemporaries all agree in credit-
50 Famous Violinists.
ing him with those qualities which make a
great player. He had a fine tone, unlimited
command of fingerboard and bow, enabling
him to overcome the greatest difficulties
with remarkable ease, perfect intonation in
double stops, and a most brilliant shake
and double-shake, which he executed equally
well with all fingers. The spirit of rivalry
had no place in his amiable and gentle dis-
position. Both as a player and composer
Tartini was the true successor of Corelli,
representing in both respects the next step
in the development of the art.
Tartini lived until the year 1770. He had,
as Doctor Burney says, "no other children
than his scholars, of whom his care was
constantly paternal." Nardini, his first and
favourite pupil, came from Leghorn to see
him in his sickness and attend him in his
last moments with true filial affection and
tenderness. He was buried in the Church
of St. Catharine, a solemn requiem being
1650 to 7750. 5 1
held in the chapel of San Antonio, and at a
later period his memory was honoured by a
statue which was erected in the Prato della
Valle, a public walk at Padua, where it may
be seen among the statues of the most
eminent men connected with that famous
Jean Marie Leclair, a pupil of Somis,
was a Frenchman, born at Lyons, and he
began life as a dancer at the Rouen The-
atre. He went to Turin as ballet master
and met Somis, who induced him to take
up the violin and apply himself to serious
study. On returning to Paris, he was ap-
pointed ripieno-violinist at the Opera, and
in 1731 became a member of the royal
band, but he, although undoubtedly su-
perior to any violinist in Paris at that
time, never seems to have made much of a
success, for he resigned his positions and
occupied himself exclusively with teaching
and composition, and it is on the merits of
5 2 Famous Violinists.
his works that he occupies a high place
among the great dassical masters of the
violin. Leclair was murdered late one night
close to the door of his own house, shortly
after his return from Amsterdam, to which
place he had gone solely for the purpose of
hearing Locatelli. No motive for the crime
was ever discovered, nor was the murderer
Gaetano Pugnani was a native of Turin,
and to him more than to any other master
is due the preservation of the pure, grand
style of Corelli, Tartini, and Vivaldi, for he
combined the prominent qualities of style
and technique of all three. He became
first violin to the Sardinian court in 1752,
but travelled extensively. He made long
stays in Paris and London, where he was
for a time leader of the opera band, and
produced an opera of his own, also publish-
ing a number of his compositions. In 1770
he was at Turin, where he remained to the
1650 to 7750. 53
end of his life as teacher, conductor, and
Felice Giardini, another pupil of Somis,
was born at Turin and became one of the
foremost violinists in Europe. In 1750 he
went to England where he made his first
appearance at a benefit concert for Cuzzoni,
the celebrated opera singer, then in the sere
and yellow leaf of her career. His perform-
ance was so brilliant that he became estab-
lished as the best violinist who had yet
appeared in England, and in 1754 he was
placed at the head of the opera orches-
tra, succeeding Festing. Soon afterwards
he joined with the singer Mingotti in the
management of opera, but the attempt was
not a financial success. Notwithstanding his
excellence as a performer and composer and
the fine appointment which he held, Giardini
died in abject poverty at Moscow, to which
place he had gone after finding himself
superseded in England by newcomers.
54 Famous Violinists.
Among the pupils of Tartini the most
eminent was Pietro Nardini, who was born
at Fibiano, a village of Tuscany, in 1722.
He became solo violinist at the court of
Stuttgart and remained there fifteen years.
In 1767 he went to Leghorn for a short
time, and then returned to Padua, where he
remained with his old master Tartini until
the latter' s death, when he was appointed
director of music to the court of the Duke of
Tuscany, in whose service he remained many
Of his playing, Leopold Mozart, himself
an eminent violinist, writes : " The beauty,
purity and equality of his tone, and the taste-
fulness of his cantabile playing, cannot be
surpassed ; but he does not execute great
difficulties." His compositions are marked
by vivacity, grace, and sweet sentimentality,
but he has neither the depth of feeling, the
grand pathos, nor the concentrated energy of
his master Tartini.
1650 to 1750. 55
Antonio Lolli, who was born at Bergamo
about 1730, appears to have been some-
what of a charlatan. He was self-taught,
and, though a performer of a good deal of
brilliancy, was but a poor musician. He was
restless, vain, and conceited, and addicted to
gambling. He is said to have played the
most difficult double-stops, octaves, tenths,
double-shakes in thirds and sixths, harmon-
ics, etc., with the greatest ease and cer-
tainty. At one time he appeared as a rival
of Nardini, with whom he is said to have
had a contest, and whom he is supposed to
have defeated. According to some accounts,
he managed to excite such universal admira-
tion in advance of the contest that Nardini
Lolli was so eccentric that he was con-
sidered by many people to be insane, and
Doctor Burney, in writing of him, says,
" I am convinced that in his lucid inter-
vals, he was in a serious style a very great,
56 Famous Violinists.
expressive, and admirable performer ; " but
Doctor Burney does not mention any lucid
Early in the eighteenth century Franz
Benda was born in Bohemia at the village of
Altbenatky, and Benda became the founder
of a German school of violin playing. In
his youth he was a chorister at Prague and
afterward in the Chapel Royal at Dresden.
At the same time he began to study the
violin, and soon joined a company of stroll-
ing musicians who attended fetes, fairs, etc.
At eighteen years of age Benda abandoned
this wandering life and returned to Prague,
going thence to Vienna, where he pursued
his study of the violin under Graun, a pupil
of Tartini. After two years he was ap-
pointed chapel master at Warsaw, and eventu-
ally he became a member of the Prince Royal
of Prussia's band, and then concert master
to the king.
Benda was a master of all the difficulties
1650 to 1750. 57
of violin playing, and the rapidity of his
execution and the mellow sweetness of his
highest notes were unequalled. He had
many pupils and wrote a number of works,
chiefly exercises and studies for the violin.
A violinist whose career had a great influ-
ence on musical life in England was Johann
Peter Salomon, a pupil of Benda, and it is
necessary to speak of him because his name
is so frequently mentioned in connection
with other artists during the latter half of
the eighteenth century.
Salomon was born at Bonn in the same
house in which Beethoven was born, and of
Salomon, after his death, Beethoven wrote :
" Salomon's death grieves me much, for he
was a noble man, and I remember him ever
since I was a child."
Salomon became an expert violinist at an
early age, and travelled a good deal in Eu-
rope before he settled in England, which was
in 1781, when he made his appearance at
58 Famoiis Violinists.
Covent Garden Theatre. He was criticised
thus : " He does not play in the most
graceful style, it must be confessed, but his
tone and execution are such as cannot fail
to secure him a number of admirers in the
He established a series of subscription
concerts at the Hanover Square rooms, and
produced symphonies of Mozart and Haydn.
In fact, he was connected with almost every
celebrity who appeared in England for many
years. He was instrumental in bringing
Haydn to England, and toward the end of
his career he was actively interested in the
foundation of the Philharmonic Society. He
was noted more as a quartet player than as
a soloist, and Haydn's last quartets were
composed especially to suit his style of play-
ing. He was a man of much cultivation and
moved in distinguished society. His death
was caused by a fall from his horse. He
was the possessor of a Stradivarius violin
1650 to 7750. 59
which was said to have belonged to Corelli
and to have had his name upon it. This he
bequeathed to Sir Patrick Blake of Bury St.
I75O TO l8OO.
GIOVANNI BAPTISTE VIOTTI has been
called the last great representative of the
classical Italian school, and it is also stated
that with Viotti began the modern school of
the violin. In whatever light he may be
regarded, he was undoubtedly one of the
greatest violinists of all. He retained in his
style of playing and composing the dignified
simplicity and noble pathos of the great mas-
ters of the Italian school, treating his instru-
ment above all as a singing voice, and keeping
strictly within its natural resources. Accord-
ing to Baillot, one of his most distinguished
pupils, his style was " perfection," a word
which covers a host of virtues.
1800. 6 1
Viotti was born in 1753 at Fontanetto, a
village in Piedmont. His first musical in-
struction was received from his father, who
is severally mentioned as a blacksmith and
as a horn player. His musical talent being
early noticeable, he was sent to Turin and
placed by Prince Pozzo de la Cisterna under
the tutelage of Pugnani, and was soon re-
ceived into the royal band. In 1780 he
travelled extensively, visiting Germany, Po-
land, and Russia, and meeting with great
success. The Empress Catharine endeav-
oured to induce him to remain at St. Peters-
burg, but without success, and he proceeded
to London, where he soon eclipsed all other
violinists. In 1782 he went to Paris and
made his debut at the celebrated Concert
Spirituels. He was at once acknowledged
as the greatest living violinist, but soon after
this he ceased altogether to play in public.
This decision seems to have been caused by
the fact that an inferior player once achieved
62 Famous Violinists.
a greater success than he. He was evidently
of a sensitive nature, and there is an anecdote
told of him which is amusing even if its
authenticity is open to question. Viotti was
commanded to play a concerto at the Court
of Louis XVI., at Versailles, and had pro-
ceeded through about half of his perform-
ance, when the attention of the audience
was diverted by the arrival of a distinguished
guest. Noise and confusion reigned where
silence should have been observed, and Viotti,
in a fit of indignation, removed the music
from the desk and left the platform.
In 1783 Viotti returned to Italy for a
short time, but the following year he was
back in Paris teaching, composing, and bene-
fiting the art of music in every way except
by public performance. He became the
artistic manager of the Italian Opera, and
brought together a brilliant number of singers.
In this business he came in contact with
Cherubini, the composer, with whom he was
tO J800. 63
on great terms of friendship. This enter-
prise was suddenly stopped by the revolution,
and Viotti was obliged to leave France,
having lost almost everything that he pos-
He went to London and renewed his
former successes, playing again in public at
Salomon's concerts, and in the drawing-rooms
of the aristocracy. But here his ill-luck
followed him, for London being full of French
refugees, and the officials being suspicious of
them all, he was warned to leave England, as
it was feared that he was connected with
some political conspiracy.
This misfortune occurred in 1798, and
Viotti retired to a small village called Schoen-
feld, not far from Hamburg, where he lived
in strict seclusion. During this time he
was by no means idle, for he composed some
of his finest works, notably the six duets for
violins, which he prefaced by these words :
" This book is the fruit of leisure afforded me
64 Famous Violinists.
by misfortune. Some of the pieces were
dictated by trouble, others by hope." It was
also during this period of retirement that he
perfected his pupil Pixis, who, with his father,
lived at Schoenfeld a whole summer for the
express purpose of receiving Viotti's instruc-
In 1 80 1 Viotti found himself at liberty to
visit England once more, but when he re-
turned he astonished the world by going into
the wine business, in which he succeeded in
getting rid of the remainder of his fortune.
As a man of business the strictest integ-
rity and honour regulated his transactions,
and his feelings were kind and benevolent,
whilst as a musician, he is said never to have
been surpassed in any of the highest qualities
of violin playing.
At the close of his career as a wine mer-
chant, he returned to Paris to resume his
regular profession, and was appointed director
of the Grand Opera, but he failed to rescue
//jo to 1800. 65
the opera from its state of decadence, and,
finding the duties too arduous for one of his
age and state of health, he retired on a small
pension. In 1822 he returned once more to
England, where he passed the remainder of
his life in quietude.
While travelling in Switzerland, and enjoy-
ing the beauties of the scenery, Viotti heard
for the first time the plaintive notes of the
Ranz des Vaches given forth by a mountain
horn, and this melody so impressed him that
he learned it and frequently played it on his
violin. The subject was referred to by him
with great enthusiasm in his letters to his
There are numerous anecdotes about Viotti
in reference to his ready repartee and to his
generous nature. One of the most interest-
ing is that concerning a tin violin. He had
been strolling one evening on the Champs
Elysees, in Paris, with a friend (Langle"), when
his attention was arrested by some harsh,
66 Famous Violinists.
discordant sounds, which, on investigation,
proved to be the tones of a tin riddle, played
by a blind and aged street musician. Viotti
offered the man twenty francs for the curious
instrument, which had been made by the old
man's nephew, who was a tinker. Viotti
took the instrument and played upon it, pro-
ducing some most remarkable effects. The
performance drew a small crowd, and Langl6,
with true instinct, took the old man's hat and,
passing it round, collected a respectable sum,
which was handed to the aged beggar.
When Viotti got out his purse to give the
twenty francs the old man thought better of
his bargain, for, said he, " I did not know the
violin was so good. I ought to have at least
double the amount for it."
Viotti, pleased with the implied compli-
ment, did not hesitate to give the forty francs,
and then walked off with his newly acquired
curiosity. The nephew, however, who
now arrived to take the old man home, on
to 1800. 67
hearing the story ran after Viotti, and offered
to supply him with as many as he would like
for six francs apiece.
Violin literature owes much to Viotti, for
his compositions are numerous and contain
beauties that have never been surpassed.
His advice was sought by many young musi-
cians, and among these was Rossini, who was
destined to become great. De Beriot also
sought out Viotti and played before him, but
the old violinist told him that he had already
acquired an original style which only re-
quired cultivating to lead to success, and that
he could do nothing for him.
Viotti was one of the first to use the
Tourte bow, and he studied its effects closely,
so that the sweep of his bow became his
great characteristic, and was alike the ad-
miration of his friends and the despair of
his rivals. He died in 1824, after about
two years of retirement.
Among Viotti's most prominent pupils
68 Famous Violinists.
were Roberrechts, Pixis, Alday le jeune,
Cartier, Rode, Mori, Durand, and Baillot,
also Mile. Gerbini and Madame Paravicini.
Roberrechts became the teacher of De B6-
riot, who in turn taught Vieuxtemps, Teresa
Milanollo, and Lauterbach. Baillot taught
Habeneck, who taught Alard, Leonard,
Prume, Cuvillon, and Mazas. From Alard
we have Sarasate, and from Leonard, Mar-
sick and Dengremont, while through Rode
we have Bohm, and from him a large
number of eminent violinists, including G.
Hellmesberger, Ernst, Dont, Singer, L.
Strauss, Joachim,' Rappoldi. Some of them
we shall refer to at length as great perform-
ers, others were celebrated more as teachers.
'Rodolphe Kreutzer, who was born at Ver-
sailles in 1766, is the third in order of de-
velopment of the four great representative
masters of the classical violin school of
Paris ; the others being Viotti, first, Rode,
second, and Baillot, fourth. With Baillot he
1750 to 1800. 69
compiled the famous " Methode de Violon "
for the use of the students at the Con-
servatoire. Kreutzer's first teacher was his
father, who was a musician in the king's
chapel, but he was soon placed under Anton
Stamitz, and at the age of thirteen he
played a concerto in public, with great suc-
cess. This is said by some writers to have
been his own composition, though by others
it was attributed to his teacher.
Kreutzer made a tour through the north
of Italy, Germany, and Holland, during which
he acquired the reputation of being one of
the first violinists in Europe. On his return
to Paris, he turned his attention to dramatic
music, and composed two grand operas,
which were performed before the court, and
secured for him the patronage of Marie
Antoinette. He also became first violin
at the Opera Comique, and professor at the
Conservatoire, where he formed some ex-
cellent pupils, among them being D'Artot,
70 Famous Violinists.
Rovelli, the teacher of Molique, Massart,
the teacher of Wieniawski and Teresina Tua,
and Lafont, who also became a pupil of De
Beriot. On Rode's departure for Russia,
Kreutzer succeeded him as solo violin at
the Opera, later becoming Chef d'Orchestre,
and after fourteen years' service in this
capacity he was decorated with the insignia
of the Legion of Honour, and became Gen-
eral Director of the Music at the Opera.
In 1826 he resigned his post and retired
to Geneva, where he died in 1831. Kreut-
zer was a prolific composer, and his com-
positions include forty dramatic works and
a great number of pieces for the violin.
In 1798, when Kreutzer was at Vienna
in the service of the French ambassador,
Bernadotte, he made the acquaintance of
Beethoven, and was afterwards honoured by
that great composer with the dedication to
him of the famous Sonata, Op. 47, which
was first played by Beethoven and the vio-
1 75 to fSoo. 71
linist Bridgetower, at the Augarten, in May,
1803, either the i/th or the 24th. This
is the sonata the name of which Count Leo
Tolstoi took for his famous book, though to
the vast majority of hearers it will always
remain a mystery how the classical har-
monies of the sonata could have aroused the
passions which form the raison d'etre of
Kreutzer was noted for his style of bow-
ing, his splendid tone, and the clearness of
With three such masters as Baillot, Rode,
and Kreutzer, besides Viotti, who was fre-
quently in Paris, the French school of violin
playing had now superseded the Italian.
Pierre Marie Francois de Sales Baillot,
who was associated with Rode and Kreut-
zer in the compilation of the celebrated
" Methode du Violon," was born at Passy,
near Paris, in 1771, and became one of the
most excellent violinists that France ever
72 Famous Violinists.
produced. His eminence in his profession
was not obtained without a long struggle
against great difficulties, for at the age of
twelve he lost his father, who had kept a
school, and became dependent upon friends
for his education. His musical talent was
remarkable at an early age, and he re-
ceived his first instruction from an Italian
named Polidori. At the age of nine he was
placed under a French teacher named Sainte-
Marie, whose training gave him the severe
state and methodical qualities by which his
playing was always distinguished.
His love for his instrument was greatly
augmented when, at the age of ten, he heard
Viotti play one of his concertos, and from
that day the great violinist became his
When his father died a year or two later,
a government official, M. de Boucheporn,
sent him, with his own children, to Rome,
where he was placed with Pollani, a pupil of
to 1800. 73
Nardini, under whom he made rapid progress,
and soon began to play in public. He was,
however, unable to follow directly in the
path of his profession, and for five years he
travelled with his benefactor, acting as pri-
vate secretary, and securing but little time
for his violin playing.
In 1791 he returned to Paris, and Viotti
secured a place for him in the opera orches-
tra, but on being offered a position in the
Ministere des Finances, he gave up his
operatic work, and for some years devoted
only his leisure to the study of the violin.
He now had to serve with the army for
twenty months, at the end of which time he
once more determined to take up music as
a profession, and soon appeared in public
with a concerto of Viotti. This perform-
ance established his reputation, and he was
offered a professorship of violin playing at
the Conservatoire, then recently opened.
His next appointment was to the private
74 Famous Violinists.
band of Napoleon, after which he travelled
for three years in Russia with the violoncello
player Lemare, earning great fame.
Returning to Paris, he established concerts
for chamber music, which proved successful,
and built up for him a reputation as an
unrivalled quartet player. He travelled
again, visiting Holland, Belgium, and Eng-
land, and then he became leader of the
opera band in Paris and of the royal band.
He made a final tour in Switzerland in 1833,
and died in 1842.
Baillot is considered to have been the
last distinguished representative of the great
classical school of violin playing in Paris.
In his " L' Art du Violon " he points out
the chief distinction between the old and
the modern style of violin playing to be the
absence of the dramatic element in the
former, and its predominance in the latter,
thus enabling the executive art to follow the
progress marked out by the composer, and
I 75 to i8- 75
to bring out the powerful contrasts and en-
larged ideas of the modern musical compo-
sitions. After the time of Baillot and his
contemporaries the style of Pagan ini be-
came predominant in Paris, but the influence
of the Paris school extended to Germany,
where Spohr must be considered the direct
descendant artistically of Viotti and Rode.
Perhaps the most illustrious pupil of
Viotti was Pierre Rode, who was born at
Bordeaux in 1774, and exhibited such excep-
tional talent that at the age of sixteen he
was one of the violins at the Theatre Fey-
deau in Paris. He had made his d6but in Paris
at the Theatre de Monsieur, when he played
Viotti's thirteenth concerto with complete
success. In 1794 he began to travel, and
made a tour through Holland and North
Germany, visiting England, driven there by
stress of weather, on his way home. He
appeared once in London, and then left for
Holland and Germany again. On his return
76 Famous Violinists.
to France he was appointed professor of the
violin at the Conservatoire, then newly estab-
lished. In 1799 he made a trip to Spain,
where he met Boccherini. The following
year he returned to Paris, where he was made
solo violinist to the First Consul, and it was
at this period that he gained his greatest
success, when he played with Kreutzer a
duo concertante of the latter's composition.
After this he went to Russia, where he was
enthusiastically received, and was appointed
one of the emperor's musicians. The life in
Russia, however, overtaxing his strength,
from that time his powers began to fail,
and he met with many disappointments. In
1814 he married, and, although he made an
unsuccessful attempt to renew his public
career, he may be said to have retired. He
died at Bordeaux in 1830.
Of Rode's playing in his best days we are
told that he displayed all the best qualities of
a grand, noble, pure, and thoroughly musical
T 75 O to f 8 o - 77
style. His intonation was perfect, his tone
large and pure, and boldness, vigour, deep
and tender feeling characterised his per-
formances. In fact he was no mere virtuoso
but a true artist. His musical nature shows
itself in his compositions, which are thor-
oughly suited to the nature of the violin, and
have a noble, dignified character and consid-
erable charm of melody, though they show
only moderate creative power. He had few
pupils, but his influence through his example
during his travels, and through his composi-
tions, was very great indeed.
Beethoven wrote for Rode, after hearing
him play in Vienna, the famous violin Ro-
mance in F, Op. 50, one of the highest pos-
sible testimonials to Rode's ability as a
violinist. It is known, however, that he
was obliged to seek assistance in scoring his
own compositions, and therefore lacked an
important part of a musical education.
The most celebrated pupil of Baillot was
78 Famous Violinists.
Francois Antoine Habeneck, the son of a
musician in a French regimental band.
During his early youth Habeneck was
taught by his father, and at the age of ten
played concertos in public. He visited many
places with his father's regiment, which was
finally stationed at Brest. At the age of
twenty he went to Paris and entered the
Conservatoire, where in 1804 ne was awarded
first prize for violin playing, and became a
The Empress Josephine, on hearing him
play, was so pleased that she granted him a
pension of twelve hundred francs. He be-
came one of the first violins at the Opera, but
his special forte was as leader of orchestras,
and he held that post at the Conservatoire,
on account of his efficiency, until 1815, when
the advent of the allied armies caused it to
Habeneck was instrumental in bringing
forward the great orchestral works of Bee-
175 to 1800. 79
thoven. He became director of the Grand
Ope"ra, and inspector - general of the Con-
Habeneck is said to have been greatly
addicted to taking snuff, and this habit led
to an amusing episode with Berlioz, which
the latter regarded in a very unfriendly light.
At a public performance of the Requiem of
Berlioz, the composer had arranged with
Habeneck to conduct the music, Berlioz
taking his seat close behind the conductor.
The work was commenced, and had been
proceeded with some little time, when Habe-
neck (presumably taking advantage of what
seemed to him a favourable moment) placed
his baton on the desk, took out his snuff-
box, and proceeded to take a pinch. Berlioz,
aware of the breakers ahead, rushed to the
helm and saved the wreck of his composition
by beating time with his arm. Habeneck,
when the danger was passed, said, "What
a cold perspiration I was in ! Without you
8o Famous Violinists.
we should assuredly have been lost." " Yes,"
said the composer, " I know it well," accom-
panying his words with an expression of
countenance betokening suspicion of Habe-
neck's honesty of purpose. The violinist
little dreamed that this gratification of his
weakness for snuff-taking would be regarded
in the pages of Berlioz's Memoirs as having
been indulged in from base motives.
Habeneck died in 1849. He published
only a few of his compositions.
One of the most eminent violinists of the
French school, who flourished during the
early part of the nineteenth century, was
Charles Philippe Lafont. Besides brilliant
technical capabilities he had a sympathetic
tone and a most elegant style, and these
qualities gave him a very high position in
the ranks of performers.
Lafont was born at Paris, December 7,
1781, and received his first lessons from his
mother, who afterward placed him under her
f 7 5 t
brother, Berthaume. Under his care he
made a successful concert tour through
Germany and other countries as early as
1792, after which he returned to Paris
and settled down to study under Rudolf
For a time his studies were interrupted
by an attempt to become a singer, and he
appeared at the Theatre Feydeau, which had
then been opened by Viotti. This diversion
being soon at an end, he returned to the vio-
lin, but on the outbreak of the revolution
in France he left the country and travelled
throughout Europe, being absent from Paris,
with the exception of a short visit in 1805,
During his travels he was made chamber
virtuoso to the Czar Alexander, and on his
return to France he became first violinist
of the royal chamber musicians of Louis
XVIII. , and musical accompanist to the
Duchesse de Berry.
82 Famous Violinists.
Lafont's career came to a sudden end by
the overturning of a carriage while on a
concert tour in the south of France in
He was one of the numerous violinists
who challenged Paganini to an artistic duel,
in which he got the worst of it, though his
admirers accounted for his defeat by the fact
that the contest took place at La Scala, in
Milan, where the sympathy of the audience
was in favour of the Italian virtuoso.
Lafont was a prolific composer, but few of
his works have survived. He was also the
owner of a magnificent Guarnerius violin,
which is now said to be the property of
As a composer Spohr probably influenced
the modern style of violin playing even more
than as a player, for he lifted the concerto to
the dignity of a work of art, whereas it had
formerly been simply a show piece, though
not always without merit. He set a great
to 1800. 83
example of purity of style and legitimate
treatment of the instrument, and is consid-
ered to have had a more beneficial effect
on violin playing than Paganini, who was born
in the same year, 1 784.
'Louis Spohr was the son of a physician,
who, two years after Louis was born at
Brunswick, took up his residence at Seesen,
where the childhood of the future virtuoso
was passed. Both father and mother were
musical, the former playing the flute, while
the latter was a pianist and singer. It is
said that young Spohr showed his talents
remarkably early, and was able to sing duets
with his mother when only four years of age.
At five he began to learn the violin and at
six he could take part in Kalkbrenner's trios.
He also began to compose music, and under
his father's methodical guidance acquired the
habit of finishing everything that he began
to write, without erasure or alteration. His
instruction in the art of composition was
84 Famous Violinists.
confined to the mere rudiments, and he
acquired the art chiefly by studying the
scores of the great composers.
Spohr's first public appearance was at a
school concert, and such was his success that
he was asked to repeat the performance at
a concert given by the duke's band. More
study ensued, and then, at the age of four-
teen, he undertook to make his first artistic
tcur, and set out for Hamburg, carrying with
him some letters of introduction.
It seems that the people of Hamburg did
not show much enthusiasm over the young
artist, for he was unable to arrange a hearing,
and, having exhausted his funds, he returned
to Brunswick in the time-honoured manner of
unsuccessful artists, on foot. Spohr's ex-
perience seems to have produced upon him
the same effect that many aspiring young
players have since felt, viz., that he had
better go on with his studies. He accord-
ingly presented a petition to the Duke of
7 75 to I Soo. 85
Brunswick asking for means to carry out his
desires. The duke was pleased with him,
and not only gave him a place in his band,
but also agreed to pay his expenses while he
studied with one of the most eminent teach-
ers of the day.
Neither Viotti nor Ferdinand Eck could
receive him as a pupil, but by the advice of
the latter, young Spohr was placed under his
brother, Franz Eck, who was then travelling
in Germany. With Franz Eck an agreement
was made by the duke, under which Spohr
should travel with him, and study en route.
During the continuance of this agreement
Spohr practised sometimes ten hours a day,
and being so constantly with his teacher he
made great progress. On his return to
Brunswick he was appointed first violinist
in the duke's band, and the following year he
once more undertook a concert tour on his
own account, travelling through Saxony and
Prussia, and meeting with great enthusiasm.
86 Famous Violinists.
While in Russia he met dementi and
Field, and he was presented with a most
valuable Guarnerius violin by an enthusiast.
This instrument he lost while on the way to
France, where he intended to make a concert
tour. Just before entering Gottingen the
portmanteau which contained the violin was
taken from the coach, and owing to the
delays of officialism it was never recovered.
The thieves had been seen with the booty in
their possession, but in order to arrest them
it was necessary to travel some nine miles
for the necessary warrant and officer. In
the meantime they had disappeared, as
thieves occasionally do.
In 1805 Spohr was appointed concert-
master in the band of the Duke of Gotha,
and while holding this position he met,
wooed, and wedded the Fraulein Dorothea
Scheidler, an excellent harp player, who for
many years afterwards appeared with him in
all his concerts, and for whom he wrote
to fSoo- 87
many solo pieces as well as some sonatas for
violin and harp. In view of this important
step the following description of Spohr's
personal appearance may be interesting :
"The front of Jove himself is expressed in
the expansive forehead, massive, high, and
broad ; the speaking eyes that glance stead-
fastly and clearly under the finely pencilled
arches of the eyebrows, which add a new
grace to their lustrous fire ; the long, straight
nose with sharply curved nostrils, imperial
with the pride of sensibility and spiritual
power; the firm, handsome mouth, and the
powerful chin, with its strong outlines melted
into the utter grace of oval curves. In its
calmness and repose, in its subdued strength
and pervading serenity, it is the picture of
the man's life in little." Spohr seems to
have been somewhat attractive.
Another authority tells us, in less flowery
language, that he was of herculean frame and
very strong constitution.
88 Famous Violinists.
In 1807 he made a tour, with his wife,
through Germany, and while at Munich the
king showed his gallantry to Madame Spohr
in a most gracious manner. The usher had
neglected to place a chair on the platform
for her, and the king handed up his own
gilded throne chair, in spite of her protesta-
tions. The anecdote would be more satis-
factory if it stated what the king sat upon
during the concert, but that is left to the
imagination. The king had some bad habits,
and, we are told, was very fond of playing
cards during the concerts. Spohr was not
accustomed to having his audiences indulge
in cards, and so informed the chamberlain,
absolutely declining to play unless the cards
were put aside for the time being. It was
a delicate task that fell to the lot of the
chamberlain, but he carried it through with
the greatest diplomacy, each side making
a slight concession : the king on his part
promising to abstain from card playing during
to I8OO. 89
Spohr's performance on condition that the
violinist's two pieces should immediately
follow each other on the program, and Spohr
withdrawing his embargo from the whole
concert on condition that the king would
abstain from his favourite amusement during
his particular performance. The king, how-
ever, seems to have put in the last blow, for
on the conclusion of the violin solos he gave
no signal for applause, and as it would be
a breach of court manners for any one to
applaud without his Majesty's consent, the
artist was obliged to make his bow and retire
amidst deathly silence.
In 1808 Spohr wrote his first opera, but
although it was accepted for representation,
it was never performed in public.
During this year Napoleon held his cele-
brated congress of princes at Erfurt. Spohr
was consumed by a burning desire to behold
Napoleon and the surrounding princes, and
went to Erfurt. Here he found that a
90 Famous Violinists.
French theatrical troupe was performing
every evening before the august assembly,
but only the privileged few could by any
possibility gain admittance to the theatre.
Spohr's ingenuity was equal to the emer-
gency, and making friends with the second
horn player, he induced that artist to allow
him to substitute for him one night. Spohr
had never in his life attempted to play the
horn, but it was now necessary for him to
acquire the art before night, and he set to
work with such vim that by the time of the
performance his lips were swollen and black,
but he was able to produce the requisite
tones. The orchestra having received strict
injunctions to sit with their backs to the
brilliant assembly, probably to protect their
eyesight from its dazzling effects, Spohr
fitted himself out with a small mirror, and
placing this upon his music-rack, he was
able to enjoy for a couple of hours the vision
of the great Napoleon, who, with his most
to fSoo. 91
distinguished guests, occupied the front row
of the stalls.
Spohr remained at Gotha until 1813, when
he was offered and accepted the post of the
leadership at the Theatre an der Wien at
Vienna, and while here he composed his
opera of " Faust," which, however, was not
produced at that time. He also wrote a
cantata in celebration of the battle of Leip-
zig, which he did not succeed in producing,
and not feeling satisfied with his position,
and having various disagreements with the
management, the engagement was cancelled
by mutual consent. During his stay in
Vienna Spohr was frequently in contact
with Beethoven, and though he admired that
great master he criticised some of his com-
positions very severely, and is said to have
remarked that " Beethoven was wanting in
aesthetic culture and sense of beauty," a
remark difficult to understand in these later
days. It is the more incomprehensible from
92 Famous Violinists.
the fact that Spohr in after years was the
very first musician of eminence to interest
himself in Wagner's talent, for he brought
out at Cassel " Der Fliegende Hollander,"
and continued with " Tannhauser," notwith-
standing the opposition of the court. He
considered Wagner to be by far the greatest
of all dramatic composers living at that time.
In 1815 he made a concert tour in France
and Italy, during which he met Rossini and
Paganini, playing at Venice a sinfonia concer-
tante of his own composition, with the latter.
On his return to Germany in 1817 Spohr
was appointed conductor of the Opera at
Frankfort - on - the - Main, where his opera
" Faust " was now produced, also " Zemire
and Azor." Owing to difficulties with man-
agers again he left Frankfort after a stay of
only two years, and his next venture was
a visit to England, where he appeared at
the concerts of the Philharmonic Society in
London. His success was brilliant, for his
T 75 to fS 00 - 93
clear style and high artistic capacity, added
to his reputation as a composer, carried him
into popularity, and the artistic world vied
with the public in doing honour to him. At
his farewell concert, his wife made her last
appearance as a harp player, for on account
of ill-health she was obliged to give it up,
and thereafter she played only the piano-
On his way home from England Spohr
visited Paris for the first time, and made the
personal acquaintance of Kreutzer, Viotti,
Habeneck, Cherubini, and other eminent
musicians, who received him with the great-
est cordiality. But the public did not seem
to appreciate his merits, for his quiet, unpre-
tentious style was not quite in keeping with
the taste of the French.
On his return to Germany Spohr settled
in Dresden, and remained there until 1822,
when he became Hofkapellmeister to the
Elector of Hesse-Cassel, and he remained in
94 Famous Violinists.
Cassel for the rest of his life. This position
he obtained on the advice of Weber.
In 1831 he completed his great "Violin
School," which has ever since its publication
been considered a standard work. The fol-
lowing year the political disturbances inter-
fered with the opera performances at Cassel,
and caused him much annoyance. In 1834
he lost his wife, but his work of composition
proceeded with vigour.
In 1839 he again visited England, where
his music had become very popular, and
during the remainder of his career he re-
peated his visit several times, many of his
works being produced by the various socie-
His life at Cassel was not free from cares
and friction, and he was subjected to many
indignities and annoyances by the elector.
Perhaps his sympathy with the revolutionists
of 1848 was the chief cause of these petty
persecutions. When Spohr married his
*75 to 1800. 95
second wife, Marianne Pfeiffer, the elector
objected, and only gave his reluctant consent
when Spohr agreed to waive the right of his
wife to a pension. All his proposals were
met with opposition. " Tannhauser " was
produced and well received, but a repetition
of the performance was not allowed, and
" Lohengrin " was ordered to be withdrawn
from rehearsal, for Wagner was one of the
revolutionists and was obliged to live in
America is indebted to this revolution of
1848 for some excellent musicians, for the
Germania Orchestra, an organisation of young
revolutionists, sought these shores, and after
a prosperous career, begun under great trials
and discouragements, the various members
settled in different cities and became identi-
fied with the musical life of the nation.
In 1851 the elector refused to sign the
permit for Spohr' s two months' leave of
absence, to which he was entitled under his
g6 Famous Violinists.
contract, and when the musician departed
without the permit, a portion of his salary
was deducted. In 1857 he was pensioned
off, much against his own wish, and in the
winter of the same year he had the misfor-
tune to break his arm, an accident which put
an end to his violin playing. Nevertheless
he conducted his opera " Jessonda " at the
fiftieth anniversary of the Prague Conserva-
torium in the following year, with all his old-
time energy. In 1859 he died at Cassel.
Through all his long career Spohr had
lived up to the ideal he had conceived in his
youth. He was a man of strong individu-
ality, and invariably maintained the dignity
of his art with unflinching independence.
Even the mistakes that he made, as for
instance his criticism of Beethoven, bore the
strongest testimony to his manly straight-
forwardness and sincerity in word and deed.
He was a most prolific composer, leaving
over two hundred works in all. His violin
to 1800. 97
concertos stand foremost among his works,
and are distinguished as much by noble and
elevated ideas as by masterly thematic treat-
ment, yet there is a certain monotony of
treatment in all, and his style and manner
are entirely his own.
As an executant Spohr stands among the
greatest of all time. In slow movements he
played with a breadth and beauty of tone,
and a delicacy and refinement of expression
almost unequalled. His hands were of ex-
ceptional size and strength, and enabled him
to execute the most difficult double stops and
stretches with the greatest facility. Even in
quick passages he preserved a broad, full
tone, and his staccato was brilliant and effect-
ive. He disliked the use of the " spring-
ing bow," which came with the modern style
Spohr had a great many pupils, of whom
the best known were Ries, Ferd. David,
Blagrove, Bargheer, Hompel, and Henry
98 Famous Violinists.
Holmes. He was also considered one of
the best conductors of his time, and intro-
duced into England the custom of conducting
with a baton.
Amongst the amusing episodes in the life
of Spohr was one which took place in Lori-
don, when a servant brought him a letter
desiring M. Spohr to " be present at four
o'clock to-morrow evening at the closet
of the undersigned." Spohr had not the
faintest idea as to the identity of "the
undersigned," nor the least inkling of that
gentleman's design. He therefore replied
that he had an engagement at that time.
To this note he received another polite epistle
asking him to be good enough to honour
the " undersigned " with an interview, and
to choose his own time. He therefore made
an appointment, which he kept punctually,
and on arriving at the house to which he was
directed, he found an old gentleman, who
was very genial, but who could speak neither
French nor German. As Spohr spoke no
English the communication between them
was of necessity carried on by pantomine.
The old gentleman led the way into a room,
the walls of which were literally covered with
violins, from which Spohr gathered the idea
that he was to pick out that which he consid-
ered the best. After trying them all he had
to decide between the merits of half a dozen,
and, when he finally gave his opinion, the
gentleman seemed delighted, and offered him
a five pound note to compensate him for his
trouble. This the violinist declined to accept,
for he had found as much enjoyment as his
host, and considered it a privilege to be able
to examine such a fine collection of beautiful
instruments. The gentleman found a way
of satisfying his ideas of compensation by
buying tickets to the value of ten pounds, for
one of Spohr's concerts.
Among the most talented violinists of the
early part of the nineteenth century was
TOO Famous Violinists,
Karl Joseph Lipinski, the son of a Polish
violin player whose gifts were uncultivated.
He was born in Poland, in 1790, at a small
town named Radzyn. After learning, with
the aid of his father, to play the violin, he
took up the 'cello, and taught himself to play
that instrument, and in later days he attrib-
uted his full tone on the violin to the power
which his 'cello practice gave to his bow
Lipinski seems to have been an energetic
and original man. He was in the habit of
appearing at concerts both as violinist and
'cellist. He was unable to play the piano,
so when he was conductor of the opera at
Lemberg he directed with the violin, and
frequently had to play two parts, which gave
him great command over his double stops.
When the fame of Paganini reached him he
set forth to Italy, that he might profit by
hearing the great virtuoso, and when the
opportunity came at Piacenza, he distin-
guished himself by being the only person
in the audience to applaud the first adagio.
After the concert he was introduced to
Paganini, and he did not fail to improve the
acquaintance, frequently visiting Paganini and
playing with him, sometimes even in his
Lipinski declined the honour of going on
a concert tour with Paganini, as he wished
to return to his home. On stopping at
Trieste he heard of an old man, over ninety
years of age, who had once been a pupil of
Tartini, and sought him out in order to " get
some points " on Tartini's style. The old
man, Doctor Mazzurana, declared himself
too old to play the violin, but suggested that
if Lipinski would play a Tartini sonata he
would tell him if his style reminded him of
the great master. It did not, but Doctor
Mazzurana brought out of a cupboard a
volume of Tartini's sonatas having letter-
press under the music, and this Lipinski was
IO2 Famous Violinists.
ordered to read in a loud tone and with all
possible expression. Then he had to play
the sonata, and after numerous attempts and
corrections, the old man began to applaud
his efforts. Lipinski ever afterwards profited
by these lessons.
Later on he met Paganini again at War-
saw, where they were rivals, for the time
being, and different factions waxed warm
over their respective merits. Paganini him-
self, who is said to have been asked whom
he considered to be the greatest violinist,
replied, with conscious modesty, "The second
greatest is certainly Lipinski."
Lipinski travelled throughout Europe,
meeting with great success, until in 1839
he was appointed concert-meister at the
Royal Opera in Dresden, where he remained
for many years. He also organised a string
quartet, and was considered a most excellent
performer of chamber-music. He wrote a
large quantity of music for the violin, but
r 75 to I ^- IO 3
little of it was of a lasting quality. In 1861
he was pensioned, and retired to Urlow, near
Lemberg, where he had some property, and
there he died in December of the same
THE name Paganini stands for the quintes-
sence of eccentric genius, one of the most
remarkable types of mankind on record.
Paganini was able to excite wonder and
admiration by his marvellous technical skill,
or to sway the emotions of his hearers by his
musical genius, while his peculiar habits,
eccentric doings, and weird aspect caused
the superstitious to attribute his talent to
the power of his Satanic Majesty. Yet
Paganini was not only mortal, but in many
respects a weak mortal, although the most
extraordinary and the most renowned violin-
ist of the nineteenth century.
Nicolo Paganini was the son of a commer-
cial broker, Antonio Paganini, and was born
at Genoa, February 18, 1784. He was a
child of nervous and delicate constitution,
and the harsh treatment accorded to him
by his father tended to accentuate and de-
velop the peculiarities of his character. He
was a good violinist at the age of six, and
before he was eight years of age he had out-
grown, not only his father's instruction, but
also that of one Servetto, a musician at the
theatre, and that of Costa, the director of
music and principal violinist to the churches
of Genoa. He had also written a sonata for
violin, which was afterwards lost. At the age
of nine he appeared in his first concert, given
by Marchesi and Albertinatti in a large the-
atre at Genoa. At the age of twelve he was
taken to Rolla, the celebrated violinist and
composer at Parma, upon whom he made a
great impression. When Paganini arrived
with his father at Rolla's house they found
106 Famous Violinists.
him ill in bed, and not at all disposed to
receive them. Whilst awaiting him, young
Paganini found on the table a copy of Rolla's
last concerto, and a violin. Taking up the
violin, he played the piece off at first
sight. This brought Rolla out of bed, for
he would not believe, without seeing, that
such a feat could be accomplished by so
young a boy. Rolla said that he could teach
him nothing, and advised him to go to Paer,
but Paer was then in Germany, and the boy
went to Ghiretti.
Although Paganini denied ever having
taken lessons with Rolla, he nevertheless
had frequent discussions with him concern-
ing the new effects which he was continually
attempting, and which did not always meet
with the unqualified approval of the older
The music which he wrote for his instru-
ment contained so many difficulties that he
had to practise unremittingly to overcome
them, often working ten or twelve hours a
day and being overwhelmed with exhaus-
In 1797 Paganini made his first tour, with
his father, through the chief towns of Lom-
bardy, and now he determined to release
himself, on the first opportunity, from the
bondage in which he was held by his father.
This opportunity presented itself when the
fete of St. Martin was celebrated at Lucca,
and after much opposition he at last obtained
the consent of his father to attend the cele-
bration. Meeting with much success, he went
on to Pisa, and then to other places, in all of
which he was well received. Being now free
from the restraint of his home he fell into
bad company, and took to gambling and other
vices, the most natural result of his -father's
harsh training showing itself in lack of moral
For a time his careless life had its allure-
ments, but the young virtuoso was frequently
io8 Famous Violinists.
reduced to great straits, and on one occasion,
if not more, pawned his violin. This hap-
pened at Leghorn, where he was to play at a
concert, and it was only through the kindness
of a French merchant, M. Livron, who lent
him a beautiful Guarnieri, that he was able
to appear. When the concert was over, and
Paganini brought back the instrument, its
owner was so delighted with what he had
heard that he refused to receive it. " Never
will I profane strings which your ringers have
touched," he said, "the instrument is now
yours." And Paganini used that violin after-
wards in all his concerts.
This violin was, some time later, the means
by which he was cured of gambling, for hav-
ing been reduced to extreme poverty, he was
tempted to sell it. The price offered was a
large one. At this juncture he won one
hundred and sixty francs, which saved the
violin, but the mental agony he endured
through the affair convinced him that a
gamester is an object of contempt to all well
Paganini won another violin by his ability
to read music at sight. Pasini, an eminent
painter and an amateur violinist, refused to
believe the wonderful faculty for playing at
sight, which had been imputed to Paganini,
and in order to test it brought him a manu-
script concerto containing some difficulties
considered as insurmountable. "This in-
strument shall be yours," said Pasini, plac-
ing in his hands an excellent Stradivari, " if
you can play, in a masterly manner, this
concerto, at first sight." Paganini accepted
the challenge, threw Pasini into ecstasies,
and became the owner of the instru-
The severe course of dissipation in which
Paganini indulged during these days of his
youth ruined his health, and caused him fre-
quently to disappear from the public gaze for
long periods, throughout his career. With
no Famous Violinists.
the fair sex he had more than one romantic
episode. At one time a lady of high rank
fell in love with him and led him captive to
her castle in Tuscany. Here the lovers
solaced themselves with duets on the guitar,
and the violinist attained a proficiency, on
that instrument, equal to the expression of
the tenderest passion. This adventure brought
retribution in after days, and in a most unex-
pected manner, for as his genius began to
excite the wonder of the world, sundry mali-
cious stories concerning him were invented
and circulated. One of these stories was to
the effect that he had been imprisoned for
stabbing one of his friends, another rumour
said that he strangled his wife, and that dur-
ing his imprisonment he had been allowed only
the solace of playing his violin with but one
string. This story was told in order to account
for his wonderful one-stringed performances,
and it was absolutely untrue, but the time
allotted by rumour to his supposed imprison-
Paganini. 1 1 1
ment coincided with the period which was
really occupied with this romance.
At the end of three years he resumed
his travels and his violin playing, returning
to Genoa in 1804, where he set to work on
some compositions. At this time he be-
came interested in a little girl, Catarina
Calcagno, to whom he gave lessons on the
violin. She was then about seven years of
age, and a few years later she became well
known as a concert violinist.
Paganini did not remain long in Genoa, for
the following year found him wandering
again, and another love affair in Lucca led
to the composition of a piece to be played on
two strings, the first and the fourth : the first
to express the sentiments of a young girl, and
the fourth the passionate language of her
lover. The performance of this extremely
expressive composition was rewarded by the
most languishing glances from his lady-love
in the audience, but the most important
112 Famous Violinists,
result was that the Princess Elise Bacchiochi,
sister of Napoleon, declared to him that he
had performed impossibilities. "Would not
a single string suffice for your talent ? " she
asked. Paganini was delighted, and shortly
afterward composed his military sonata en-
titled " Napoleon," which is performed on
the G string only.
At Ferrara he once nearly lost his life
through unwittingly trampling upon the sus-
ceptibilities of the people, in the following
manner. It appears that the peasantry in
the suburbs of Ferrara bore ill-will toward
the citizens of that town and called them
"asses." This little pleasantry was mani-
fested by the suburbanites in " hee-hawing "
at the citizens when fitting opportunity pre-
sented itself. Now it happened that Paga-
nini played at a concert, and some of the
audience expressed dissatisfaction with the
singer, Madame Pallerini, and hissed her.
Paganini decided to have revenge, and when
about to commence his last solo, he amused
the public by giving an imitation of the notes
and cries of various animals. The chirping
of various birds, the crowing of the chanti-
cleer, the mewing of cats, the barking of
dogs were all imitated and the audience was
delighted. Now was the time to punish the
reprobates who hissed. Paganini advanced
to the footlights exclaiming, "This for the
men who hissed," and gave a vivid imitation
of the braying of an ass. Instead of exciting
laughter and thus causing the confusion of
the enemy as he expected, the whole audi-
ence rose as one man, scaled the orchestra
and footlights, and swore they would have
his blood. Paganini sought safety in flight.
He was eventually enlightened as to the
mistake he had made.
Once, when he was at Naples, Paganini
was taken ill, and in his desire to secure
lodgings where the conditions would be fa-
vourable for his recovery, he made a mistake
H4 Famous Violinists.
and soon became worse. It was said that
he was consumptive, and consumption being
considered a contagious disease, his landlord
put him out in the street, with all his posses-
sions. Here he was found by Ciandelli, the
violoncellist, who, after giving the landlord a
practical and emphatic expression of his opin-
ion by means of a stick, conveyed his friend
Paganini to a comfortable lodging, where
he was carefully attended until restored to
In 1817 Paganini was urged by Count
Metternich and by Count de Kannitz, the
Austrian ambassador to Italy, to visit Vienna,
but several times he was prevented from
carrying out his plans by illness, and it was
not until 1828 that he reached Vienna and
gave his first concert. His success was pro-
digious. " He stood before us like a miracu-
lous apparition in the domain of art," wrote
one of the critics. The public seemed to
be intoxicated. Hats, dresses, shoes, every-
thing bore his name. His portrait was to
be found everywhere, he was decorated and
presented with medals and honours.
He continued his tour through Germany,
being received everywhere with the utmost
enthusiasm, and he visited England, after a
sojourn in Paris, in 1831.
When he reached home after an absence
of six years, he was the possessor of a con-
siderable fortune, part of which he lost by
injudicious investments. Some friends in-
duced him to join them in the establishment
of a casino in a fashionable locality in Paris.
It was called the Casino Paganini, and was
intended to be a gambling-house. The au-
thorities, however, refused to grant a license,
and it was found impossible to support it by
concerts only. After some vicissitudes a law-
suit was established against Paganini, who
was condemned to pay fifty thousand francs,
and to be imprisoned until the amount was
paid, but this decision was not reached until
n6 Famous Violinists.
Paganini was in a dying condition, and he
went, by the advice of his physicians, to
Marseilles, where he remained but a short
time. Finding that his health did not im-
prove, he decided to pass the winter at
Nice, but the progress of his ailment was
not checked, and on May 27, 1 840, he expired.
By his will, made three years previously,
he left an immense fortune and the title of
baron, which had been conferred on him in
Germany, to his son Achille, the fruit of a
liaison with the singer Antonia Bianchi of
Como, whose birth had been legitimised
by deeds of law. His fortune amounted to
about four hundred thousand dollars, besides
which he had a valuable collection of musical
instruments. His large Guarnieri violin he
bequeathed to the town of Genoa, that no
artist might possess it after him.
During his last illness Paganini, not real-
ising that death was so near, devoted himself
to music and to arranging for another con-
cert tour. During his lifetime he had never
paid much attention to religion and there
were some doubts as to his belief. Although
he expressed his adherence to the Roman
Church, yet he dallied with its formalities,
and when the priest visited him three days
before his death to administer the final con-
solations of religion, the dying man put him
off on the ground that he was not yet ready,
and would send for him when the time came.
Death prevented this, and burial in conse-
crated ground was therefore denied him. An
appeal was made to the spiritual tribunal and
in the meantime the body was embalmed
and kept in a hall in the palace of the
Conte di Cessole, whose guest he was during
his last illness.
People now began to come from all parts
of Italy to pay honour to the dead artist, and
this so angered the bishop and priests that an
order was obtained for the removal of the
body. Under military escort the remains of
n8 Famous Violinists.
the great violinist were taken to Villafranca
and placed in a small room, which was then
sealed up. And now Paganini became a ter-
ror to the ignorant peasants and fishermen,
who crossed themselves as they hurried past
the spot where the excommunicated remains
lay. It was said that in the dead of night
the spectre of Paganini appeared and played
the violin outside his resting-place.
In the meantime every effort was being
made to secure Christian burial. The spirit-
ual tribunal decided that Paganini had died a
good Catholic. The bishop refused to accept
the decision, and an appeal to the archbishop
was unavailing. Eventually the case was
brought before the Pope himself by the
friends of the dead man, and the Pope over-
ruled the decision of the archbishop and
ordained that Christian burial should be
accorded to the artist. On the 2ist of
August, 1843, the Conte di Cessole took
away the coffin from Villafranca, and interred
it in the churchyard near Paganini's old
residence at Villa Gavona, near Parma.
Thus even after death he was the victim of
superstition, as he had been during his life-
Paganini resolved not to publish his com-
positions until after he had ceased to travel,
for he was aware that his performances would
lose much of their interest if his works were
available to everybody. He seldom carried
with him the solo parts, but only the
orchestral scores of the pieces that he played.
His studies were pronounced impossible by
some of the best violinists of the day, so
great were the difficulties which they con-
tained, and in his mastery of these difficulties,
which he himself created, may be found the
true secret of his success. People accounted
for it in many ways, one man declaring that
he saw the devil standing at his elbow, and
others stating that he was a child of the
devil, and that he was bewitched.
I2O Famous Violinists.
His compositions are remarkable for
novelty in ideas, elegance of form, richness
of harmony, and variety in the effects of
instrumentation. Few compositions ever at-
tained such fame as the " Streghe," of which
the theme was taken from the music of
Siissmayer to the ballet of " II Noce di Bene-
While it may be readily admitted that
many of the effects with which Paganini
dazzled the multitude were tainted with char-
latanism, yet the fact remains that no one
ever equalled him in surmounting difficulties,
and it is doubtful if, among all the excellent
violinists of the present day, any of them
compares with that remarkable man.
Some of his studies have been adapted to
the pianoforte by Schumann and by Liszt,
and of the collection arranged by Liszt,
consisting of five numbers from the Caprices,
Schumann says : " It must be highly interest-
ing to find the compositions of the greatest
violin virtuoso of this century in regard to
bold bravura Paganini illustrated by the
boldest of modern pianoforte virtuosi
Liszt." This collection is probably the
most difficult ever written for the piano-
forte, as its original is the most difficult work
that exists for the violin. Paganini knew
this well, and expressed it in his short
dedication, " Agli Artisti," that is to say,
" I am only accessible to artists."
It is doubtful whether any violinist ever
lived concerning whom more fantastic stories
were told. His gruesome aspect, his frequent
disappearances from public life, his peculiar
habits, all tended to make him an object of
interest, and interest is sometimes shown
in eagerness to hear anything at all about
He enjoyed conversation when he was in
the company of a small circle of friends. He
was cheerful at evening parties, if music
was not mentioned. He had an excellent
122 Famotis Violinists.
memory for features and names of persons
whom he had met, but it is said that he never
remembered the names of towns at which he
had given concerts. He was very severe
with orchestras, and any mistakes made by
them would bring forth a tempest of rage,
though satisfactory work would be rewarded
with expressions of approval. When he
came to a pause for the introduction of a
cadenza, at rehearsal, the musicians would
frequently rise, eager to watch his perform-
ance, but Paganini would merely play a few
notes, and then stopping suddenly would smile
and say, " Et cetera, messieurs ! " and reserve
his strength for the public performance.
His peculiarities were shown strongly in
his arrangements for personal comfort while
travelling, for his constant suffering pre-
cluded the enjoyment of the beauties of
nature. He was always cold, and even in
summer kept a large cloak wrapped around
him, and the windows of the carriage care-
fully closed. Before starting he took merely
a basin of soup or a cup of chocolate, and
though he frequently remained nearly the
whole day without further refreshment, he
slept a great deal and thus escaped some
of the pain which the jolting of the carriage
caused him. His luggage consisted of a
small dilapidated trunk, which contained
his violin, his jewels, his money, and a few
fine linen articles. Besides this he had only
a hat-case and a carpet-bag, and frequently
a napkin would contain his entire wardrobe.
In a small red pocketbook he kept his ac-
counts and his papers, which represented an
immense value, and nobody but himself could
decipher the hieroglyphics which indicated
his expenses and receipts. He cared not
whether his apartment, at the inns on the
road, was elegantly furnished or a mere
garret, but he always kept the windows open
in order to get an " air-bath," contrary to his
custom while in a carriage.
124 Famous Violinists.
While the secret of Paganini's marvellous
technique was incessant hard work, to which
he was urged not less by his own ambition
than by his father's cruelty, yet in later
years he seldom practised, and his playing
was chiefly confined to his concerts and
rehearsals. There are several good stories
dealing with this peculiarity. One man is
said to have followed him around for months,
taking the adjoining room at hotels, in order
to find the secret of his success by hearing
him practise. Once, when looking through
the keyhole, he saw the virtuoso go to the
violin case, take out the instrument, and
after seeing that it was in tune, put it
Sir Charles Hall6 tells about seeing Pa-
ganini in Paris, where he used to spend an
hour every day sitting in a publisher's shop,
"a striking, awe-inspiring, ghostlike figure."
Halle 1 was introduced to him, but conversa-
tion was difficult, for Paganini sat there taci-
turn, rigid, hardly ever moving a muscle of
his face. He made the young pianist play
for him frequently, indicating his desire by
pointing at the piano with his long, bony
hand, without speaking. Halle was dying
to hear the great violinist play, and one day,
after they had enjoyed a long silence, Paga-
nini rose and went to his violin case. He
took the violin out, and began to tune it
carefully with his fingers, without using the
bow. Halle's agitation was becoming intol-
erable, for he thought that the moment had
arrived at which his desire was to be grati-
fied. But when Paganini had satisfied him-
self that his violin was all right, he carefully
put it back in the case and shut it up.
Paganini was notoriously parsimonious,
and it was related that one evening in
Florence he left his hotel rather late, jumped
into a coach and ordered the man to drive
him to the theatre. The distance was short,
but he felt that it would not do to keep the
126 Famous Violinists.
public waiting. He was to play the prayer
from " Moses " on one string. On arrival
at the theatre he asked the driver, " How
much ? " " For you," replied the Jehu,
"ten francs." "What? Ten francs? You
joke," replied the virtuoso. " It is only the
price of a ticket to your concert," was the
excuse. Paganini hesitated a moment, and
then handed to the man what he considered
to be a fair remuneration, saying, " I will pay
you ten francs when you drive me on one
At one time Paganini astonished the world
by making to Hector Berlioz the magnificent
present of twenty thousand francs. Berlioz
was at that time almost in a state of despair.
His compositions were not appreciated, and
he was at a loss to know which way to turn.
He made a final effort and gave a last con-
cert, at which Paganini was present and
Jules Janin, the celebrated critic and
writer, went into ecstasies over the affair.
Paganini, he said, who had been attacked
for hard-heartedness and avarice, was pres-
ent at the concert, and at the end prostrated
himself before Berlioz, and shed tears. Hope
returned and Berlioz went home in triumph,
for he had satisfied one great musical critic.
The next day he received a note from Paga-
nini enclosing twenty thousand francs, to
be devoted to three years of repose, study,
liberty, and happiness.
In Sir Charles Halle's biography, however,
this story receives important modifications.
It appears that Armand Bertin, the wealthy
proprietor of the Journal des Debates, had
a high regard for Berlioz, who was on his
staff, and knew of his struggles, which he
was anxious to lighten. He resolved, there-
fore, to make him a present of twenty thou-
sand francs, and to enhance the moral effect
of this gift he persuaded Paganini to appear
as the donor of the money. What would
128 Famous Violinists.
have appeared as a simple gratuity from
a rich and powerful editor toward one of
his staff, became a significant tribute from
one genius to another. The secret was well
kept and was never divulged to Berlioz. It
was known only to two of Bertin's friends,
and Halle learned it about seven years later,
when he had become an intimate friend of
Madame Bertin, and she had been for years
one of his best pupils.
Paganini created the difficulties which he
performed. He had a style of his own, and
was most successful in playing his own com-
positions. In Paris, when, out of respect to
the Parisians, he played a concerto by Rode,
and one by Kreutzer, he scarcely rose above
mediocrity, and he was well aware of his fail-
ure. He adopted the ideas of his predeces-
sors, resuscitated forgotten effects and added
to them, and the chief features of his per-
formance were, the diversity of tones pro-
duced, the different methods of tuning his
Paganini. 1 29
instrument, the frequent employment of
double and single harmonics, the simul-
taneous use of pizzicato and bow passages,
the use of double and triple notes, the vari-
ous staccati, and a wonderful facility for
executing wide intervals with unerring accu-
racy, together with a great variety of styles
of bowing. The quality of tone which he
produced was clear and pure, but not exces-
sively full, and, according to Fe"tis, he was a
master of technique and phrasing rather than
a pathetic player, there was no tenderness
in his accents.
It is said that Baillot used to hide his face
when Paganini played a pizzicato with the
left hand, harmonics, or a passage in stac-
cato. Dancla, in his recollections, says : " I
had noticed in Paganini his large, dry hand,
of an astonishing elasticity ; his fingers long
and pointed, which enabled him to make
enormous stretches, and double and triple
extensions, with the utmost facility. The
130 Famous Violinists.
double and triple harmonics, the successions
of harmonics in thirds and sixths, so difficult
for small hands, owing to the stretch they
require, were to him as child's play. When
playing an accentuated pizzicato with the left
hand, while the melody was played by the
hand of the bow, the fourth finger pinched
the string with prodigious power even when
the other three fingers were placed."
There are anecdotes told of Paganini's
artistic contests with rival violinists, chief
among whom were Lafont and Lipinski, both
of whom he eclipsed, and of his playing a
concerto in manuscript at sight, with the
music upside down on the rack.
Of his appearance we are told, in an
account of a concert in London : " A tall,
haggard figure, with long, black hair,
strangely falling down to his shoulders, slid
forward like a spectral apparition. There
was something awful, unearthly in that coun-
tenance ; but his play ! our pen seems invol-
untarily to evade the difficult task of giving
utterance to sensations which are beyond the
reach of language." After detailing the per-
formance, the account continues : " These
excellencies consist in the combination of
absolute mechanical perfection of every
imaginable kind, perfection hitherto un-
known and unthought of, with the higher
attributes of the human mind, inseparable
from eminence in the fine arts, intellectual
superiority, sensibility, deep feeling, poesy,
In regard to this accomplishment of
playing on one string, a critic said : " To
effect so much on a single string is truly
wonderful ; nevertheless any good player
can extract more from two than from one.
If Paganini really produces so much effect
on a single string, he would certainly obtain
more from two. Then why not employ
them ? We answer, because he is waxing
exceedingly wealthy by playing on one."
132 Famous Violinists.
Paganini seems to have reasoned from the
opposite point, viz., that if the retention of
two strings be regarded with such wonder,
how much greater the marvel will be if only
one is used.
To offset these suggestions of charlatan-
ism, or perhaps rather to show that, with
all his charlatanism, Paganini was a marvel,
we may see what effect his playing had
upon some men who were not likely to be
caught by mere trickery. Rossini, upon
being asked how he liked Paganini, replied :
" I have wept but three times in my life ;
the first, on the failure of my earliest opera ;
the second time, when, in a boat with some
friends, a turkey stuffed with truffles fell
overboard ; and thirdly, when I heard Paga-
nini play for the first time."
Spohr, after hearing him play, in 1830,
said : " Paganini came to Cassel and gave
two concerts, which I heard with great
interest. His left hand and his constantly
pure intonation were, to me, astonishing ;
but in his compositions and his execution I
found a strange mixture of the highly genial
and the childishly tasteless, by which one
felt alternately charmed and disappointed."
George Hogarth, the musical critic, writes
about Paganini's " running up and down a
single string, from the nut to the bridge,
for ten minutes together, or playing with
the bow and the fingers of his right hand,
mingling pizzicato and arcato notes with
the dexterity of an Indian juggler." It was
not, however, by such tricks as these, but
in spite of them, that he gained the suf-
frages of those who were charmed by his
truly great qualities, his soul of fire, his
boundless fancy, his energy, tenderness, and
passion ; these are the qualities which give
him a claim to a place among the greatest
masters of the art.
Perhaps the finest description of Paganini
is the one written by Leigh Hunt :
134 Famous Violinists.
" So play'd of late to every passing thought
With finest change (might I but half as well
So write) the pale magician of the bow,
Who brought from Italy the tales, made true,
Of Grecian lyres; and on his sphery hand,
Loading the air with dumb expectancy,
Suspended, ere it fell, a nation's breath ;
" Of witches' dance, ghastly with whinings thin,
And palsied nods mirth, wicked, sad, and weak ;
And then with show of skill mechanical,
Marvellous as witchcraft he would overthrow
That vision with a show'r of notes like hail ;
Flashing the sharp tones now,
In downward leaps like swords ; now rising fine
Into some utmost tip of minute sound,
From whence he stepp'd into a higher and higher
On viewless points, till laugh took leave of him.
" Then from one chord of his amazing shell
Would he fetch out the voice of quires, and weight
Of the built organ ; or some twofold strain
Moving before him like some sweet-going yoke,
Ride like an Eastern conqueror, round whose state
Some light Morisco leaps with his guitar;
And ever and anon o'er these he'd throw
Jets of small notes like pearl."
I800 TO 1830.
PAGANINI was an epoch-making artist.
He revolutionised the art of violin playing,
and to his influence, or through his example,
were developed the modern French and
Belgian schools. While Paganini was a
genius, a great musician, and a wonderful
violinist, he combined with these qualities
that of a trickster, and the exponents of
the modern French school adopted some
of the less commendable features of Paga-
nini' s playing, while the Belgian school fol-
lowed the more serious lines, and became
a much sounder school.
Alard, Dancla, and Maurin were expo-
nents of the French school, while in that
136 Famous Violinists.
of Belgium we have De Beriot, Massart,
Vieuxtemps, Leonard, Wieniawski.
Lambert Joseph Massart was born at
Liege in 1811, and was first taught by an
amateur named Delavau, who, delighted with
the remarkable talent displayed by his young
pupil, succeeded in securing for him, from
the municipal authorities of Liege, a schol-
arship which enabled him to go to Paris.
On his arrival at the Conservatoire, Che-
rubini, who was splenetive and rash, refused
him admission without assigning any reason
for his decision, but Rudolph Kreutzer took
upon his shoulders the task of forming the
Notwithstanding Massart's great talent
and excellent capabilities as an artist, he
never became a success as a concert player,
because of his inordinate shyness, but as a
teacher few have equalled him.
Sir Charles Halle", in his autobiography,
tells a good anecdote concerning Massart's
1 8 oo to iSjo. 137
shyness and modesty. Massart was to play,
with Franz Liszt, a program which included
the Kreutzer sonata. Just as the sonata was
begun a voice from the audience called out
" Robert le Diable," referring to Liszt's bril-
liant fantasia on themes from that opera,
which he had recently composed, and had
played several times with immense success.
The call was taken up by other voices, and
the sonata was drowned. Liszt rose and
bowed, and presently, in response to the con-
tinued applause, he said : " I am always the
humble servant of the public. But do you
wish to hear the fantasia before or after the
sonata ? "
Renewed cries of " Robert " were the only
reply, upon which Liszt turned half around to
Massart and dismissed him with a wave of
the hand, but without a word of excuse or
apology. Liszt's performance roused the
audience to a perfect frenzy, but Massart
nevertheless most dutifully returned and
138 Famous Violinists.
played the Kreutzer sonata, which fell
entirely flat after the dazzling display of the
Few teachers have formed as many distin-
guished pupils as Massart, for in 1843 he was
appointed professor of violin at the Paris
Conservatoire, where his energy, care, exact-
ness, and thoroughness brought him an im-
mense reputation. Lotto, Wieniawski,
Teresina Tua, and a host of other distin-
guished violinists studied under him : among
them also was Charles M. Loeffler, of the
Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Massart was also an excellent quartet
player and gave many delightful chamber
concerts, with his wife, who was a pianist.
He died in Paris, February 13, 1892.
' Charles Auguste de Be'riot, who holds a
position of great importance in the history of
violin playing and composition, was born in
1802 at Louvain. He had the misfortune to
be left an orphan at the age of nine. His
i8oo to iSjo. 139
parents were of noble extraction, but at
their death he was left entirely without
fortune, and was taken in charge by M. Tiby,
a professor of music, who had noticed the
little boy's love of the musical art, and had
already taught him to such good purpose
that he was able even at that time to play
one of Viotti's concertos in public so skilfully
that he received the hearty applause of the
audience. He also took lessons of Rober-
rechts, one of Viotti's most noted pupils.
De Beriot was a youth of contemplative
mind and of high moral character. He
formed the acquaintance of the scholar and
philosopher Jacotot, who imbued him with
principles of self-reliance, and exerted an
influence over him which lasted throughout
De BeViot learned from his guide, philoso-
pher, and friend that " perseverance triumphs
over all obstacles," and that "we are not
willing to do all that we are able to do."
140 Famous Violinists.
At the age of nineteen De BeYiot went to
Paris, taking with him a letter of introduction
to Viotti, who was then the director of music
at the Opera, and he succeeded in gratifying
his greatest ambition, which was to be heard
by that illustrious violinist.
Viotti gave him the following advice :
" You have a fine style. Give yourself up to
the business of perfecting it. Hear all men
of talent, profit by everything, but imitate
De Beriot applied himself assiduously to
his studies, entering the Paris Conservatoire
and taking lessons of Baillot. In a few
months, however, he withdrew from the Con-
servatoire and relied upon his own resources.
He soon began to appear in concerts, gener-
ally playing compositions of his own, which
won him universal applause by their freshness
and originality as much as by his finished
execution and large style of cantabile.
In 1826 he went to London from Paris,
i8oo to 1830. 141
his first appearance taking place on May ist,
before the Philharmonic Society. Wherever
he appeared, either in London or the prov-
inces, he was greeted with enthusiasm, and he
established a lasting reputation.
His appearance in England antedated that
of Paganini by about five years, and it has
been questioned whether the impression
which he made would have been less if he
had appeared after instead of before the great
Italian. It seems, however that De Be"riot
continued to meet with success even after the
advent of Paganini. His playing was distin-
guished by unfailing accuracy of intonation,
great neatness and facility of bowing, grace,
elegance, and piquancy.
After travelling for some years he returned
to Belgium, where he was appointed solo vio-
lin to the King of the Netherlands. He had
held the position but a short time when the
revolution of 1830 broke out and deprived
him of it.
142 Famous Violinists.
He returned to Paris, and now began the
most romantic portion of his life. Madame
Malibran, whose brilliant career was then at
its height, was singing in opera, and De
Beriot became acquainted with her. The
acquaintance ripened into the most intimate
friendship, and in 1832 a concert company
was formed, consisting of Malibran, De
BeViot, and Luigi Lablache, the celebrated
and gigantic basso. They made a tour of
Italy, meeting with the most extraordinary
De BeViot and the beautiful Madame Mali-
bran were now inseparable. Malibran had
for some years been living apart from her
husband, an American merchant, who, with
the view of supporting himself by her talents,
had married her when on the brink of finan-
cial collapse. In 1835 sne succeeded in se-
curing a divorce from him, and then she
married De B6riot.
A few months after their marriage Mali-
1 8 oo to 1 8 jo. 143
bran was thrown from her horse and sus-
tained internal injuries of such severity that
she died after an illness of nine days, and De
Be*riot became frantic with grief.
More than a year elapsed before he could
at all recover from the effects of his irrepara-
ble loss, and his first appearance in concert,
after this tragic event, was when Pauline
Garcia, the sister of Madame Malibran, made
her first debut in a concert at Brussels given
for the benefit of the poor.
In 1841 De Beriot married Mile. Huber,
daughter of a magistrate of Vienna. He
returned to Brussels, and became director of
the violin classes at the Conservatoire, after
which he ceased giving concerts. He re-
mained in this position until 1852, when fail-
ing eyesight caused him to retire, and he
died at Louvain in 1870.
Before his acquaintance with Madame
Malibran, De Be"riot was a suitor for the
hand of Mile. Sontag, and her rejection of
144 Famous Violinists.
him threw him into a state of despondency,
from which it required the brilliancy and wit
of Malibran to rouse him.
De Beriot left a number of compositions
which abound in pleasing melodies, have a
certain easy, natural flow, and bring out the
characteristic effects of the instrument in
the most brilliant manner. There are seven
concertos, eleven "airs variees," several
books of studies, four trios and a number of
duets for piano and violin. His " Violin
School" has been published in many lan-
guages and used a great deal by students.
Delphin Jean Alard was at one time a
favourite violinist in France. In 1842 he
succeeded Baillot as professor of violin at
the Conservatoire in Paris. He was first
soloist in the royal band, to which post he
was appointed in 1858, and he was presented
with the Cross of the Legion of Honour.
Alard was born at Bayonne in March,
1815, and was well taught from his earliest
i8oo to fSjo. 145
youth. He appeared in concerts at the age
of ten, and at twelve entered the Paris Con-
servatoire, where he became a pupil of Habe-
neck, while Fe"tis taught him composition.
He was the winner of numerous prizes, and
he also wrote a great deal of music for the
violin. His greatest pupil was Sarasate.
Alard married the daughter of Vuillaume,
one of the best violin makers of France, and
through him became the owner of one of the
most beautiful Stradivarius violins. Alard
died in Paris, February 22, 1881.
' Hubert Leonard was born at Bellaire, near
Liege, in 1819, but unlike the majority of
violinists he did not appear in concerts at an
early age, nor did he enter the Paris Conser-
vatoire until he was seventeen. At this
time the wife of a wealthy merchant in
Brussels took interest in him and provided
the means necessary for him to go to Paris.
In 1 844 he appeared at Leipzig, and created
a deep impression by the beauty of his tone
146 Famous Violinists.
and his elegant performance. He travelled
through Europe and played chiefly his own
compositions, of which there are a great
many, but his greatest fame was earned after
he was appointed professor at the Brussels
Conservatoire, where he had many pupils,
of whom the most celebrated is, perhaps,
Concerning the merits of Heinrich Wil-
helm Ernst there seems to be a wide differ-
ence of opinion between various commenta-
tors. He was a man of warm, impulsive
nature, whose playing was distinguished by
great boldness in the execution of technical
difficulties of the most hazardous nature.
His tone had a peculiar charm, and at the
same time his fiery, impetuous nature and
uneven disposition led to certain occasional
errors in technique and faulty intonation.
Nevertheless, he was one of the most wel-
come performers in the concert halls of
Europe for a number of years. He was a
i8oo to 1830. 147
thorough musician and a good composer,
though his works are so full of technical
difficulties as to be almost impossible of per-
formance. Indeed it is said that some of
them contained difficulties which even he
could not always overcome.
Born in Moravia at the town of Briinn in
1814, he entered the Vienna conservatory,
and in 1830 made his first concert tour
through Munich and Paris. Paganini was at
that time travelling in Europe, and Ernst, in
the desire to learn something from this great
artist, followed him from town to town, and
endeavoured to model his own playing upon
the style of the Italian virtuoso, an effort
which seems to have brought down upon
him the censure of some critics, but which
others have considered highly praiseworthy.
In 1832 he settled in Paris, where he
studied hard under De Beriot, and played in
concerts frequently. After 1844 he lived
chiefly in England, where he was highly ap-
148 Famous Violinists.
predated, until the approach of his fatal dis-
ease made it necessary for him to give up,
first, public performances, and then violin
playing of any kind. He died at Nice
after eight years of intense suffering, in
When Ernst died the critic of the Athe-
neum compared him with other players of his
day in the following words : " Less perfec-
tion in his polish, less unimpeachable in the
diamond lustre and clearness of his tone,
than De Beriot, Ernst had as much elegance
as that exquisite violinist, with greater depth
of feeling. Less audaciously inventive and
extravagant than Paganini, he was sounder
in taste, and, in his music, with no lack of
fantasy, more scientific in construction. . . .
The secret, however, of Ernst's success,
whether as a composer or a virtuoso, lay in
his expressive power and accent. There has
been nothing to exceed these as exhibited by
him in his best days. The passion was car-
i8oo to f8jo. 149
ried to its utmost point, but never torn to
tatters, the freest use of tempo rubato per-
mitted, but always within the limits of the
most just regulation."
Among the violinists of this period (those
who were born between 1800 and 1830) will
be found those who first visited the United
States. In 1843 Ole Bull found his way to
these shores, and in the following year both
Vieuxtemps and Artot were giving concerts
in New York. A kind of triangular duel
took place, for the admirers of Artot and
Vieuxtemps, who were chiefly the French
residents of the city, endeavoured to belittle
the capabilities of Ole Bull, who nevertheless
appears to have been very successful, and if
anything, to have benefited by the competi-
tion. Musical culture was, at that time, in a
very low state in America, and one may judge
somewhat of its progress by the press criti-
cisms of the artists who visited the country
from time to time. It will be seen that those
1 50 Famous Violinists.
who, like Ole Bull, Sivori, and Remenyi, ap-
plied their talents to the elaboration of popu-
lar airs and operatic themes were able to
elicit the warmest praise. Vieuxtemps ap-
pears to have appealed to the cultured
minority and was understood and appreciated
by very few.
Flowery language was used without stint,
and was frequently misapplied in the most
ludicrous manner, as will be seen by the fol-
lowing extract :
"Since the death of his great master, the weird
Paganini, Ole Bull had been left without a rival in
Europe. Herwig, Nagel, Wallace, Artot, and De
Be"riot can only ' play second fiddle ' to this king of
the violin. His entrance upon the stage is remark-
ably modest, and after the Parisian graces of Artot
seems a little awkward ; a tip of his bow brings a
crash from the orchestra. He then lays his cheek
caressingly on the instrument, which gradually awakes,
and wails, and moans, like an infant broken of its
slumber. Every tone seems fraught with human
passion. At one time he introduces a dialogue, in
which a sweet voice complains so sadly that it makes
the heart ache with pity, which is answered from
1 8 oo to 1830. 151
another string with imprecations so violent and
threatening that one almost trembles with fear.
We fancied that a young girl was pleading for the
life of her lover, and receiving only curses in reply.
At the close of the first piece, the ' Adagio Maestoso,'
there was one universal shout of applause, which
afforded an infinite relief to a most enthusiastic house
that had held its breath for fifteen minutes. Ole Bull
came before the curtain and bowed, with his hand
upon his heart. There is something different in his
performance from that of any other artist, and yet it
is difficult to describe the peculiarity of his style, ex-
cept that he touches all the strings at once, and plays
a distinct accompaniment with the fingers of his right
hand. But the charm is in the genius of the man
and the grandeur of his compositions. He knows
how to play upon the silver cord of the heart which
binds us to a world of beauty, and vibrates only when
touched by a master hand."
The sentiments and emotions aroused in
the breast of this critic appear to have been
those with which Paganini inspired his audi-
ence, when he played a duet on two strings,
as related in an earlier chapter. Ole Bull
was a child of nature, he gave his audience
a description of the beauties of nature, and
1 52 Famous Violinists.
behold ! it is interpreted as a story of human
passions, a high tribute to descriptive
The following criticism seems more in
keeping with the ideas known to have been
held by the violinist, and almost leads one to
imagine that the critic was fortunate enough
to obtain an interview with the virtuoso be-
fore writing his account :
" FEBRUARY, 1844.
"To what shall we compare Ole Bull's playing?
Was it like some well-informed individual who has
seen the world and who spices his tales of men and
things with song and story now describing the
beauties of Swiss scenery, now repeating the air
which he caught up one moonlight night on the
Bosphorus, and anon relating a stirring joke which
he gleaned on the Boulevard. Such a man would
create an impression on any small tea-party, but that
violin did more the comparison fails. There might
be to him who chose to give rein to his fancy a
vision at one moment of the old ivy-covered church
and the quiet graveyard, the evening sun streaming
through the rich stained glass, the organ faintly heard
through the long aisles and the deep chancel, and
around and about the singing of some bird of late
i8oo to 1 8 jo. 153
hours, and the hum of the bee as he flew by, well
laden, to his storehouse of sweets.
" Then the clouds flew fearfully, and the wind
moaned through the boughs of the old oak-tree in its
winter dishabille, and so down to the seashore, when
it rushed over cliffs and crags and knocked off the caps
of the mad waves and sped on like a tyrant, crashing
everything in its way and rejoicing in its might. And
so we glided oddly but easily enough into the ball-
room, where mirth and laughter, bright eyes, fairy
feet, and all that was good and pleasant to behold
flitted by. It was not all music that Ole Bull's violin
gave out. There were old memories and pleasant
ones, ideas which shaped themselves into all man-
ners of queer visions ; and the main difference be-
tween Ole Bull and those I have heard before him
seemed to me to consist in this that whereas
many others may excite and hold by the button, as
it were, the organ of hearing and the mind therewith
immediately connected, Ole Bull awakens the other
senses along with it and occupies them in the field of
In 1 846 came Sivori, and in 1 848 Remenyi,
both artists whose desire to please their audi-
ences took them far from the path of the
highest musical standard. It may be said
with truth that the country was hardly ready
154 Famous Violinists.
for musicianship of the highest quality, and
even in 1872, when Wieniawski came with
the great pianist and composer, Rubinstein,
the two were accepted on their reputation
rather than on their merits, which were
understood by a comparatively small propor-
tion of their audiences.
Although several violinists endeavoured
to copy Paganini's style, or at least to learn
as much as possible from hearing and see-
ing him play, there was only one, excepting
Catarina Calcagno, who received direct in-
struction from him, and on whom his mantle
was said, by his admirers, to have fallen.
That one was Camillo Sivori, born at Genoa,
June 6, 1817.
The connecting link between Sivori and
Paganini began very early in the career of
the former. Indeed it is said that the excite-
ment of his mother, on hearing Paganini play
at a concert, caused the premature birth of
the future disciple of the great artist. Mar-
i8oo to 1 8 jo. 155
vellous stories are told of Sivori's infancy.
At the age of eighteen months, before he
had ever seen or heard a violin player, he
continually amused himself by using two
pieces of stick after the manner of the violin
and bow, and singing to himself. It is fair
to say that similar precocity in other children
has not always resulted in virtuosity. A
case might be cited of a very young person
who amused himself by inverting a small
chair, and imagining that he was a street
organist, but he grew to maturity without
adopting that profession.
At two years of age, the account con-
tinues, he cried out lustily for a violin, and
when his father, reduced to submission by
the boy's importunity, bought him a child's
violin, he at once began to apply himself,
morning, noon, and night, to practising on
this instrument, and without any aid he was
able in a short time to play many airs he
had heard his sisters play or sing. His
156 Famous Violinists.
renown spread through Genoa, and he was
invited everywhere. At concerts and parties
he was placed upon a table to play, and he
was frequently called upon to perform before
the king and the queen-dowager. He must
have been a most wilful and embarrassing
child, for the account goes on to say that he
would not enter a church unless he heard
music ; but on the other hand, if he did hear
music he insisted on going in, or else he
would scream and make a terrible scene.
These anecdotes, told by an effusive ad-
mirer, seem rather ridiculous, but when Pa-
ganini visited Genoa, and Sivori was six
years old, the virtuoso took a great deal of
interest in the little fellow and gave him
lessons. He also wrote a concerto for him,
and six short sonatas with accompaniment
for guitar, tenor, and 'cello, and these the
young artist soon played in public. In six
months Paganini left Genoa and desired to
take his young pupil with him, but this was
i8oo to 1 8 jo. 157
not allowed by the parents, and Sivori was
placed under the tuition of Costa. Three
years later Paganini returned to Genoa, and
by his advice his protege was placed under
M. Dellepaine, who taught him taste and
expression, his lessons with Costa in tech-
nique continuing. In 1827 Sivori made a
concert tour with M. Dellepaine, and visited
Paris, where his playing at the Conservatoire
won him great applause. He also appeared
in England, after which he entered upon
another serious course of study for several
years, and perfected the tone which enrap-
tured the world for so long, and at the same
time he studied composition under Serra.
In 1839 h^ s concert tours began again,
and he visited Germany, Russia, Belgium,
and Paris, where he played at the Conserva-
toire concerts and received the medal of
Sivori now set out on extensive travels,
and, after visiting England, proceeded, in
1846, to America, travelling through the
United States, Mexico, and various parts of
South America, spending eight years in
these peregrinations, and amassing a con-
siderable fortune. During this great tour
he met with many adventures, frequently
travelling on horseback, and at one time
being at death's door with yellow fever. On
his return to Europe he shared the fate of
many musicians who have achieved financial
success, and lost his money by unfortunate
investment, which made it necessary for him
to resume his travels. He therefore visited
Great Britain, Switzerland, Germany, Spain,
He was, of course, compared to many of
the great violinists of his time, who all had
their special merits. One criticism, in which
Sivori is compared with Spohr, may be inter-
esting : " Spohr is of colossal stature, and
looks more like an ancient Roman than a
Brunswicker ; Sivori is the antithesis of
1 8 oo to 1 8 jo. 159
Spohr in stature. Spohr has the severe
phlegmatic Teutonic aspect ; Sivori has the
flashing Italian eye and variability of feature.
Spohr stands firm and still ; Sivori's body is
all on the swing, he tears the notes, as it
were, from his instrument. Spohr's refine-
ment and polish have been the characteris-
tics of his playing ; in Sivori it is wild energy
the soul in arms the determination to
be up and doing the daring impulse of
youthful genius. Spohr's playing is remark-
able for its repose and finish ; Sivori electri-
fies by the most powerful appeals to the
Sivori was a man of generous impulses,
and was seldom appealed to in vain to assist
in a good cause. When his teacher, M.
Dellepaine, was taken ill and was unable
temporarily to fill his post of first violin at
the theatre, and of director of the conserva-
toire at Genoa, Sivori replaced him in both
and gave him the entire benefit of his ser-
160 Famous Violinists.
vices. After two years the teacher died, and
Sivori still held the two places an entire year
for the benefit of the widow, until a situation
was procured for her which enabled her to
live without further assistance.
At one time Sivori felt that the instru-
ment which he played was not so perfect as
to satisfy him. He asked Paganini to sell
him one, and the reply was, " I will not sell
you the violin, but I will present it to you
in compliment to your high talents." Sivori
travelled to Nice to receive the instrument
from his master's own hands. Paganini was
then it was in 1 840 in a deplorable con-
dition, and could hardly speak. He signified
a desire to hear his pupil play once more,
and Sivori, withdrawing to a room a little
way off, so that the sound of the instrument
would not be too loud, played whatever Pa-
ganini called for. About two weeks later
In 1851 Halle wrote of him as follows:
1 8 oo to 1830. 161
" Sivori was here lately, but caused little
furore ; such rubbish as the man plays now
I had never heard, and really, as an artist,
felt ashamed of him."
Sivori continued to play in public until
1864, when he visited London and played
at the Musical Union and elsewhere, but his
triumph in Paris in 1862 must not be forgot-
ten. On that occasion he executed Paganini's
B minor concerto, and aroused immense en-
thusiasm, although he played immediately
after Alard, who was at that time a prime
favourite. During his later years Sivori
lived in retirement, and he died February 1 8,
He was the first person allowed to play
on the celebrated violin which Paganini be-
queathed to the city of Genoa. He was also
the first to play, with orchestra, Mendels-
sohn's Violin Concerto in England. This
performance was at the Philharmonic Society
concert, June 29, 1846.
1 62 Famous Violinists.
Henry Vieuxtemps was one of the great-
est violinists of his time. He was born at
Verviers, in Belgium, in 1820, and was
brought up in a musical atmosphere. So
early did his talent develop, that he played
a concerto of Rode in public at the age of six,
and the following year made a tour with his
father and his teacher, Lecloux, during which
he had the good fortune to meet De Beriot,
before whom he played. During four years
he remained a pupil of De Beriot, and when
that artist left Paris, in 1831, Vieuxtemps
went to Brussels, where he practised hard,
but without a teacher, until 1833, when he
again set out on a prolonged concert tour.
From this time on he seems to have spent
the greater part of his time in travelling, for
which he had a passion. He visited all parts
of Europe and met most of the celebrated
musicians of the day. Spohr, Molique,
Schumann, Paganini, Henselt, and Richard
Wagner were among the celebrities whom
i8oo to 1 8 jo. 163
he met, and in his tours he was associated
with Servais, Thalberg, and other well-known
Not content with Europe as a field for
conquest, he visited America in 1844, and
again in 1857 and in 1870.
He was offered many excellent positions,
some of which he held for a time and others
he declined. In 1845 ne married Josephine
Eder, an eminent pianist of Vienna, and
shortly after was appointed solo violinist to
the Emperor of Russia, relinquishing that
post six years later in order to travel again.
He was professor at the Brussels conserva-
toire from 1871 to 1873, and in 1872 he was
elected a member of the Academic Royale
of Belgium, on which occasion he read a
memoir of fitienne Jean Soubre.
In 1 868 he suffered a double bereavement
through the deaths, first of his father, and a
short time later of his wife, and, to divert his
mind from these troubles, he undertook a tour
164 Famous Violinists.
which lasted three years. During 1873 his
active career was cut short by a stroke of
paralysis which disabled his left side. He
now travelled for health's sake, and went to
Algiers, where he lived quietly for several
years. His life was brought to an end by
a drunken Arab, who threw a large stone at
him while he was riding in his carriage one
day, striking him on the head.
As a violinist Vieuxtemps possessed a
wonderful staccato, both on the up and
down bow. His intonation was perfect. He
was fond of strong dramatic accents and
contrasts. As a composer for the violin he
had wider success than any one since Spohr,
but while some of his works contain really
fine ideas worked out with much skill, others
are merely show pieces of no particular
As a man Vieuxtemps had a gay and
restless disposition. He was not easily
depressed by trifles, and he enjoyed the
i8oo to 1830. 165
freedom of a life of constant change and
travel, and it was during his travels that
most of his best compositions were written.
During the last few years of his active
life, after his paralytic stroke had prevented
his playing, he suffered much from his ina-
bility to demonstrate to his pupils the way
in which certain passages should be played.
Frequent outbursts of rage ensued, of which
his pupils were obliged to bear the brunt,
even to being prodded with his iron-shod
stick. Sometimes scenes more amusing
would occur, as when some grandees would
visit the class, and Vieuxtemps would
change his manner from smiles and affa-
bility while addressing them, to scowls and
grimaces while talking to his pupils, the
latter, of course, being invisible to the vis-
When Vieuxtemps visited America in
1857, he was associated with Thalberg, the
pianist, and together they visited many
1 66 Famous Violinists.
towns and cities. Amongst the gems of
American newspaper criticism they no doubt
took with them several copies of the follow-
ing, which appeared in the local paper of a
town in Tennessee, and was headed "Thai-
berg and Vieuxtemps :"
" These distinguished individuals are now at Nash-
ville, giving high pressure concerts, and selling tickets
at two dollars apiece, when convenient. A stage-load
and a half or two stage-loads of ladies and gentlemen
went down from this place to hear them. Thalberg
is said to be death, in its most horried shape, on the
piano, and it is probably true ; while Vieuxtemps is
represented as a fiddler of considerable skill, consid-
ering his opportunities, which he no doubt is. We
haven't heard either of them since they were quite
small, and unless they come out here and reduce the
price of their tickets to their value, say about sixty-
two and a half cents a dozen, it is possible that we
sha'n't hear them any more. When we ride forty
miles, at an expense of at least ten dollars, extras not
included, to hear a couple of itinerant Dutchmen tor-
ture a brace of unoffending instruments into fits, until
the very spirit of music howls in sympathy, if some
one will cave in our head with a brickbat, we will
feel greatly obliged.
" But seriously, Thalberg and Vieuxtemps have
i8oo to 1830. 167
never done us any harm that we know of, and we
don't suppose they intend to. We wouldn't much
mind hearing their music, for no doubt it is nearly,
if not quite, as good as that of the average common
run of Dutchmen, which, as the latter will tell you, is
saying a good deal."
And yet musical culture was said to be in
its infancy in America at that time !
In Boston, Vieuxtemps, after an absence
of fourteen years, was criticised thus: "We
cannot see in M. Vieuxtemps the spark of
genius, but he is a complete musician, and
the master of his instrument. Tone so rich,
so pure, so admirably prolonged and nour-
ished, so literally drawn from the instrument,
we have scarcely heard before ; nor such
vigour, certainty, and precision, such nobility
and truth in every motion and effect. We
recognise the weakness for sterile difficulties
of extreme harmonics."
Vieuxtemps was also subject to compari-
son with Sivori, rather to the former's dis-
paragement. "The one plays the violin like
1 68 Famous Violinists.
a great musician, the other like a spoiled
child of nature, who has endowed him with
the most precious gifts. Intrepid wrestlers,
both, and masters of their instrument, they
each employ a different manner. M. Vieux-
temps never lets you forget that he plays the
violin, that the wonders of mechanism which
he accomplishes under your eye are of the
greatest difficulty and have cost him immense
pains, whereas M. Sivori has the air of being
ignorant that he holds in his hands one of
the most complicated instruments that exists,
and he sings to you like Malibran. He sings,
he weeps, he laughs on the violin like a very
The following paragraph is a good sample
of New York musical journalism in the year
" Vieuxtemps's first concert on Monday night was
a very stylish jam. He is a small, puny-built man,
with gold rings in his ears, and a face of genteel
ugliness, but touchingly lugubrious in its expression.
With his violin at his shoulder, he has the air of a
i8oo to 1830. 169
husband undergoing the nocturnal penance of walk-
ing the room with 'the child' and performing it,
too, with unaffected pity. He plays with the purest
and coldest perfection of art, and is doubtless more
learned on the violin than either of the rival perform-
ers [Ole Bull and Artot], but there is a vitreous clear-
ness and precision in his notes that would make them
more germane to the humour of before breakfast than
to the warm abandon of vespertide. His sister travels
with him (a pretty blonde, very unlike him), and ac-
companies him on the piano."
Vieuxtemps also visited America in 1870,
with the celebrated singer Christine Nilsson.
Among the celebrated violinists of this
period must be mentioned Bernhard Mo-
lique, of whom Sir Charles Halle says that
he was a good executant, knowing no diffi-
culties, but his style was polished and cold,
and he never carried his public with him.
"Ernst," he continues, "was all passion and
fire, regulated by reverence for and clear
understanding of the masterpieces he had
to interpret. Sainton was extremely elegant
and finished in his phrasing, but vastly in-
170 Famous Violinists.
ferior to the others. Vieuxtemps was an
admirable violinist and a great musician,
whose compositions deserve a much higher
rank than it is the fashion to accord them."
Molique was the son of a town musician
of Nuremberg, and became a composer whose
works have stood the test of time. He was
a pupil of Kreutzer and of Spohr, and held
the position of director and first violinist
of the royal band at Stuttgart. He had a
number of excellent pupils, of whom John T.
Carrodus was the best known. He died at
Stuttgart in 1869.
'Henry Gamble Blagrove was a musical
prodigy, who began the study of the violin
at the age of four, and appeared in public a
year later. He was born at Nottingham in
1 8 1 1 , and at six years of age played at
Drury Lane. He studied abroad with
Spohr, and appeared in Vienna in 1836,
but the greater part of his life was spent
in England, where he was soloist in several
i8oo to 1830. 171
of the best orchestras. He was a man of
refreshing modesty, and was held in high
esteem. He died in London in 1872.
Jacob Dont, of Vienna, and Jean Dancla,
a French violinist, both belong to this period,
and were teachers of reputation.
" A TYPICAL Norseman, erect of bearing,
with a commanding presence and mobile,
kindly face, from which the eyes shone clear
and fearless as the spirits of old Norway
hovering over his native mountains. He was
a man to evoke respect and love under all
conditions, and, when he stepped before an
audience, roused an instantaneous throb of
sympathy, of interest, before the sweep of
his magical bow enthralled their souls with
its melodious measures." Such is an excel-
lent pen picture of Ole Bull, who during the
middle of the nineteenth century was known
far and wide as a great violinist.
Ole Bull. 173
Among the celebrated musicians of all
nations, Ole Bull will always remain a strik-
ing figure. As a musician, none so eminent
has been so essentially a self-made man, none
has grown up with so little influence from
outside, none with a technique so essentially
self-discovered. As a son of his country,
none has retained so sturdy a sense of patriot-
ism ; none has, amid the more brilliant sur-
roundings of a life spent in the gayest cities
of the world, refused to be weaned from the
poor northern, half-dependent state from
which he issued a penniless lad.
Olaus Borneman Bull was born at Bergen,
in Norway, February 5, 1810, and was the
eldest of ten children. His father was a
physician and apothecary. He was musical,
as were several other members of his family,
and little Ole's love for music was fostered
to a great degree at home by the Tuesday
quartet meetings, at which his Uncle Jens
played the 'cello.
1/4 Famous Violinists.
In the early part of the century, the prov-
erb, "Spare the rod and spoil the child,"
was regarded as the foundation of education
in most countries, and few children were
allowed to spoil. All childish desires which
conflicted with parental ideas were promptly
suppressed by " the rod," until by sheer
strength they proved to be unsuppressible.
Then they became great virtues. It was
thus with Ole Bull. His first desire to hear
the quartet music, which he gratified by hid-
ing under sofas or behind curtains, was
rewarded with the rod, for he should have
been in bed. After a time a concession was
made through the intervention of Uncle Jens,
and Ole was allowed to become familiar with
the best music of the day.
Uncle Jens used to amuse himself with the
small boy's susceptibility to music, and would
sometimes shut him up in the 'cello case,
promising him some candy if he would stay
there while he (Uncle Jens) played. But
Ole Bull. 175
Ole could never endure the ordeal for long.
He had to come out where he could see and
His first violin was given him by Uncle
Jens when he was five years old, and he soon
learned to play it well without any instructor.
He was not allowed to practise music until
his study hours were over, and occasional
breaches of this rule kept " the rod " active.
Ole Bull's first instructor was a violinist
named Paulsen, a man of convivial tempera-
ment, who used to come and enjoy the hospi-
tality of Ole's father and play "as long as
there was a drop in the decanter," with a
view to educating the young artist, as he
said. But Ole's parents were thinking of
prohibiting the violin altogether on the plea
that it interfered too much with his studies,
when the tide of affairs was changed by the
One Tuesday evening, Paulsen, who
played first violin in the quartet, had been so
176 Famous Violinists.
convivial that he was unable to continue. In
this unfortunate dilemma Uncle Jens called
upon Ole, saying, " Come, my boy, do your
best, and you shall have a stick of candy."
Ole quickly accepted the challenge, and as
the quartet was one which he had several
times heard, he played each movement cor-
rectly, much to the astonishment of all
This happened on his eighth birthday, and
the event marked an epoch in his life, for he
was elected an active member of the Tues-
day club, and began to take lessons regularly
of the convivial Paulsen.
There is a pathetic story of how Ole
induced his father to buy a new violin for
him, and, unable to restrain his desire to play
it, he got up in the night, opened the case,
and touched the strings. This furtive touch
merely served to whet his appetite, and he
tried the bow. Then he began to play very
softly ; then, carried away with enthusiasm,
Ole Bull. 177
he played louder and louder, until suddenly
he felt the sharp sting of his father's whip
across his shoulders, and the little violin fell
to the floor and was broken.
From 1819 to 1822 Ole Bull received no
violin instruction, for Paulsen had left Bergen
without explanation, though it has been
hinted that Ole Bull had outgrown him,
and on that account he thought it wise to
In 1822 a Swedish violinist came to Bergen,
and Ole took lessons of him. His name was
Lundholm, and he was a pupil of Baillot.
Lundholm was very strict and would admit of
no departure from established rules. He
quite failed to make the boy hold his instru-
ment according to the accepted method, but
his custom of making his pupil stand upright,
with his head and back against the wall while
playing, no doubt gave to him that repose
and grace of bearing which was so noticeable
in later years. Lundholm was, however,
i/8 Famous Violinists.
quite unable to control his precocious pupil
and a coolness soon sprung up between them,
which appears to have culminated in the
On a Tuesday evening, at one of the
regular meetings, Lundholm played Baillot's
"Caprizzi," but Ole Bull was much dis-
appointed at the pedantic, phlegmatic manner
in which he rendered the passionate phrases.
When the company went to supper Ole
found on the leader's music-rack a concerto
of Spohr's, and began to try it over.
Carried away with the music, he forgot
himself, and was discovered by Lundholm on
his return, and scolded for his presumption.
" What impudence ! " said the violinist.
" Perhaps you think you could play this at
sight, boy?" "Yes," was the reply, "I
think I could." His remark was heard by
the rest of the company, who were now
returning, and they all insisted that he
should try it. He played the allegro, and
Ole Bull 179
all applauded except Lundholm, who looked
angry. " You think you can play anything,"
he said, and, taking a caprice of Paganini's
from the stand, he added, "Try this." It
happened that this caprice was a favourite
of the young violinist, who had learned it
by heart. He therefore played it in fine
style, and received the hearty applause of
the little audience. Lundholm, however,
instead of raving, was more polite and kind
than he had ever been before, and told Ole
that with practice he might hope to equal
him (Lundholm) some day.
Years afterwards, when Ole Bull was
making a concert tour through Norway, and
was travelling in a sleigh over the snow-
covered ground, he met another sleigh
coming from the opposite direction, of which
the occupant recognised him, and made
signs to him to stop. It was Lundholm.
"Well," shouted he, "now that you are a
famous violinist, remember that when I
180 Famous Violinists.
heard you play Paganini I predicted that
your career would be a remarkable one."
"Oh," exclaimed Ole Bull, "you were
mistaken, for I did not read that piece, I
knew it before." " It makes no difference,"
was the reply, as the sleighs parted.
As young Ole approached manhood, and
developed in strength and stature, we find
him asserting his independence. His father,
who intended him to be a clergyman, en-
gaged a private tutor named Musaeus, who,
when he found that Ole's musical tastes
conflicted with his studies, forbade him to
play the violin, so that the boy could only
indulge at night in an inclination which,
under restraint, became a passion. Ole and
his brothers had long and patiently borne
both with cross words and blows from this
worthy pedagogue, and at length decided to
rebel. Accordingly when one morning at
half-past four the tutor appeared and
dragged out the youngest from his warm
Ole Bull. 181
bed, Ole sprang upon him and a violent
struggle ensued. The household was
aroused, and in a few moments the parents
appeared on the spot in time to see Musasus
prostrate upon the floor and suing for
peace. Contrary to his expectations, Ole
found himself taken more into his father's
confidence, and as a result he became more
desirous than ever of carrying out his father's
In 1828 he went to the university in
Christiania, where, in spite of the best inten-
tions, he soon found himself musical director
of the Philharmonic and Dramatic Societies,
a position which gave him independence,
and somewhat consoled him for his failure
to pass his entrance examinations for the
university. His father reluctantly forgave
him, and he was now, in spite of everything,
fairly launched upon a musical career.
He was not long contented to remain in
Christiania. His mind was in a state of
1 82 Famous Violinists.
restless agitation, and he determined to go
to Cassel, and seek out Spohr, whose opinion
he desired to secure. He accordingly left
Christiania on May 18, 1829. His departure
was so hurried that he left his violin behind,
and it had to be forwarded to him by his
friends. This suddenness was probably
caused by the fact that he had taken part
in the observance of Independence Day on
May i /th, a celebration which had been
interdicted by the government.
On reaching Cassel he went to Spohr,
who accorded him a cold reception. " I have
come more than five hundred miles to hear
you," said Ole Bull, wishing to be polite.
"Very well," was the reply, "you can now
go to Nordhausen ; I am to attend a musical
festival there." Bull therefore went to
Nordhausen, where he heard a quartet by
Maurer, of which Spohr played the first
violin part. He was so overwhelmed with
disappointment at the manner in which the
Ole Bull. 183
quartet was played by the four masters that
he came to the conclusion that he was de-
ceived in his aspirations, and had no true
calling for music.
Spohr was a most methodical man, and
had no appreciation for wild genius. He saw
only the many faults of the self-taught youth,
and coldly advised him to give up his idea of
a musical career, declining to accept him as a
pupil. Some five years later, Bull having in
the meantime refused to accept this advice,
which did not coincide with his own inclina-
tions, Spohr heard him play, and wrote thus
of him : " His wonderful playing and sureness
of his left hand are worthy of the highest
admiration, but, unfortunately, like Paganini,
he sacrifices what is artistic to something
that is not quite suitable to the noble instru-
ment. His tone, too, is bad, and since he
prefers a bridge that is quite plain, he can
use A and D strings only in the lower posi-
tions, and even then pianissimo. This ren-
184 Famous Violinists.
ders his playing (when he does not let himself
loose with some of his own pieces) monoto-
nous in the extreme. We noticed this par-
ticularly in two Mozart quartets he played
at my house. Otherwise he plays with a good
deal of feeling, but without refined taste."
After his discouraging interview with
Spohr, Ole Bull returned to Norway, making,
on the way, a short visit to Gottingen, where
he became involved in a duel.
Feeling that his own capabilities were
worth nothing, after what he had seen and
heard in Germany, Ole Bull returned home
in a despondent state of mind, but, on passing
through a town where he had once led the
theatre orchestra, he was recognised, wel-
comed, and compelled to direct a perform-
ance, and thus he once more fell under the
influence of music, and began to apply him-
self vigorously to improvement.
In 1831 he went to Paris in order to hear
Paganini, and if possible to find some oppor-
Ole Bull, 185
tunity to improve himself. He failed to
enter the Conservatoire, but he succeeded
in hearing Paganini, and this, according to
his own account, was the turning-point of
his life. Paganini's playing made an immense
impression on him, and he threw himself
with the greatest ardour into his technical
studies, in order that he might emulate the
feats performed by the great Italian.
His stay in Paris was full of adventure. He
was hampered by poverty, and frequently in
the depths of despair. At one time he is said
to have attempted suicide by drowning in
the Seine. There is also a story told to the
effect that the notorious detective, Vidocq,
who lived in the same house with him, and
knew something of his circumstances, pre-
vailed upon him to risk five francs in a
gambling saloon. Vidocq stood by and
watched the game, and Ole Bull came away
the winner of eight hundred francs, presum-
ably because the detective was known, and
1 86 Famous Violinists,
the proprietors of the saloon considered dis-
cretion to be the better part of valour. It
was a delicate method of making the young
man a present in a time of difficulty, but one
of which the moral effect could hardly fail to
At one time, when he was ill and homeless,
he entered a house in the Rue des Martyrs
in which there were rooms to let. He was
received and treated kindly, and was nursed
through a long illness by the landlady and
He tried to secure a place in the orchestra
of the Opera Comique, but his arrogance lost
him the position, for when he was requested
to play a piece at sight, it seemed to him so
simple that he asked at which end he should
begin. This offence caused him to be rejected
without a hearing.
Fortune, however, began at last to smile
upon him when he made the acquaintance of
M. Lacour, a violin maker, who conceived
Ole Bull. 187
the idea of engaging him to show off his
violins. Ole Bull accordingly played on one of
them at a soiree given by the Duke of Riario,
Italian charge d'affaires in Paris. He was
almost overcome by the smell of assafcetida
which emanated from the varnish, and which
was caused by the heat. Neverthless, he
played finely, and as a result was invited
to breakfast the next morning by the Duke
of Montebello, Marshal Ney's son. This
brought him into contact with Chopin, and
shortly afterwards he gave his first concert
under the duke's patronage, and with the
assistance of Ernst, Chopin, and other cele-
He now made a concert tour through
Switzerland to Italy, and on reaching Milan
he played at La Scala, where he made an
immense popular success, but drew from one
of the journals a scathing criticism, which,
however humiliating it may have been, struck
him by its truth.
1 88 Famous Violinists.
" M. Bull played compositions by Spohr, May-
seder, and Paganini without understanding the true
character of the music, which he marred by adding
something of his own. It is quite obvious that what
he adds comes from genuine and original talent, from
his own musical individuality ; but he is not master
of himself; he has no style; he is an untrained musi-
cian. If he be a diamond, he is certainly in the rough
Ole Bull sought out the writer of this criti-
cism, who gave him valuable advice, and for
six months he devoted himself to ardent
study under the guidance of able masters.
In this way he learned to know himself, the
nature and limitations of his own talent.
We now arrive at the point in Ole Bull's
career at which he became celebrated, and
this was due to accident. He was at Bologna,
where De Beriot and Malibran were to appear
at one of the Philharmonic concerts. By
chance Malibran heard that De Beriot was to
receive a smaller sum than that which had
been agreed upon for her services, and in a
moment of pique she sent word that she was
Ole Bull 189
unable to appear on account of indisposition.
De Beriot also declared himself to be suffer-
ing from a sprained thumb.
It happened that Madame Colbran (Ros-
sini's first wife) had one day heard Ole Bull
practising as she passed his window, and now
she remembered the fact, and advised the
Marquis Zampieri, who was the director of
the concerts, to hunt up the young violinist.
Accordingly, Ole Bull, who had gone to bed
very early, was roused by a tap on the door,
and invited to improvise on the spot for
Zampieri. Bull was then hurried off, with-
out even time to dress himself suitably for
the occasion, and placed before a most dis-
tinguished audience, which contained the
Duke of Tuscany and other celebrities,
besides De Beriot, with his arm in a sling.
His playing charmed and captivated the
audience, although he was almost overcome
with exhaustion. After taking some food
and wine he appeared again, and this time he
asked for a theme on which to improvise.
He was given three, and, instead of making a
selection, he took all three and interwove
them in so brilliant a manner that he carried
the audience by storm. He was at once
engaged for the next concert, and made such
success that he was accompanied to his hotel
by a torchlight procession, and his carriage
drawn home by the excited people.
Ole Bull continued his triumphant course
through Italy. At Lucca he played at the
duke's residence, where the queen-dowager
met with a surprise, as Ole refused to begin
playing until she stopped talking. At Naples
he experienced the misfortune of having his
violin stolen, and he was obliged to buy a
Nicholas Amati, for which he paid a very
high price. After playing and making a great
success in Rome, he returned to Paris, where
he now found the doors of the Grand Ope"ra
open to him, and he gave several concerts
Ole Bull. 191
In 1836 he married Felicie Villernot, the
granddaughter of the lady in whose house he
had met with so much kindness during his
first stay in Paris.
Following the advice of Rossini, he went
to London, where he made his usual success,
notwithstanding the intrigues of certain
musicians, who endeavoured to discredit
him. Such was his popularity in England
that he received for one concert, at Liverpool,
the sum of ^800, and in sixteen months'
time he gave two hundred and seventy-four
concerts in the United Kingdom.
He now decided to visit Germany, and on
his way through Paris he made the acquaint-
ance of Paganini, who greeted him with the
utmost cordiality. He went through Ger-
many giving many concerts, and visited
Cassel, where he was now received by Spohr
with every mark of distinction. He played
in Berlin, where his success was great, not-
withstanding some adverse criticism. He
192 Famous Violinists.
also played in Vienna and Buda-Pesth, and
so on through Russia. At St. Petersburg he
gave several concerts before audiences of
five thousand people. He now went through
Finland and so on to Sweden and Norway,
where he was feted.
Although closely followed by Vieuxtemps
and Artot, Ole Bull was the first celebrated
violinist to visit America, and in 1843 ne made
his first trip, landing in Boston in November
of that year and proceeding directly to New
York, playing for the first time on Evacuation
Day. " John Bull went out on this day," he
said, "and Ole Bull comes in." He remained
two years in the United States, during which
time he played in two hundred concerts and
met with many remarkable adventures.
During his sojourn he wrote a piece called
" Niagara," which he played for the first time
in New York, and which became very popular.
He also wrote " The Solitude of the Prairies,"
which won more immediate success.
Ole Bull. 193
He travelled during these two years more
than one hundred thousand miles, and played
in every city of importance. He is estimated
to have netted by his trip over $80,000, be-
sides which he contributed more than $20,000,
by concerts, to charitable institutions. No
artist ever visited the United States and
received so many honours.
In 1852 he returned to America, and this
time he was destined to meet with tribulation.
It was his desire to aid the poor of his coun-
try by founding a colony. He therefore
bought a tract of land of 125,000 acres in
Potter County, Pennsylvania, on the inaugura-
tion of which he stated his purpose : " We
are to found a New Norway, consecrated to
liberty, baptised with independence, and pro-
tected by the Union's mighty flag." Some
three hundred houses were built, with a store
and a church, and a castle on a mountain,
which was designed for his permanent home.
Hundreds flocked to the new colony, and
ig4 Famous Violinists.
the scheme took nearly the whole of his
Ole Bull now started on a concert tour
together with little Adelina Patti, her sister
Amalia Patti Strakosch, and Mr. Maurice
Strakosch. Patti was then only eight years
old, and was already exciting the wonder of
all who heard her.
When crossing the Isthmus of Panama his
violin was stolen by a native porter, and Ole
Bull was obliged to remain behind to find his
instrument, while the company went on to
California. He was now taken down with yel-
low fever, and owing to a riot in the town he
was entirely neglected, and was obliged to
creep off his bed on to the floor in order to
escape the bullets which were flying about.
On his recovery he set out for San Francisco,
but the season was too late for successful con-
certs. He was miserably weak, and when he
played his skin would break and bleed as he
pressed the strings.
Ole Bull. 195
He now heard that there was some trouble
in regard to his title to the land in Pennsyl-
vania, and, hastening to Philadelphia, he was
legally notified that he was trespassing.
It transpired that the man who had sold
the land to Ole Bull had no claim to it what-
ever, and had perpetrated a barefaced swindle,
and now, having the money, he dared his vic-
tim to do his worst. The actual owner of the
land, who had come forward to assert his
rights, became interested in the scheme, and
was willing to sell the land at a low price, but
Ole now had no money. He instituted legal
proceedings against the swindler, who, in
return, harassed the violinist as much as
possible, trying to prevent his concerts by
arrests, and bringing suits against him for
services supposed to have been rendered.
It is even stated that an attempt was made
to poison him, which only failed because the
state of excitement in which he was at the
time prevented his desire for food.
196 Famous Violinists.
Ole Bull now set to work to retrieve his
fortunes, but ill luck still followed him, and
he fell a victim to chills and fever, was aban-
doned by his manager, and taken to a farm-
house on a prairie in Illinois, where he
endured a long illness. For five years he
continued his struggle against misfortune,
and during that period he made hosts of
friends who did much to help him in one
way and another. Nevertheless, when he
gave his last concerts in New York, in 1857,
he was still so ill that he had to be helped on
and off the stage.
He now returned to Bergen, where the air
of his native land soon restored him to health.
On his arrival, however, he found that the
report had been circulated that he had been
speculating at the expense of his countrymen,
and that they were the only sufferers by his
For a short time he assumed control of
the National Theatre, but before long he
Ole Bull. 197
was again on the road, giving concerts in
various parts of Europe. While he was
in Paris, in 1 862, his wife died.
The year 1867 found him again in the
United States, and during this tour he met
at Madison, Wis., Miss Sara C. Thorpe, the
lady who was to become his second wife.
He also took part in the Peace Jubilee in
Boston, in 1869.
When he sailed for Norway, in April, 1870
(he was to be married on his arrival), the
New York Philharmonic Society presented
him with a beautiful silken flag. This flag
the Norwegian colours with the star-
spangled banner inserted in the upper staff
section was always carried in the seven-
teenth of May processions in Bergen, and
floated on the fourth of July.
The remaining years of Ole Bull's life
were spent in comparative freedom from
strife and struggle. He spent much of
his time in Norway, but also found time for
icj8 Famous Violinists.
many concert tours. His sixty-sixth birthday
was spent in Egypt, and he solemnised the
occasion by ascending the Pyramid of Cheops
and playing, on its pinnacle, his " Saeter-
besog." This performance took place at
the suggestion of the King of Sweden, to
whom the account was duly telegraphed the
next morning from Cairo.
In Boston Ole Bull was always a great
favourite and had many friends. He felt
much interest in the Norsemen's discovery
of America, and took steps to bring the sub-
ject before the people of Boston. The result
of his efforts is to be seen in the statue of
Lief Ericsson, commemorative of the event,
which adorns the Public Gardens.
In March and April, 1880, Ole Bull ap-
peared at a few concerts in the Eastern cities,
with Miss Thursby, and in June he sailed, for
the last time, from America. He was in
poor health, but, contrary to all hopes, the
sea voyage did not improve his condition,
Ole Bull. 199
and much anxiety was felt until his home
was reached. A few weeks later he died,
and, at the funeral, honours more than royal
were shown. In the city of Bergen all busi-
ness was suspended, and the whole popula-
tion of the city stood waiting to pay their
last respects to the celebrated musician and
Ole Bull was a man of remarkable charac-
acter and an artist of undoubted genius. All
who heard him, or came in contact with him,
agree that he was far from being an ordinary
man. Tall, of athletic build, with large blue
eyes and rich flaxen hair, he was the very
type of the Norseman, and there was some-
thing in his personal appearance and conver-
sation which acted with almost magnetic
power on those who approached him. He
was a prince of story-tellers, and his fascina-
tion in this respect was irresistible to young
and old alike, and its effect not unlike his
2oo Famous Violinists.
In regard to his playing, his technical pro-
ficiency was such as very few violinists have
ever attained to. His double stopping was
perfect, his staccato, both upward and down-
ward, of the utmost brilliancy, and though he
cannot be considered a serious musician in
the highest sense of the word, he played
with warm -and poetical, if somewhat senti-
mental, feeling. He has often been described
as the "flaxen-haired Paganini," and his style
was to a great extent influenced by Paganini,
but only so far as technicalities are concerned.
In every other respect there was a wide differ-
ence, for while Paganini's manner was such
as to induce his hearers to believe that they
were under the spell of a demon, Ole Bull
took his hearers to the dreamy moonlit
regions of the North. It is this power of
conveying a highly poetic charm which en-
abled him to fascinate his audiences, and it is
a power far beyond any mere trickster or char-
latan. He was frequently condemned by the
Ole Bull 201
critics for playing popular airs, which indeed
formed his greatest attraction for the masses
of the people. He seldom played the most
serious music, in fact, he confined himself
almost entirely to his own compositions, most
of which were of a nature to meet the de-
mand of his American audiences.
When Ole Bull played in Boston in 1852,
after having been absent for several years,
during which time other violinists had been
heard, John S. Dwight wrote of his perform-
ance thus : " We are wearied and confused
by any music, however strongly tinged with
any national or individual spirit, however
expressive in detail, skilful in execution, and
original or bold, or intense in feeling, if it does
not at the same time impress us by its
unity as a whole, by its development from
first to last of one or more pregnant themes.
As compositions, therefore, we do not feel
reconciled to what Ole Bull seems fond of
playing. . . . He cannot be judged by the
202 Famous Violinists.
usual standards, his genius is exceptional,
intensely individual in all its forms and
methods, belongs to the very extreme of the
romantic as distinguished from the classical
in art. He makes use of the violin and of
the orchestra, in short of music, simply and
mainly to impress his own personal moods,
his own personal experience, upon the audi-
ences. You go to hear Ole Bull, rather
than to hear and feel his music. It is emi-
nently a personal matter. . . . Considered
simply as an executive power, he seems, after
hearing so many good violinists for years
past, to exceed them all always excepting
It may be said with truth that Ole Bull
achieved his reputation at a time when it was
comparatively easy to do so. There was
very little musical cultivation in this country
when he first appeared here, as may be easily
imagined by a glance at the extracts from
criticisms, given here and there. By his
Ole Bull. 203
strong personality, apparent mastery of his
instrument, and by being practically the sole
occupant of the field, he became famous and
popular. He prided himself on the fact
that his playing was addressed rather to the
hearts than to the sensitive ears of his audi-
ences, and during his later years he adopted
certain mannerisms by way of distracting
attention from his somewhat imperfect
performances. He never made any preten-
sion to being a musician of the modern
school, nor of any regularly recognised school
of music, but his concert pieces were his own
compositions, of no great merit, and he still
more delighted his audiences by playing
national airs as no one had ever played them
before. He was a minstrel rather than a
musician in the broad sense of the word, but
he held the hearts of the people as few, if
any, minstrels had previously done.
1830 TO 1850.
ONE of the most noticeable features of the
biography of the violin virtuoso is that he
invariably displays great talent at an early
age and plays in public at any time from
eight to twelve years old. There are doubt-
less more who do this than are ever heard
of at a later day, for the idea of the infant
phenomenon is alluring. The way of the
violinist is hard. He has many years of
study and self-denial before him, if he is to
excel as a musician. Therefore the infant
who can be exploited in such a manner as to
make money provides for his future education,
unless hard work or flattery kill him physi-
cally or intellectually before he is ripe. Many
prodigies sink into oblivion, some few rise
1830 to 1850. 205
to celebrity. It will be noticed that the vio-
linists who played in public while very young
have invariably settled down afterward to
serious study, and at a more mature age have
thus been able to take their place in the
Year by year, too, the demands upon the
violinist have been greater. A virtuoso is
judged rather by the standard of Beethoven's
concerto than by his ability to perform mu-
sical gymnastics with operatic selections.
Nevertheless, it is a fact that many of the
best known violinists were those who catered
to the taste of the multitude, while many
better musicians have been comparatively
Among celebrated violinists few have led
more romantic or adventurous lives than
Edouard Remenyi, whose name is not yet for-
gotten in this country. Born at Hewes, in
Hungary, in 1830, he possessed the restless
spirit of his race, fought in the insurrection
206 Famous Violinists.
of 1848, escaped to the United States when
the insurrection was crushed, but was
received into favour again a few years later,
on his return to his native land.
From his twelfth to his fifteenth year he
studied the violin at the Vienna Conservatoire
under Bohm, who was also the teacher of
Joachim. In 1848 he became adjutant to
the distinguished General Gorgey, and
fought under Kossuth and Klapka in the war
with Austria. Then came the flight to
America, where he made a tour as a virtuoso,
but in 1853 he visited Weimar, and sought
out Franz Liszt, who at once recognised his
genius and became his friend and guide.
In 1854 he went to London and was ap-
pointed solo violinist in the queen's band, but
when in 1860 he obtained his amnesty and re-
turned to Hungary he was created solo violin-
ist in the band of the Emperor of Austria.
His restless disposition would not allow
him to remain long in one place, and in 1865
1 8 jo to 1850. 207
he once more began to travel. He visited
Paris, where he created a perfect furore, and
then continued his triumphant course through
Germany, Holland, and Belgium. After set-
tling in Paris for about two years, he returned
in 1877 to London, where he repeated his
Parisian successes, appearing, as in Paris,
chiefly in the salons of wealthy patrons.
During this visit to London he appeared in
public only once, at Mapleson's benefit at the
Crystal Palace, when he played a fantasia on
themes from the " Huguenots." The follow-
ing year he went once more to the United
States, and on his way played at the prome-
nade concerts in London. In America he
remained for some years, and then proceeded
in 1887 to the Cape of Good Hope and
Madagascar. While on this voyage it was
reported that his ship was wrecked and
that he was drowned, and numerous obituary
notices of him appeared in th^ newspapers
throughout the world.
208 Famous Violinists.
In 1891 he was once more in London, and
played at the house of the ]ate Colonel
North, "the Nitrate King." He now re-
turned to the United States, where he passed
the remainder of his days. His powers were,
however, failing, and other violinists had
brought new and perhaps higher interest to
When Remenyi visited the United States
in 1878, he arrived a few weeks after Wil-
helmj, and notwithstanding the fact that the
two violinists were widely different in tem-
perament, ideas, musicianship, in fact in every
particular, they were frequently made the
subjects of comparison. At this time
Remenyi played an " Otello Fantaisie,"
"Suwanee River," "Grandfather's Clock,"
etc. He was well sketched in a journal of
the time, which said :
" Remenyi is gifted with a vivacious, generous,
rather mocking disposition which rebels against mo-
notony, and whose originality shines through every-.
i8jo to 1850. 209
thing, and in spite of everything. He is fluent in
five or six languages, and entertains with droll con-
ceits, or with reminiscences of famous artists and
composers. ... In the wild rhythms of the gypsy
dance, in the fierce splendour of the patriotic hymn,
the player and audience alike are fired with excite-
ment. The passion rises, the tumult waxes furious ;
a tremendous sweep of the bow brings the music to
an end ; and then we can say that we have heard
The gypsy dance and the patriotic hymn !
And yet he was weighed in the balance with
Wilhelmj, who played the grandest and best
music in the most refined, musicianly manner,
and whose tour in America marked an epoch
in the musical life of the country.
In his prime Remenyi was the master of
an enormous technique, and the possessor
of a strongly pronounced poetic individuality.
His whole soul was in his playing, and his
impulse carried him away with it as he
warmed to his task, and it carried the audi-
ence too. His greatest success was in the
2io Famous Violinists.
playing of Hungarian music, some of which
he adapted for his instrument, but the storm-
ier pieces of Chopin which he arranged for
the violin were given by him with tremen-
dous effect. In the more tender pieces, such
as the nocturnes of Field and of Chopin, he
played with the utmost dreaminess.
His individuality showed in his playing.
He was impulsive and uncertain, a wander-
ing musician, who, when the whim took him,
would disappear from public view altogether.
When he made a success in any place his
restless nature would not allow him to
follow it up, so that when his prime was
past, instead of having formed connec-
tions which should have lasted him for the
rest of his life, he was still the wandering
musician, but without the marvellous powers
which he had wielded only a few years
During his long career he toured Australia
and almost all the islands of the Pacific, also
1 8 JO tO 1850, 21 I
Java, China, and Japan ; in fact, he went where
few, if any, violinists of his ability had been
Once upon a time the representative of a
London newspaper went to interview Re-
menyi, and was surprised to find that the vio-
linist was not only willing to tell him much,
but even proposed questions which he should
answer. He said that he had played in the
6o's before the natives of South Africa, and
had been shipwrecked, after which he had
the pleasure of reading some very fine obit-
uary notices. In New Zealand he found
the Maoris perfectly reckless in their demand
for encores, and instead of playing six pieces,
as announced on his programmes, he fre-
quently had to play sixteen.
In South Africa he discovered thirty out of
his collection of forty-seven old and valuable
violins. Most of them were probably the
property of the Huguenots, who after the
edict of Nantes went to Holland and thence
212 Famous Violinists.
to South Africa, to which place they were
banished by the Dutch government.
It was related by Remenyi that when he
was a young man in Hamburg, in 1853, he
was to appear at a fashionable soiree one
night, but at the last moment his accom-
panist was too ill to play. Remenyi went
to a music store and asked for an accom-
panist. The proprietor sent Johannes
Brahms, then a lad of sixteen, who was
struggling for existence and teaching for
a very small sum. Remenyi and Brahms
became so interested in each other that they
forgot all about the soiree, and sat up till
four the next morning chatting and playing
together. Remenyi's negligence of his en-
gagement resulted in the loss of any further
business in Hamburg, and together with
Brahms he set out for Hanover, giving con-
certs as they went, and thus earning suffi-
cient funds to carry them on their way.
At Hanover they called upon Joachim,
i8jo to 1850. 213
who arranged for them to play before the
court. After this they proceeded to the
Altenburg to see Liszt, who received them
warmly, and offered them a home. During
all this time Brahms received little or no
recognition, in spite of Remenyi's enthusiasm
in his cause, neither did he find very much
favour with Liszt, although the latter recog-
nised his talent. He therefore returned to
Hanover, where Joachim gave him a letter
to Schumann, and it was Schumann's enthu-
siastic welcome and declaration that a new
genius had arisen that established Brahms's
reputation in musical circles.
Remenyi said that Brahms, shortly after
his arrival at the Altenberg, offended Liszt
and his pupils by comfortably sleeping during
one of the famous lessons, which were in the
nature of a general class. This breach of
manners Brahms justified on the score of
being exhausted by his previous journey.
The death of Remenyi, which occurred on
214 Famous Violinists.
May 15, 1898, created a sensation through-
out the country. He had, after many mis-
givings, consented to appear in "vaudeville."
The financial inducement was large, and he
soothed his artistic conscience with the argu-
ment that his music would tend to elevate
the vaudeville rather than that the vaude-
ville would tend to degrade him. It was ^at
the Orpheus Theatre in San Francisco, and
it was his first appearance. He played one
or two selections, and being tremendously
applauded, and correspondingly gratified, he
returned and answered the encore with
the well-known " Old Glory." He was in
his best vein, and played as one inspired.
The audience literally rose with him, leaving
their seats in their excitement, and the
applause lasted several minutes. He came
forward, and in response to another burst
of applause commenced to play Delibes's
"Fizzicati." He had played but a few
measures when he leaned over as if to
1830 to 1850. 215
speak to one of the musicians in the orches-
tra. He paused a moment, and then fell
slowly forward on his face. One of the musi-
cians caught him before he touched the stage,
and thus prevented his rolling off. All was
Remenyi left a widow, a son, and a daugh-
ter, who lived in New York. His health had
been failing for some time, for in 1896, for
the first time in thirty years, he had, while
in Davenport, Iowa, been compelled to can-
cel all his engagements and rest. It is said
that Remenyi's real name was Hoffmann.
The name of Miska Hauser is seldom men-
tioned in these days, and yet it was once
known all over the world. No virtuoso of
his time travelled more extensively, and few
created more enthusiasm than did Hauser.
He was born in Pressburg, Hungary, in 1822,
and became a pupil of Bohm and of Mayse-
der at Vienna, also of Kreutzer and Sechter.
He is said to have acquired more of Mayse-
216 Famous Violinists.
der's elegant style and incisive tone than of
the characteristics of his other teachers, but
his talent was devoted to the acquisition of
virtuoso effects, which appeal to the majority
rather than to the most cultivated.
As a boy of twelve Hauser made an ex-
tensive and successful concert tour. In
1840 he toured Europe, and ten years later
went to London, and thence to the West
Indies and the United States, where he made
quite a sensation, and was a member of
Jenny Lind's company. He afterwards
visited San Francisco, where he got himself
into difficulties on account of Lola Montes.
Then he went to South America, visiting
Lima, where passionate Creoles languished
for him, Santiago, where a set of fanatics
excited the mob against him, declaring that
he was charmed by the devil, and Valparaiso,
where he suffered shipwreck.
He then proceeded to the Sandwich Is-
lands, where he played before the royal family
i8jo to 1850. 217
and all the dusky nobles. They listened
solemnly, but made no sign of approbation,
and Hauser felt that he was sinking into a
mere nothing in their esteem. In despera-
tion he tore the strings from his violin and
played, with all his power, several sentimen-
tal songs on the G string only. Then he
gave them Paganini's witches' dance. This
succeeded, and they gave a yell of joy
and wanted more. They particularly delighted
in harmonic effects, and before long were
willing to do anything for the foreigner who
could pipe on the wood as well as any bird.
He became a hero at Otaheite, but was
obliged to continue on his journey. He
next visited Australia, and while in Sydney
he made such a success that he was pre-
sented with the freedom of the city and
thanked by the government for his playing.
In 1860 he reached Turkey, where he
played before the Sultan, who beat time to
his music and seemed highly delighted.
2i 8 Famous Violinists.
Hauser had many amusing stories to tell of
his travels, and especially of his experiences
in the Sandwich Islands and Turkey, Cairo
and Alexandria. His adventures, which
were numerous and thrilling, were published
in two volumes, in Vienna.
Hauser was not the possessor of a great
technique, but there was something charac-
teristic and charming in his tone and manner-
isms, which were especially pleasing to the
fair sex. He was a man of restless, and, in
some respects, dissatisfied nature. Some of
his compositions are still to be found on
concert programmes, and these he used to
play exquisitely. Hauser lived in retirement
in Vienna after concluding his travels, and in
1 887 he died practically forgotten.
Few violinists succeeded more completely
in captivating their audiences than Henri
Wieniawski, whose impetuous Slavonic tem-
perament, with its warm and tender feeling,
gave a colour to his playing, which placed
i8jo to 1850. 219
his hearers entirely under his control, went
straight to their hearts, and enlisted their
sympathy from the very first note. Both
fingering and bowing were examples of the
highest degree of excellence in violin tech-
nique, and difficulties did not exist for him.
At times his fiery temperament may have led
him to exaggeration, and to a step beyond
the bounds of good taste, but this was lost
sight of in the peculiar charm of his playing,
its gracefulness and piquancy.
Wieniawski's tour in America, which took
place in 1872, when he accompanied Rubin-
stein, may be said to mark an era in the
musical life of this nation. These two great
artists revealed the possibilities of the musi-
cal art to a people who, while loving music,
were still in their infancy as far as musi-
cal development is concerned.
Wieniawski, like nearly all the great per-
formers, showed his talent while very young.
He was born in 1835 at Lublin, in Poland,
22O Famous Violinists.
where his father was a medical man. He
was taken to Paris by his mother when he
was only eight years old, and he entered the
Conservatoire, where he soon joined Mas-
sart's class, and when only eleven gained the
first prize for violin playing.
After this he made a concert tour in
Poland and Russia, but soon returned to
Paris to renew his studies, especially com-
position. In 1850 he went again on the
road, and with his brother Joseph, a pianist,
he gave concerts in most of the principal
towns in the Netherlands, France, England,
and Germany. In 1860 he was appointed
solo violinist to the Emperor of Russia, and
held that position for twelve years, residing
chiefly at St. Petersburg.
It was at the conclusion of this engage-
ment that he made his tour in the United
States with Rubinstein, who was his intimate
friend, and when the great pianist returned
to Europe Wieniawski remained in America
and succeeded in making a large fortune, trav-
elling all over the country and creating a
furore by his performances. This tour was
cut short toward the end of 1874 by a tele-
gram from Brussels offering him the position
of professor of violin at the Conservatoire,
during the illness of Vieuxtemps.
He remained in Brussels until 1877, when,
Vieuxtemps becoming convalescent, Wie-
niawski set forth once more on his travels.
At this time his health was failing, and an
incident took place at Berlin which is well
worth recording. During a concert he was
seized with a sudden spasm, and was com-
pelled to stop in the middle of a concerto.
Joachim was amongst the audience, and
came to the rescue, taking up Wieniawski's
violin and finishing the programme, thus
showing his friendship for the sufferer and
earning the enthusiastic applause of an
Notwithstanding his sufferings, Wieniawski
222 Famous Violinists.
continued his tour, but at Odessa he broke
It has been stated that he died unknown
and friendless in the hospital at Moscow,
and was buried by public charity ; but his son,
Jules Wieniawski, has contradicted this, and
states that he died in the house of the Count-
ess of Meek, and was buried by the Czar
Alexander III., of whom he was the friend
as well as the favourite violinist.
Wieniawski was a man of somewhat enthu-
siastic nature, and his actions were not always
tempered by the most perfect wisdom. It
was said that just before his marriage to Miss
Hampton he took a run up the Rhine, not,
like a wise man, waiting until he had some
one to take proper care of him. The con-
sequence was that he must just take an hour's
look into Wiesbaden to see several old
friends, and this led naturally to passing an
idle moment looking at the green table doings.
Here the excitement became too great for
1830 to 1850. 223
one of his temperament, and he felt com-
pelled to stake a small sum. A small sum
led to a larger amount, and when he left the
place he was poorer to the tune of forty
thousand francs, and he came away to his
bride a sadder and wiser man.
Although a great gambler, Wieniawski
owed the loss of a large part of his fortune to
the failure of a New York banking firm in
1873, rather than to his favourite propensity.
The friendship between him and Vieux-
temps was very strong, in fact it was
described as being ideal. Once, while Wie-
niawski was playing at a concert, Vieuxtemps
was among the audience, and, at the conclu-
sion of one of the violinist's solos, Vieux-
temps called, at the top of his voice, " Bravo,
Wieniawski ! " This drew attention to
Vieuxtemps, who was immediately recog-
nised by the audience and enthusiastically
Wieniawski's compositions number two and
224 Famous Violinists.
twenty. As a proof of the old adage that
" doctors do not always agree," we are told by
one excellent authority that his D minor con-
certo, the two polonaises, and his " Legende "
will probably never vanish from the violinist's
repertoire, and by another that Wieniawski's
compositions are not of much importance.
Both statements are no doubt true, for there
are many fascinating concert pieces which,
from the strictly classical point of view, are
not important additions to musical literature.
An American critic wrote of him, after his
first appearance : " In Wieniawski we have
the greatest violinist who has yet been heard
in America. ... Of all now living Joachim
alone can claim superiority over him."
This sweeping enthusiasm was not univer-
sal, for a critic more difficult to please wrote
as follows: "Wieniawski's playing is as per-
fect as a faultless technique, artistic culture,
great aesthetic sensibility, and perfect mastery
over himself and his instrument can make it
to l8$0. 22$
But with all its perfection we cannot but feel
that the great original, heaven-and-earth-mov-
ing master-soul is wanting."
He was also severely scathed by a critic in
New York in 1872, who wrote: "Some peo-
ple like pure, clear tone, others don't.
Those who admire scratching and false
stopping, together with sundry other things
of the same nature, would have experienced
wild joy upon hearing Beethoven's "Violin
Concerto " as it was played by Wieniawski ;
but for those who regard a correct intona-
tion as a thing of primal importance, it could
not have been pleasing. Wieniawski belongs
to that school of which Ole Bull is a promi-
nent member, whose first article of belief is
that genuine passion and fervour is signified
by rasping the strings."
Other criticisms of the same concert, how-
ever, were of a very different tenor, and when,
a week or two later, Wieniawski played the
same concerto in Boston, John S. Dwight
226 Famous Violinists.
praised the performance highly, and took
occasion to specially record his disagreement
with the eminent critic in New York.
While not technically the equal of one or
two of his contemporaries, Wieniawski played
with so much fire, and knew so well how to
reach the heart of his audience by methods
perfectly legitimate, that he must be ranked
among the greatest violinists.
Don Pablo Martin Meliton de Sarasate is a
name known throughout Europe and America,
if not throughout the civilised world. Sarasate
was born in Spain, in Pampeluna, the chief
city of Navarre. He was a youthful prodigy,
and played before the court of Madrid at the
age of ten, when Queen Isabella was so de-
lighted with him that she presented him with
a fine Stradivarius violin.
A couple of years later he was sent to
Paris, where he entered the Conservatoire,
and was admitted into Alard's class, while
M. Lassabathie, who was then administrator
ftfjo to 1850. 227
of the institution, took him into his house
and boarded him. This arrangement con-
tinued until the death, about ten years later,
of M. Lassabathie.
In the course of a year after entering the
Conservatoire, Sarasate won the first prize
for violin playing. From the first he
manifested remarkable facility in mechanical
execution, and his playing was distinguished
for elegance and delicacy, though nothing
indicated that his talent would become
For ten years after gaining the prize Sara-
sate remained a salon violinist, of amiable dis-
position, a ladies' virtuoso, with a somewhat
mincing style, who played only variations
on opera motives, and who was an entire
stranger to classical music.
Then came a complete change ; the char-
acter of his playing becoming serious, a large
and noble style replaced the mincing manner
which he had previously affected, and, instead
228 Famous Violinists.
of the showy trifles which had filled his
repertoire, he took to the works of the great
masters. By hard work he developed his
technical ability, so that he reached the limit
beyond which few, if any, violinists succeed
in passing. And all this he accomplished
without losing anything of the elegance of
his phrasing or of the infinite charm of his
Although Sarasate made Paris his home,
he began to travel as early as 1859, ar "d in
1872, when he played in Paris, he was wel-
comed as a new star. When his prestige
was well established in Paris his friends
advised him to go to Germany, but he feared
that so soon after the Franco-German war he,
who by long residence was practically a
Frenchman, would not be welcome. At last,
however, the entreaties of his friends pre-
vailed, and when Sarasate appeared at Leip-
zig he produced an immense sensation. Then
followed a series of tours in Germany, Russia,
i8jo to 1850. 229
Austria, England, and Belgium, which lasted
three years, and brought him much glory
and pecuniary gain.
In Vienna the celebrated critic, Hanslick,
wrote of him as follows : " There are few
violinists whose playing gives such unalloyed
enjoyment as the performance of this Span-
iard. His tone is incomparable, not power-
fully or deeply affecting, but of enchanting
sweetness. The infallible correctness of the
player contributes greatly to the enjoyment.
The moment the bow touches the Stradivarius
a stream of beautiful sound flows toward the
hearer. A pure tone seems to me the prime
quality of violin playing unfortunately,
also, it is a rare quality. Sarasate's virtuosity
shines and pleases and surprises the audience
continually. He is distinguished, not because
he plays great difficulties, but because he
plays with them."
Both in France and Germany Sarasate has
always been a great favourite, and is always
230 Famous Violinists.
sure of a large and enthusiastic audience,
even though he has passed the zenith
of his powers. He has never taken pupils,
but has confined himself to concert play-
ing only, and he has been called the
highest-priced player in Germany, where it
was said that he received three thousand
marks for a concert, while even Joachim
received only one thousand. He has received
many valuable gifts during his career, and
these he has presented to his native city,
Pampeluna, where they have been placed in
a museum by the municipal council. The
collection includes articles of great worth
from the Emperor William I. of Germany,
Napoleon III., the Emperor of Brazil, and
the Queen of Spain, and its value is esti-
mated at one hundred thousand francs.
Sarasate has visited the United States
twice, and won great favour, for his playing
is of the kind which appeals to the fancy,
graceful, vivacious, and pure toned, and he
to 1850. 231
plays Spanish dances in a manner never to
He has been compared with some of the
most eminent violinists thus: Vieuxtemps
was an artist with an ardent mind, and a mag-
nificent interpreter of Beethoven ; Joachim
towers aloft in the heights of serene poetry,
upon the Olympic summits inaccessible to
the tumults of passion ; Sivori was a daz-
zling virtuoso ; Sarasate is an incomparable
There are doubtless many who remember
the tour of August Wilhelmj, the celebrated
violinist, who visited the United States about
twenty years ago. He was considered sec-
ond to no artist then living in his general
command over the resources of his instru-
ment, and he excelled in the purity and vol-
ume of his tone, no less than in the brilliancy
of his execution. He did not possess the
warmth and impulsiveness which constituted
the charm of Wieniawski, but his perform-
232 Famous Violinists.
ances appealed to his audiences in a different
and more legitimate manner. He was even
a greater traveller than Remenyi, and visited
almost, if not quite, every civilised country.
His travels took him throughout Europe,
America, Australia, and Asia. He was, in
1885, invited by the Sultan of Turkey to
perform in his seraglio, the only violinist to
whom such a compliment had ever been paid.
The Sultan on this occasion decorated him
with the Order of the Medjidie, second class,
and presented him with some beautiful dia-
August Wilhelmj was born in 1845 at
Usingen, in the Duchy of Nassau, and, show-
ing his aptitude, was placed under Konrad
Fischer, a violinist of Wiesbaden, at the age
of six. His progress was so rapid that when
nine years old he played in a concert in
Limburg and received great applause. Wil-
helmj 's father was a lawyer of distinction
and a wealthy vine-grower, and, in spite of
1 8 jo to 1850. 233
the boy's progress, he did not favour the
idea of allowing him to take to the violin as
a profession, for he felt that the majority of
infant prodigies fail as they reach manhood.
But the boy had received much encourage-
ment, and persisted in his desire. Henrietta
Sontag, the celebrated singer, heard him play
Spohr's ninth concerto and "The Carnival of
Venice," and was so charmed that she said he
would become the German Paganini.
In the course of time Wilhelmj succeeded
in obtaining a concession from his father :
he was to get the judgment of a musical
authority on his capabilities, and, if favour-
able, no objection should be made to his
becoming a virtuoso. On the recommenda-
tion of Prince Emil of Wittgenstein, the
young violinist went in 1861 to Liszt at
Weimar, and after playing to him Spohr's
" Scena Cantante " and the Hungarian fan-
tasia by Ernst, he was asked to play several
pieces at sight. At the end of this trial
234 Famous Violinists.
Liszt sprang from his seat, calling out in a
loud voice, " Ay ! indeed you are predesti-
nated to become a violinist so much so
that for you the violin must have been in-
vented if it had not already existed." This
judgment satisfied the father, and a few days
later Liszt himself took the boy to Leipzig
and introduced him to Ferdinand David, say-
ing, " Let me present to you a future Paga-
nini. Look well to him ! " For three years
Wilhelmj was a pupil of David, and at the
same time studied the theory of music with
Richter and Hausmann. In due course he
passed his examinations at the Leipzig Con-
servatory, playing Joachim's Hungarian
In 1865 he began his concert tours, travel-
ling through Switzerland and Holland to
England, and from this time he seems
to have been almost continually travelling.
During 1869, 1870, and 1871 he made a
long tour in England with Charles Santley,
1 830 to 1850. 235
the great singer. In 1876 he led the violins
at the Nibelungen performance at Bayreuth,
and the Wagner concerts in London, at the
Albert Hall, in 1877, were due to his repre-
sentations. In 1882, after travelling all over
the globe, he spent some time in Russia, but
presently returned to Germany and estab-
lished a violin school at Biberich, which,
however, he abandoned after a time.
From time to time he continued to play in
public, but gradually withdrew and lived
in retirement at Blasewitz, near Dresden.
Eventually he went to London, where he was
appointed professor at the Guildhall School
of Music. Unfortunately, his powers have
been on the wane for some years past, but
though the days of his public performances
are past, he is known as a most patient and
painstaking teacher. The high esteem in
which he has been held was quaintly ex-
pressed by an eminent musician, who referred
to his decadence in these words : " Ah, if
236 Famous Violinists,
Wilhelmj had not been what he is, Joachim
would never have been what he is." By
which one may infer that Wilhelmj was, in
some respects, a greater man than Joachim.
In 1894 Wilhelmj married Marcella
Mausch-Jerret, of Dresden, a distinguished
Wilhelmj 's first appearance in America took
place on September 26, 1878, in New York,
and his playing caused an unusual demonstra-
tion. He was described in the following
words : "His figure is stately, his face and
attitude suggest reserve force and that
majestic calm which seems to befit great
power. ... A famous philosopher once said
that beauty consists of an exact balance be-
tween the intellect and the imagination. The
violin performance of Wilhelmj exhibits this
just proportion more perfectly than the work
of any other artist of whom we have personal
knowledge. Wilhelmj himself has said,
'After all, what the people want is intel-
i8jo to 1850. 237
lectual playing,' that is, playing with a clear
Neither his character nor his playing was
of such a nature as to appeal to the great
mass of people in the way in which Remenyi
and Ole Bull won their hearts. Wilhelmj
was massive in person and in tone. He
stood for dignity in his actions, appearance,
and playing, and was honoured by the more
cultivated and educated portion of the people.
He is regarded by musicians as one of the
greatest violinists who ever visited America,
and at the present day visiting artists are
spoken of as "one of the best since Wil-
helmj," or, " not to be compared with Wil-
helmj," and by many Ysaye is regarded as
" the best since Wilhelmj."
Martin Pierre Joseph Marsick, who was
born at Jupille, near Liege, on March 9, 1848,
is one of the foremost solo and quartet violin-
ists of the day, with a remarkable technique
and admirable intelligence, power, and fire.
238 Famous Violinists.
When eight years of age he was placed at
the music school at Liege, where in two
years he gained the first prize in the prepara-
tory classes. In 1864 he secured the gold
medal, which is awarded only to pupils of
He now entered the Brussels Conserva-
toire, where his expenses were met by a
lady who was a musical enthusiast, and he
studied for two years under Leonard, work-
ing at the same time in composition under
Kufferath. In 1868 he went to Paris, where
he studied for a season under Massart.
In 1870 Mar sick proceeded to Berlin,
where, through the instrumentality of a
government subvention, he was enabled to
study under Joachim. After that he began
to travel, and soon acquired a great reputa-
tion. He was said to equal, if not exceed,
Sarasate in the wonderful celerity of his
scales, and in lightness and certainty. His
tone is not very full, but is sweet and clear.
MARTIN PIERRE JOSEPH MARSICK
1830 to 1850. 239
His playing is also marked by exceptional
smoothness, scholarly phrasing, and graceful
accentuation, but, in comparison with some
of the other great players, he lacks breadth
and passion. He appeals rather to the edu-
cated musician than to the general public,
and for that reason many people were some-
what disappointed when he played in the
United States in 1896. He was compared
with Ysaye, a player of an entirely different
stamp, and he suffered in popular estimation
by the comparison.
To this period also belong a number of
excellent violinists whose names are seldom
heard in America,, Edmund Singer, a Hun-
garian, born in 1831, by $int of hard work
and talent reached a high position. He
became celebrated as a teacher, and was for
years professor of violin at the conservatory
in Stuttgart. He was also largely instru-
mental in the establishment of the Musical
Artists' Society of that place.
240 Famous Violinists.
Ferdinand Laub was a virtuoso of high
rank who was born in Prague in 1832. He
succeeded Joachim at Weimar, but two years
later became violin teacher at the Stern-Marx
conservatory in Berlin, also concert-master
of the royal orchestra and chamber vir-
' Heinrich Karl de Ahna was an excellent
artist, and was for some years second violin
in the famous Joachim quartet. At the age
of fourteen he had already made a success-
ful concert tour, and become chamber vir-
tuoso to the Duke of Coburg-Gotha. He
then abandoned the musical profession and
entered the army, fighting in the Italian
campaign as lieutenant. After the war he
returned to his profession, and became leader
of the royal band in Berlin and professor
at the Hochschule. He died in 1892.
Russia also produced an excellent vio-
linist, Wasil Wasilewic Besekirskij, who was
born at Moscow, and after a career as vir-
1 8 jo to 1850. 241
tuoso in the west of Europe returned to his
native city. He is the composer of some
good violin music and has formed some ex-
cellent pupils, of whom Gregorowitsch is
perhaps best known.
In England, John Tiplady Carrodus and
the Holmes brothers attained high rank.
Carrodus was a native of Keighley, York-
shire. His father was a barber, and it was
only by the most constant self-denial and
incessant hard work that the boy succeeded
in securing his education. He walked with
his father twelve miles in order to hear
Vieuxtemps play, and to take his lessons he
walked each week ten miles to Bradford,
usually getting a ride back in the carrier's
cart. He became a pupil of Molique, and
eventually one of the best known violinists
of England, where his character as a man was
always highly respected.
Alfred Holmes was born in 1837 and his
brother Henry in 1839. They appeared to-
242 Famous Violinists.
gather at the Haymarket Theatre in 1847,
but immediately withdrew from public life
and continued their studies for six more
years. In 1853 they again appeared in
London, and then made a long concert tour
through the north of Europe. Finally they
settled in Paris, where, nine years later,
Alfred died. Henry Holmes became the
chief professor of violin at the Royal Col-
lege of Music in London, and has been also
active as a composer and editor of violin
' Jacob Grlin, too, who was born in 1837 at
Buda-Pesth, and who, after a career as con-
cert soloist in Europe, became a teacher in
the Vienna conservatory, should not be for-
gotten. Several of his pupils are now hold-
ing valuable positions in the United States,
and he is an excellent teacher, besides being
popular and kind-hearted.
Eduard Rappoldi, the leader of the Royal
Court Orchestra at Dresden, has a high
i8jo to 1850. 243
reputation as a sound and earnest player
and excellent teacher. He was born in
Vienna in 1839, and was at one time a
teacher in the Hochschule at Berlin, but
went to Dresden in 1877.
JOSEPH JOACHIM is one of the musical
giants of the nineteenth century. He will
be remembered as one whose life has been
interwoven with the lives of the greatest
musicians of his day, as one of the great-
est educators in his line who ever lived, and
as the embodiment of the purest and highest
ideas in public performance.
Joachim is called the greatest violinist of
modern times, and no better words can be
found to describe his characteristics than
those of Wasielewski, who says : " Joachim's
incomparable violin playing is the true chef-
d'oeuvre, the ideal of a perfect violinist (so
far as we present-day critics can judge). Less
cannot, dare not, be said, but, at the same
time, more cannot be said of him or of any
one, and it is enough. But that which raises
him above all other contemporary violinists
and musicians generally is the line he takes
in his professional life. He is no virtuoso in
the ordinary sense, for he is far more, before
all he will be a musician. And that he un-
questionably is, a magnificent example to
young people, who are to some extent pos-
sessed of the demon of vanity, of what they
should do and what they should leave
undone. Joachim makes music, and his
preeminent capabilities are directed toward
the serving one true, genuine art, and he is
Joachim was born on June 28, 1831, in
the village of Kittsee, in Hungary, within
the small radius which has produced three
other great musicians, Haydn, Hummel,
and Liszt. He began to study the violin
when he was five years old, and was placed
246 Famous Violinists.
under Servaczinski, leader of the opera or-
chestra at Pesth. In two years he made his
first public appearance at a concert at Pesth,
when he played a duet concerto for two vio-
lins and orchestra with his master, and a solo
on a theme by Schubert, with variations. He
was now (1841) sent to Vienna, where he
entered the conservatoire and studied under
Bohm for two years. At the end of this time
he went to Leipzig, where he met with Men-
delssohn and played in a concert of Madame
Viardot's. A few months later he appeared
as a finished artist in a Gewandhaus con-
cert, and played Ernst's " Otello Fantasie."
Leipzig was then, under Mendelssohn's
guidance, in the zenith of its fame, and for
a boy of twelve to appear in a Gewandhaus
concert and earn, not only the applause of
the audience, but also the praise of the critics,
was something very unusual. But a still
greater honour was in store for him, the
following year he took part, in a Gewand-
haus concert, in a concertante for four vio-
lins by Maurer, the other performers being
Ernst, Bazzini, and David, all violinists of
renown and very much his seniors.
Joachim remained in Leipzig until 1850,
studying with Ferdinand David, while Haupt-
mann gave him instruction in composition,
though during this time he occasionally trav-
elled in Germany and elsewhere to play in
concerts. Thus in 1844 Mendelssohn brought
him to England, where he played in public
for the first time at a benefit concert of Mr.
Bunn's at Drury Lane, in March, 1844, and
in May of the same year he appeared at the
fifth Philharmonic concert and played Bee-
thoven's concerto with very great success. In
this year two other violinists of note made
their first appearance at the Philharmonic
concerts, Ernst and Sainton, also Piatti,
the great violoncellist. Joachim visited Eng-
land again in 1847, and since that time so
frequently that he became one of the regular
248 Famous Violinists.
features of musical life in that country, where
he has been so highly honoured.
Joachim's first appearance in Paris was
made in 1849, when he spent two months in
that city, and began his successes by playing
in an orchestral concert given by Hector
Berlioz. About this time Franz Liszt, who
had heard of Joachim's rapidly increasing
reputation, invited him to go to Weimar
and lead the orchestra which he conducted.
Joachim accepted the invitation and remained
in Weimar two years. He could never be
brought to see the beauty of the new school
of music, and while he recognised the extraor-
dinary gifts, and admired the personality
and brilliant qualities of Liszt, he could
not be prevailed upon to remain in Weimar
longer than two years.
In 1854 he accepted the post of conductor
and solo violinist to the King of Hanover, a
position which he retained for twelve years,
during which time he enhanced his reputa-
tion as a musician, and married Amalia
Weiss, a celebrated contralto singer. In
1866 the troubles which enveloped Germany
brought Joachim's engagement in Hanover to
an end, but two years later he entered upon
what has proved to be the most important
part of his career, when he was appointed
professor of violin at the Hochschule for
music in Berlin. This school was a new
branch of the already existing Academy of
Arts, and was to be a high school for
musical execution, as apart from composi-
Joachim threw his whole heart into the
new work before him, and the branch of
the school under his direction soon rivalled
any similar school. Various branches were
added to the school, in 1871 a class for
organ, in 1872 classes for brass instruments,
double-bass, and solo vocalists, in 1873 a
chorus class. In 1875 the Royal Academy
of Arts was reorganised and became the
250 Famous Violinists.
Royal High School for Music, with Joachim
That Joachim had earned a very high posi-
tion as early as 1859 is shown by an extract
from the Musical World of London, in that
" So long as virtuosi walked (or galloped)
in their proper sphere, they amused by their
mechanical tours de force, charmed by their
finesse and did no great harm to musical
taste. They were accepted cum grano salts,
applauded for their dexterity, and admired
for the elegance with which they were able
to elaborate thoughts in themselves of every
slight artistic worth. But recently our ' vir-
tuosi ' have been oppressed with a notion
that, to succeed in this country, they must
invade and carry by storm the ' classics ' of
the art, instead of adhering exclusively as
of old to their own fantasies and jeux de
marteaux. One composition after another by
the great masters is seized upon and worried.
If they were things of flesh and blood, and
could feel the gripe, be conscious of the
teeth, and appreciate the fangs of these rapid-
devouring ' virtuosi,' concertos, sonatas, trios,
etc., would indeed be in a pitiable condition.
Happily, being of the spirit, they bleed not,
but are immortal.
" One great result attending Herr Joa-
chim's professional visit to London is, that it
enables both professors and amateurs oppor-
tunity after opportunity of studying his man-
ner of playing the works of the giants of
music. How Herr Joachim executes these
compositions how differently from the self-
styled ' virtuosi,' how purely, how modestly,
how wholly forgetful of himself in the text he
considers it an honour being allowed to
interpret to the crowd we need scarcely
remind our readers. Not a single eccentri-
city of carriage or demeanour, not a moment
of egotistical display, to remind his hearers
that, although Beethoven is being played, it
252 Famous Violinists.
is Joachim who is playing, ever escapes this
truly admirable and (if words might be al-
lowed to bear their legitimate signification)
most accomplished of ' virtuosi.' '
As an example of Joachim's conscientious-
ness, the following little anecdote will serve
to give an idea. Joachim once introduced
into the point d'orgue of Beethoven's con-
certo a cadence terminated by a trait en
octave, which caused an extraordinary effect.
People spoke only of this cadence ; it was the
event of the evening wherever he played.
This success wounded his feelings of artistic
probity ; he considered it unbecoming that
people should be more taken up with the
skill of the executant than with the beauties
of the music, and the cadence was sup-
During the many years of his connection
with the Hochschule, Joachim's personal
influence has been exerted upon a large num-
ber of pupils, in fact almost every well-known
violin player has been to Berlin to seek his
advice and instruction, and the players he has
perfected are almost without number. Many
anecdotes are told concerning his kindness to
his pupils, but so greatly is he sought after
that comparatively few of the hundreds who
flock to Berlin are able to reach him.
Joachim's early training and education
developed his character both as a musician
and as a man. The influence of Mendels-
sohn, whose friendship ended only with his
death, of David, Schumann, Liszt, Berlioz,
and Brahms, who was largely indebted to
Joachim for the introduction of many of his
works to the public, brought out the thor-
ough uprightness, firmness of character and
earnestness of purpose, and that intense dis-
like of all that is artificial or untrue in art,
which have made him a great moral power in
the musical world.
He combines in a unique degree the
highest executive powers with the most
254 Famous Violinists.
excellent musicianship. Unsurpassed as a
master of the instrument, he uses his powers
of execution in the services of art, and repre-
sents the perfection of a pure style and legiti-
mate school, with breadth and fidelity of
interpretation. His performances undoubt-
edly derive their charm and merit from the
strength of his talent and of his artistic
character, and are stamped with a striking
originality of conception ; at the same time
fidelity to the text, and careful endeavour
to enter into the spirit and feeling of the
composer, are the principles of executive art
which Joachim has invariably practised.
In the rendering of Bach's solos, Beetho-
ven's concertos and quartets, he has no
rival, and for the revival of many great works
the musical world is indebted to him. Of
these, one instance may be cited, viz., the vio-
lin concerto (Op. 61) of Beethoven, which was
first played by Clement, December 23, 1806.
This concerto bears evidence of having been
written in a hurry. Clement played it at
sight without rehearsal, and, as a conse-
quence of its being brought forward in such
a slipshod manner, it was very seldom heard
until its revival by Joachim. The MS.
shows that the solo part was the object
of much thought and alteration by the
composer, but evidently after the first per-
As a composer, Joachim has contributed
work of value to the literature of the violin.
His " Hungarian Concerto " is a creation of
real grandeur, built up in noble symphonic
proportions. Most of his works are of a
grave, somewhat melancholy character, and
all of them are marked by earnestness of
purpose and a high ideal.
The jubilee of Joachim's life as a violin
player was celebrated in Berlin with great
ceremony and with unusual honour, and in
England a demonstration was made in his
honour by the public, who subscribed a sum
256 Famous Violinists.
of about $6,000, with which was purchased
an instrument of wonderful beauty, a cele-
brated "Red Strad," which was presented
to him at a public meeting held at the con-
clusion of the Monday Popular Concerts, in
This celebration was, however, quite
eclipsed by that of the sixtieth anniversary
of his first public appearance, which was
held at Berlin on April 22, 1899. A grand
concert was given at the Philharmonie, with
an orchestra consisting of two hundred per-
formers. There were ninety violins, thirty
violas, twenty-one 'celli, and twenty double-
basses, and of these all except the double-
basses had been pupils of Joachim, the violas
and 'celli having been his pupils in chamber
music. They had come from all over Europe
to take part in the festival. Nearly half of
the violins were concert-masters, and many
of them famous soloists, as Carl Halir, Henri
Petri, Jeno Hubay, Willy Hess, Gustav Hoi-
laender, Gabrielle Wietrowitz, Marie Soldat,
Joachim entered the hall at half-past six,
and was greeted with a deafening fanfare
played by the combined trumpeters of the
military bands stationed in Berlin. The
audience rose in a body and added its cheers
to the noise of the trumpets. A large arm-
chair, beautifully decorated with flowers and
wreaths, was reserved as a seat of honour
for the great musician.
The seventh number on the programme
was left vacant, but when it was reached the
orchestra began the introduction to Beetho-
ven's concerto. No soloist was in sight,
but Gabrielle Wietrowitz and Marie Soldat,
his most celebrated women pupils, came
slowly down toward Joachim's chair, one
carrying a violin and the other a bow, which
they placed in his hands. Joachim, however,
did not wish to play, and did not yield ex-
cept under the force of persuasion, and then
258 Famous Violinists.
he said : " I have not had a violin in my
hands for three days ; I am in no mood to
play ; moreover, there are many in the or-
chestra who can play it better than I, but
I don't want to refuse." So Joachim played
the great concerto, and received an ovation
such as had probably never been accorded
to him before. Then he conducted Bach's
concerto in G major for strings, which
was played by sixty-six violins, fifty-seven
violas, twenty-four 'celli, and twenty double-
basses, and this brought the concert to a
The concert was followed by a banquet
at which there were eight hundred guests,
and the festivities lasted until four o'clock
the next morning. No violinist was ever
more respected or beloved by his pupils,
nor did one ever wield a more powerful
influence in the musical world. To be put
forward by Joachim gives one a high stand-
ing in the musical world to begin with, but
few indeed are those who receive this priv-
ilege in comparison with those who desire it.
Joachim is not a builder of technique
or a teacher of beginners. Pupils who are
accepted by him must be already proficient
technicians, and it may be stated that the
teacher who can prepare pupils for Joachim
stands high in the profession. Joachim is
a great adviser, a former of style, and a
master of interpretation, to whom pupils
flock two or three years too early, and feel
aggrieved if they are not at once accepted.
" What else can you do ? " he once asked
of a young man who desired to become a
great violinist, and had sought Joachim's
"I think I would like to study for the
ministry," was the reply.
" It is much better to be a good minister
than a poor violinist," said Joachim, looking
him full in the face.
His liberality is proverbial, and after a
260 Famous Violinists.
long and successful life, during which he
has received high salaries, he is not rich.
He seldom refuses to play gratis for any
really worthy object, and the anecdotes of
his kindness toward his pupils are without
Few men have shone with such an even,
steady lustre, through a long life. Others
have come up, flourished, and sunk into
oblivion, but the light of Joachim has shone
steadily for more than sixty years, and as
an interpreter of the classics he has never
been excelled, and perhaps never will be.
VIOLINISTS OF TO-DAY.
IN these latter days the number of good
violinists seems to have increased greatly. A
season seldom passes without witnessing the
de"but of some half-dozen aspirants for public
approbation, but the great majority of them
settle down into some special field of labour,
and do not acquire world-wide fame as vir-
Virtuosity to-day depends very largely on
the art of advertising. In the old days of
Viotti and Spohr, the violinist would remain
in a city for months, make acquaintances,
and gradually acquire a reputation which
would justify his giving some concerts. A
262 Famous Violinists.
tour lasting from three to six years would
cover a comparatively small amount of
To-day the concert agent searches among
the new lights for one or two who seem, in
his judgment, likely to please the audiences
to whom he caters, and who will justify the
curiosity roused by the wholesale advertising
done in their behalf.
The violinist is rushed from one place to
another with mechanical precision, and flits
from Maine to California and from Canada
to the Gulf in a few short weeks. There
are more soloists, more concerts, more musi-
cal organisations than ever before.
It does not follow by any means that the
travelling virtuoso is one of the greatest
violinists of his time. There are, in every
city of Europe and in many cities of Amer-
ica, violinists who equal or even excel many
of those who are exploited as virtuosi. The
great violinists are not to be found every
Violinists of To-day. 263
day. In the past twenty years, perhaps, not
more than two can be recalled who have
visited the United States as mature, great
artists, Wilhelmj and Ysaye. Many vio-
linists of excellent ability have been heard,
and to some of them some day the adjective
great may be applied. The fact that they
have devoted their energies to concert work,
and have been favourably received by the
most important musical organisations, makes
them celebrated, but the word great can
apply but to few.
' Adolf Brodsky, who came to America in
1892, and who is a violinist of much ability,
with a beautiful tone, facile and brilliant
technique, but somewhat lacking in elegance
and polish, did not come to tour the country
as a virtuoso. He was engaged by Mr.
Walter Damrosch as concert-master for
the New York orchestra, but during his
stay in this country he appeared in many
of the most important concerts, and was
264 Famous Violinists.
considered one of the best violinists who
had ever come to live in America.
Brodsky was born in 1851 at Taganrog,
in Southern Russia, and was one of those
who found his profession at the age of four,
when he bought a violin at a fair, and began
to pick out Russian folk-tunes.
For four years he was taught music at
home, and made good progress. Then a
wealthy gentleman was attracted by his
talent, hearing him play at a concert at
Odessa, and provided the funds necessary
for him to go to Vienna and study under
Hellmesberger. He became second violin in
the celebrated Hellmesberger Quartet, and
thus gained a great reputation as a quartet
After travelling all over Europe for four
years, he was appointed second professor of
the violin at the Conservatory of Moscow,
where he remained another four years. Then
followed more study and more travel until,
Violinists of To-day. 265
when Schradieck accepted the position of
violin teacher at the Cincinnati conservatory,
Brodsky was appointed to fill his place at
Leipzig. In 1892 he was called to New
York, but, owing to troubles which arose in
the musical profession, he returned to Eu-
rope the following year, and, after a short
sojourn in Berlin, received the appointment
of director of the Royal College of Music
at Manchester, England, where he succeeded
Sir Charles Halle.
"Emil Sauret is well known in America,
for he visited the United States in 1872-
73, and made a tour which was so suc-
cessful, that it was repeated in 1874,
when he travelled with lima di Murska, the
great singer, and his wife, Teresa Careno,
Sauret began his public career at the age
of eight. He was born at Dun-le-Roi, in the
department of Cher, in France, in 1852, and
at the age of six entered the conservatory at
266 Famous Violinists.
Strasburg, after some preliminary instruc-
tion at home. In two years he began his
travels, and for several years he divided his
time between study and travel.
As a boy he was taken up by De BeYiot,
who was much interested in his welfare.
He studied under Vieuxtemps in Paris, and
in 1872 was one of the artists engaged for
the tour organised by the President of the
French Republic for the relief of the suf-
ferers by the Franco-German war.
In 1879 ne was appointed teacher at the
Stern Conservatory in Berlin, a post which
he relinquished on being offered the position
made vacant in the Royal Academy of Music,
London, by the death of Sainton.
M. Sauret is pronounced conservative and
conscientious to the last degree in handling
the classics, and, although he has great
individuality, passion, and fire, he would
consider it a sacrilege to obtrude his own
personality upon the listener. He is distin.
Violinists of To-day. 267
guished for elegance rather than perfection
of technique. He may be considered a rep-
resentative of the extreme French school.
In temperament he is quick and somewhat
impatient. He expects much of his pupils,
and is the very opposite of the painstaking,
In 1896 M. Sauret again visited the
United States, when it was admitted by
those who had heard him twenty years
before that he had grown to a consummate
and astounding virtuoso. His tone was firm,
pure, and beautiful, though not large. Mar-
sick and Ondricek had preceded him by a
few weeks, but Sauret did not suffer by
One of the most remarkable violinists of
the present day is Ce'sar Thomson, who was
born at Liege in 1857. He entered the
conservatory of his native place, after re-
ceiving some instruction from his father,
and had completed the regular course by the
268 Famous Violinists.
time he was twelve years of age, after which
he became a pupil of Leonard.
At the age of eighteen he made a concert
tour through Italy, and while there became
a member of the private orchestra of the
Baron de Derwies. In 1879 ne became a
member of the Bilse Orchestra, and in 1882,
having won distinction at the musical festival
at Brussels, he was appointed professor of
the violin in the Liege conservatory.
Most of his travelling has been done since
that time, and he has acquired an immense
reputation in Europe. In Leipzig, at a
Gewandhaus concert in 1891, he made a
phenomenal success, and in 1898 at Brussels
he received five enthusiastic recalls from a
cold and critical audience, for his magnificent
performance of the Brahms concerto.
M. Thomson's command of all the tech-
nical resources of the violin is so great that
he can play the most terrific passages with-
out sacrificing his tone or clearness of phras-
Violinists of To-day. 269
ing, and his octave playing almost equals
that of Paganini himself. Yet he is lacking
in personal magnetism, and is a player for
the musically cultivated rather than for the
multitude, though his technique fills the
listener with wonder. He visited the United
States in 1896, and was, like Marsick, com-
pared with Ysaye, who at that time swept
everything before him and carried the
country by storm.
In 1897 Cesar Thomson left Liege, owing,
it is said, to disagreements at the Conser-
vatoire, and made his home at Brussels.
The greatest of Belgian violinists of to-
day is Eugene Ysaye, who possesses that
magnetism which charms alike the musician
and the amateur, because of his perfect
musical expression. He possesses the in-
explicable and inexpressible something which
takes cold judgment off its feet and leads
* Ysaye was born at Liege in 1858, and,
2/o Famous Violinists.
after studying at the conservatories of his
native town under his father and at Brussels,
entered that of Paris, where he completed
the course in 1881, and immediately after-
ward started on a series of concert tours.
Ysaye's eminence as a violinist has been
gained by hard work. He did not burst
meteor-like upon the world, but he earned
his position in the violin firmament by ten
years of concert touring, during which time
he passed successively through the stages
of extreme sentimentality until he reached
the " sea " of real sentiment.
It was in 1873 that Ysaye, after prepara-
tion given chiefly by his father, made his
way to Brussels and sought out Wieniawski,
then professor at the Conservatoire. Wie-
niawski was teaching, when a note was
brought to him marked "private and im-
portant." The servant was told to show
the bearer in, and Ysaye, then about fifteen
years of age, timidly entered the room carry-
Violinists of To-day. 271
ing his violin. After a little preliminary
conversation which allowed the youth to tell
his history, Wieniawski asked him what he
would play, and in reply he placed on the
piano desk a concerto of Vieuxtemps. The
result of his performance was that he at
once became a pupil of Wieniawski, with
whom he remained some three years, during
the period in which Vieuxtemps was recov-
ering from his paralytic shock. In 1876
Vieuxtemps heard him at Antwerp, and
through his influence the Belgian govern-
ment was induced to grant Ysaye a stipend
in order to allow him to pursue his studies
at Paris. There he was the pupil of Massart,
who had also been the teacher of Wieniawski,
Ysaye's master at Brussels. Vieuxtemps
is said to have expressed the desire, while
in Algiers during his latter years, to have
Ysaye stay with him to play his composi-
tions, but Ysaye was at that time in St.
Petersburg. When Vieuxtemps died and
272 Famous Violinists.
his remains were brought to Verviers, his
birthplace, Ysaye carried in the procession
the violin and bow of the virtuoso on a black
velvet cushion fringed with silver.
When Ysaye first appeared in America
he was a mature artist, the recognised leader
of the Belgian school of violinists, the first
professor of violin at the Brussels Conser-
vatoire, and the possessor of many decora-
tions and honours bestowed upon him by
Before he had been in America a month
he was acknowledged to be the greatest
violinist who had visited this country for
A man of large and powerful physique,
he plays with a bold and manly vigour, and
yet with exquisite delicacy. He is a master
of phrasing and of all beauties of detail,
has a wonderfully perfect technique, but
that quality which places him at the head
of all rivals is his musical feeling, his tem<
Violinists of To-day. 273
perament. He has been compared to Rubin-
stein and to Paderewski. He inspires his
hearers, or, as it was once expressed, very
neatly, "he creeps up under your vest."
He disarms criticism, and he seems to be
more completely part of his violin and his
violin of him than has been the case with
any other player who has visited these
shores for some years. He has given the
greatest performance of the celebrated Bach
chaconne ever heard in America. He has
been declared to be not inferior to Joachim
in his performance of this work, though he
has not so broad a tone as the latter, nor
as Wieniawski. He combines Sarasate's
tenderness of tone and showy technique
with more manliness and sincerity than
The student, perhaps, can learn more from
Cesar Thomson than from Ysaye, but he will
receive from the latter the greater inspira-
274 Famous Violinists.
Ysaye is noted, too, for sincerity of purpose
and seriousness such as few of the virtuosi
have possessed. He is free from all traits of
charlatanism and trickery. Once, when in
California, he was asked for an autograph
copy of a few measures of his original ca-
denza to the Beethoven concerto (an embel-
lishment which all violinists seem obliged to
compose), but he declared that he did not
like the idea of an original cadenza to Bee-
thoven's work, that it was much better to
omit it, as it formed no part of the concerto.
"In original cadenzas by virtuosi," he said,
"we find too much violin and too little mu-
sic," for which confession from such an artist
the world may be truly grateful.
When Ysaye came to America in 1894 he
was prepared with a repertoire consisting of
ninety-one pieces. Of these, fourteen were
concertos, seventeen sonatas, and eleven were
compositions of his own.
He made a second tour in America in
Violinists of To-day. 275
1898, when he confirmed the opinions al-
ready formed as to his wonderful qualities.
In March, 1899, ne wen t to Berlin, which
city he had not visited for several years, and
appeared as soloist of the tenth Nik^ch Phil-
harmonic concert, when he played the E
major concerto by Bach, and scored an over-
whelming success. At the end of the con-
cert he was recalled some fifteen times, and
had completely exploded the idea so firmly
held in Berlin, that the Belgians cannot play
Of late years M. Ysaye has made his mark
as a conductor, and has given a series of
orchestral concerts in Brussels. He organ-
ised and managed this enterprise entirely by
himself, without any guarantee fund, and the
concerts were so successful, financially as
well as artistically, that at the end of the
season it was found that they had paid
all expenses, and this, as all who know
anything about the financial side of or-
276 Famous Violinists.
chestral concerts, is a most remarkable
Few, if any, artists have been made the
recipients of more ridiculous adulation from
women. Paderewski perhaps being the only
exception, and at the conclusion of his con-
certs scenes have been witnessed which are
simply nauseating. This fashion is not con-
fined, by any means, to the United States, for
there are anecdotes from all countries illustra-
tive of the manner in which members of the
fair sex vie with each other in the effort to
do the silliest things.
Ysaye has a home near the Palais de Jus-
tice in Brussels. He is married to the
daughter of a Belgian army officer, and has
several children. He is a man of much
modesty, and is devoted to his family. As
a violinist he may be considered to rank next
' Carl Halir, who visited America in 1896,
was born in 1859 at Hohenelbe in Bohemia,
Violinists of To-day. 277
and was first taught by his father. He en-
tered the conservatory at Prague at the age
of eight, and remained there until he was
fourteen, studying under Bennewitz, after
which he went to Berlin and became a
pupil of Joachim.
For some time he was a member of the
Bilse orchestra, and then went to Konigsberg
as concert-master, after which he held a
similar position for three years at Mannheim,
and then at Weimar, where he married the
well-known singer, Theresa Zerbst.
On his first appearance, at the Bach festi-
val at Eisenath, he played with Joachim the
Bach double concerto, and was very success-
ful. He has made concert tours throughout
the greater part of Europe, and while in
America he was recognised as a broad ar-
tist. He is no virtuoso in the ordinary sense
of the word, but a classical, non-sensational,
well-educated musician, whose playing was
not dazzling or magnetic, but delighted by its
278 Famous Violinists.
intellectuality. He has an even and sympa-
thetic tone, and inspires the greatest respect
as an artist and as a man, and, while other
players may make greater popular successes,
Halir stands on a high artistic plane which
few can reach.
' Franz Ondricek, who visited the United
States also in 1896, was born at Prague in
1859, the same year as Halir, but is an artist
of an entirely different stamp. In his early
youth he was a member of a dance music
band, and his father taught him to play the
violin. It was not until he was fourteen
years of age that he was able to enter the
conservatory of his native town. Three
years later he was sent, through the gen-
erosity of a wealthy merchant, to Paris,
where he became a pupil of Massart. He
shared with Achille Rivarde the honour of
the first prize at the Conservatoire, since
which time he has been a wandering star,
and has never sought any permanent engage-
Violinists of To-day. 279
ment. His playing is marked by individuality
and dash, but he does not show to the best
advantage in the interpretation of the classics.
Charles Martin Loeffler, who shares the
first desk of the first violins in the Boston
Symphony Orchestra with Mr. Kneisel, is a
musician of the highest ability.
He was born in Muhlhausen, Alsace, in
1 86 1. He enjoyed the advantages of in-
struction under Joachim, in Berlin, after
which he continued his studies in Paris, with
Massart and Leonard, studying composition
with Guiraud. While in Paris he was a
member of Pasdeloup's celebrated orchestra,
and was afterward appointed first violin
and soloist in the private orchestra of Baron
Derwies, at Nice, of which orchestra C6sar
Thomson was also a member.
In 1 880 Mr. Loeffler crossed the Atlantic,
and took up his residence in New York, but
the following year he was engaged as sec-
ond concert-master and soloist in the Boston
280 Famous Violinists.
Symphony Orchestra, a position which he
has held ever since, and in which he has
had opportunity to display his exceptional
As a violinist he plays with largeness of
style, boldness of contrast, and exquisite
grace. He has a technique equalled by few,
and his performances have been confined to
music of the highest class. Mr. Loeffler has
never made a tour of the country as a virtu-
oso, but as soloist of the orchestra he has
been heard under the best conditions in
most of the large cities of the United States,
and has shown himself to be a virtuoso in
the best sense of the word.
As a composer Mr. Loeffler is distinctly
original and imaginative. His works are
both poetical and musical, and they display
high thought and exceptional knowledge.
His compositions include a sextet, a quintet,
and an octet, also a suite for violin and
orchestra, " Les Veill6es de l'Ukrame;"a
Violinists of To-day, 281
concerto for violoncello, which has been
played by Mr. Alwyn Schroeder ; a diverti-
mento for violin and orchestra, and a sym-
phonic poem, " La Mort de Tintagiles." Be-
sides these large works he has written a
number of songs, of which five are with
viola obligate. These works have been per-
formed by the Kneisel Quartet and the
Symphony Orchestra, the solo parts of the
suite and divertimento by the composer him-
self, and they have gained for him a reputa-
tion as a gifted and scholarly tone artist.
One of the most promising young violin-
ists of the century was a native of Brazil,
Maurice Dengremont, who was born in Rio
Janeiro, in 1867. He was the son of a
French musician who had settled in Brazil,
and who gave him his first lessons to such
good effect that, when only eight years of
age, he gave a concert, and the Brazilian
orchestra was so delighted with his playing
that its members presented him with a medal,
282 Famous Violinists.
to which the emperor added an imperial
crown, as a recognition of his talent.
He now became a pupil of Leonard, and
after three years' study he appeared in many
concerts, travelling throughout Europe and
England, and being received with enthusiasm.
About 1880 he visited America, but his
career ended shortly after, as he fell a victim
Dengremont was compared with Sarasate
and Wilhelmj, but all that could be said
about him was that he might have developed
into a player of their rank. As it was, he
disappointed his admirers, and died while
still quite young.
Of the many violinists who have made
their home in the United States there are
few whose accomplishments better entitle
them to a position among celebrated violin-
ists than Mr. Franz Kneisel.
Mr. Kneisel was called to Boston to fill
the position of concert-master of the Boston
Violinists of To-day. 283
Symphony Orchestra in 1885, and has held
that place for fourteen years, during which
time he has done much toward the cultiva-
tion of musical taste in America.
He was born in Roumania, of German
parents, in 1865, and gained his musical
education at Bucharest and at Vienna, where
he studied under Griin and Hellmesberger.
He then received the appointment of concert-
master of the H of burg Theatre Orchestra,
after which he went to Berlin to fill the same
position in Bilse's orchestra, following Halir,
Ysaye, and Cesar Thomson.
When he was called to Boston, at the
instance of Mr. Gericke, who was then the
conductor of the Symphony Orchestra, he
was only twenty years of age. He played,
on his first appearance as soloist, the Beetho-
ven concerto, and was at once recognised as
a violinist of remarkable ability.
Mr. Kneisel has never toured the country
as a virtuoso, but has been heard in many of
284 Famous Violinists.
the great cities of America, as solo violinist
with the Symphony Orchestra, and as first
violin of the Kneisel Quartet.
He is a master of technique, and sur-
mounts all difficulties with ease ; his tone is
pure, and, though not large, is satisfying, and
in his interpretation of the great works he
never attempts to enforce his personality
upon the hearer, in short, he is a true
artist. As a conductor he has marked ability,
and as a quartet player he has made a reputa-
tion which will live in the history of music
in America, if not in the whole world.
Charles Gregorowitsch, who visited Amer-
ica in 1898, has risen in a very short time to
a place among the leading violinists of the
He was born in 1867 at St. Petersburg,
and, his talent making itself manifest in the
usual manner, he was taught by his father
until he was of an age to be sent to Moscow,
where he studied until his fifteenth year,
Violinists of To-day. 285
under Beserkirskij and Wieniawski. From
Moscow he was sent to Vienna, where he
became a pupil of Dont, and finally he stud-
ied under Joachim in Berlin, where he gained
the Mendelssohn prize.
Gregorowitsch was the last pupil of Wie-
niawski, and that master was so impressed
with the great promise of the boy that on
first hearing him he offered to take him as
a pupil gratis. Few violinists have had the
advantage which has fallen to the lot of
Gregorowitsch, of receiving instruction from
so many great teachers.
Gregorowitsch has travelled extensively
throughout Europe, has been highly hon-
oured in Russia, where the Czar granted
him exemption from military service, and
decorated by the King of Portugal. In Lon-
don he made his first appearance in 1897,
at the Queen's Hall Symphony concerts.
M. Gregorowitsch is remarkable for a large
tone, and in the smoothness and finish of his
286 Famous Violinists.
playing he has been compared with Sauret
and with Sarasate.
A far greater sensation was caused in
America by Willie Burmester than by
Burmester was born in Hamburg in 1869,
and received his first instruction from his
father. He owned his first violin when he
was four years of age, and it came to him
from a Christmas tree. This served to show
the talent which he possessed, and the next
year he received a better violin, and began
to study in earnest.
When he was eight years old his father
took him to Berlin to consult Joachim, who
was, and is, regarded as the oracle for vio-
linists. Joachim gave some encouragement
to the parent, although he does not seem
to have given much to the boy, who in con-
sequence felt somewhat bitter. Four years
later he was again taken to the Berlin Hoch-
schule, to pass his entrance examination.
Violinists of To-day. 287
On this occasion he received the recognition
of the jury, and was admitted to the school,
where he began a rigorous course of techni-
cal study. At the end of four years' study
under Joachim he was refused a certificate,
for some reason not stated, and he went to
Helsingfors in Finland, where he worked
according to his own ideas, which were to
unlearn all he had studied, and begin afresh.
During this period he worked with the great-
est perseverance, practising nine or ten hours
a day, and thus developed the wonderful
technique which has astonished the world.
For three years he continued this work, sup-
porting himself meanwhile with a modest
appointment which he had obtained.
Before he left Berlin he had worn down
the end of his first finger to the nerve. This
troubled him to such a degree that he had sev-
eral operations for the purpose of removing
it, but the result was not wholly satisfactory.
Emerging from his retirement in 1894, he
288 Famous Violinists.
went to Berlin again, and gave a recital in
which he met with the most remarkable suc-
cess. It was written at the time : " Mr.
Burmester comes from an obscure town,
unheralded, and, in the face of indifference,
prejudice, and jealousy, conquered the me-
tropolis off-hand. For nearly half an hour
recall followed recall."
The following season he created an equal
impression in London, and shortly afterward
His technique has been described as " mar-
vellous, almost diabolical." Difficult pizzicato
passages and runs in thirds and tenths at top
speed are but as child's play to him. His
left hand pizzicato is marvellous, and he
makes runs in single and artificial harmonics
as quickly as most violinists can play an
ordinary scale. He plays harmonics with a
vibrato (Paganini played a double shake in
harmonics), and his staccato volante is devel-
oped to an astounding degree of perfection.
Violinists of To-day. 289
When Burmester played in London his
success was at once attributed to Joachim,
and he resented it, in view of the fact that
he had been denied his certificate and had
narrowly escaped musical suffocation at the
hands of that great master. He had already
made the same statement in Berlin, referring
to the fact of his retirement to Helsingfors,
and the development which he had acquired
there in solitude.
This announcement brought forth a deluge
of letters from " pupils of Joachim," and in a
couple of weeks Burmester wrote another
letter stating that he did not know the Hoch-
schule had as many pupils as those who had
claimed Joachim as their teacher, and who
were all unknown. " If one known pupil of
Joachim," he wrote, " will appoint a meeting
to interview me on the subject, I shall be
glad to continue it." But the one known
pupil did not come.
The complaint of Mr. Burmester, that the
290 Famous Violinists.
one idea at the Hochschule is technique,
is not new by any means. In every school
there are students with great talent, who find
it difficult to subject themselves to the rigid
discipline required by the teacher. It is the
stumbling-block on which many fall. It is,
nevertheless, a fact that without a solid tech-
nique the highest perfection in playing cannot
be reached, and it is usually regarded as a
hopeless case when the pupil antagonises the
teacher. Many pupils are apt to try and run
ahead of their technical ability, and do not
find out their mistake until it is too late.
The argument that Paganini was self-taught
leads many a young violinist into error.
If Burmester is to be judged by his playing
of the Beethoven concerto in Boston, good
musicians will declare that Joachim was right
in refusing the certificate, for while his tech-
nique was brilliant it appeared to lack foun-
dation. Time may justify the stand which
the young virtuoso has taken in opposition
Violinists of To-day. 291
to his teacher, for he is still young and has
time in which to develop. He has un-
doubted musical talent and great ability, but
while he may be a celebrated violinist he can
hardly yet be considered a great one, not-
withstanding the furore which he caused in
Burmester plays with unassuming simplic-
ity and without cheap display. He is sin-
cere, but without authority or distinction of
style. His tone is warm and pleasing, but
not large, his intonation is not always sure.
One of Burmester's earliest musical friends
was Hans Von Billow, and the friendship
extended over a period of three and a half
years, until Von Bulow went to Cairo shortly
before his death.
Von Bulow had inaugurated a series of
orchestral concerts in Berlin, and as they
interfered with the Philharmonic series every
effort was made to put a stop to them.
Musicians were forbidden to play for Von
292 Famous Violinists.
Biilow, and many obstacles were placed in
his way. Von Biilow's temperament was
such as to intensify the hostility rather than
succumb to it. Burmester was then only
sixteen years old, but his sympathy was with
Von Biilow, and he wrote a letter to him
offering his services, and expressing his con-
tempt for the injustice to which he was being
subjected. Von Biilow invited him to attend
the rehearsals, and printed the letter which
he had received. Burmester accepted the
invitation, and, going to the rehearsal, found
vacant a seat amongst the first violins, which
The rehearsal was about to commence
when Von Biilow paused and asked, " Which
of you gentlemen is Burmester ? "
The young fellow approached Von Biilow,
who had motioned him to come.
" Mr. Burmester," he said, " I have no
desk in the first row to offer you or it would
be yours. Gentlemen," he added, turning to
Violinists of To-day. 293
the musicians, " I wish to introduce to you
the guest of honour of my orchestra, Mr.
This was the beginning of a friendship,
through which the young violinist showed
unswerving loyalty, and it is now one of
his greatest desires to reach a point of inde-
pendence which will enable him to build a
monument to Von Billow's memory.
In 1893 a sensation was created in
America by the visit of Henri Marteau, a
young French violinist whose excellent play-
ing and charming personality delighted all
who heard him. Marteau was called "the
Paderewski of the Catgut," and he met
with a most cordial reception among musi-
Marteau was born at Reims in 1 874. His
father was an amateur violinist and president
of the Philharmonic Society of Reims. His
mother was an accomplished pianist, a pupil
of Madame Schumann. He therefore had
294 Famous Violinists.
every advantage in his early youth for the
development of musical taste. When he
was about five years of age Sivori paid a visit
to the family, and was so charmed with the
little fellow that he gave him a violin, and
persuaded his parents to let him become a
professional violinist. Marteau now began
to take lessons of Bunzl, a pupil of Molique,
but three years later he went to Paris, and
was placed under Leonard. In 1884, when
ten years of age, he played in public before
an audience of 2,500 people, and in the fol-
lowing year he was selected by Gounod to
play the obligato of a piece composed for
the Joan of Arc Centenary celebration at
Reims, which piece was dedicated to him.
In 1892 Marteau carried off the first prize
for violin playing at the Paris Conservatoire,
and Massenet, the celebrated French com-
poser, wrote a concerto for him.
When Marteau played in Boston at the
Symphony concerts he received twelve re-
Violinists of To-day. 295
calls, and immediately became the idol of the
hour. The concerto selected was that in G
minor by Bruch, and it was played without a
rehearsal, a fact which reflects great credit
on the orchestra, which was at that time con-
ducted by Mr. Arthur Nikisch.
In the following year Marteau again vis-
ited America and brought with him a con-
certo composed for him by Dubois. This
was played for the first time by the Colonne
orchestra, with Marteau as soloist, at Paris,
on November 28, 1894, and again on the
following Sunday. It was next given at
Marseilles on December I2th, and the next
performances were at Pittsburg, Louisville,
and Nashville during the second American
Marteau's tone is large, brilliant, and pene-
trating. His technique is sure, and he plays
with contagious warmth of sentiment and
great artistic charm.
The violin which he used during his
296 Famous Violinists.
American tours was a Maggini, which once
belonged to Maria Theresa of Austria. She
gave it to a Belgian musician who had
played chamber music with her in Vienna.
He took it to Belgium, where at his death it
became the property of Leonard, who, at his
death, gave it to Marteau.
Alexander Petschnikoff, the son of a Rus-
sian soldier, is the latest violinist who has
created a furore in Europe. When he was
quite young his parents moved to Moscow,
near which city he was born, and one day a
musician of the Royal Opera House hap-
pened to hear the boy, who had already
endeavoured to master the difficulties of the
instrument, and he used his influence to get
the lad into the conservatory. Petschnikoff
now became a pupil of Hrimaly, and devoted
himself to hard work, earning some money
by teaching even at the age of ten.
In due course he won the first prize and
the gold medal at the conservatory, and was
Violinists of To-day. 297
then offered an opportunity to study in Paris,
which he declined. For a time he earned
his living by playing in a theatre orchestra,
but fortune smiled upon him, and he became
an object of interest to the Princess Ouro-
soff, who heard him play at a concert. Her
influence was exerted in his behalf, and he
was soon noticed and courted by the nobility.
The princess also made him a present of a
magnificent violin, which formerly belonged
to Ferdinand Laub, and is said to be the
most costly instrument in existence.
When he made his debut in Berlin, in
1895, his success was unprecedented, inas-
much as it covered four points, the artis-
tic, popular, social, and financial. He has
created a furore wherever he has appeared,
and has been recalled as many as sixteen
times. So great has been his success that
he is said to have received the highest hon-
orarium for a single concert ever obtained by
a violinist in Europe.
298 Famous Violinists.
He is described as a man of commonplace
appearance, with dull, expressionless eyes,
sluggish movements, and slow, affected man-
ner of speech. His technique is not aston-
ishing, but he has a full, penetrating, sympa-
thetic tone. There is no charlatanism or
trickery in his playing, nor any virtuoso
effects, but the charm of it rests in his glow-
ing temperament, ideal conception, and won-
derful power of expression. He has been
regarded as phenomenal, because he can
move the hearts of his hearers as few other
violinists are able to do.
Petschnikoff has been given an introduc-
tion to America, through Mr. Emil Paur, by
Theodor Leschetizky, couched in the most
glowing terms, and is called by him "an
artist of the very first rank and of inconceiv-
One might prolong the list of violinists to
a tremendous extent, and yet fail to mention
all those of great merit. In England, John
Violinists of To-day. 299
Dunn appears to be acquiring a great repu-
tation. On the Continent, such names as
Hubay, Petri, Rose are well known. In
America, we have Leopold Lichtenberg, a
good musician of admirable qualifications.
' Bernhard Listemann, now of Chicago, has
done much toward forming musical taste in
America, and was concert-master of the Bos-
ton Symphony Orchestra during the first few
years of its existence. But space does not
permit of a mention of more than has been
attempted, and a few pages must be given to
lady violinists and to a few words about
WOMEN AS VIOLINISTS.
DURING the past forty or fifty years the
violin has become a fashionable instrument
for ladies, and has become correspondingly
popular as a profession for those who are
obliged to earn a living.
Formerly, for many years, it seems to have
been considered improper, or ungraceful, or
unladylike, the reasons are nowhere satis-
factorily given, but the fact remains that
until recently few women played the violin.
From the year 1610 until 1810 the list
of those who played in public is extremely
short, numbering only about twenty, and of
these several were gambists.
That women did, once upon a time, play
Women as Violinists. 301
on the violin, or the corresponding string and
bow instruments which were its ancestors,
there is evidence.
On the painted roof of Peterborough Cathe-
dral, in England, which is said to have been
built in the year 1194 A. D., there is a pic-
ture of a woman seated, and holding in her
lap a sort of viol, with four strings and four
sound-holes. This seems to indicate that in
very early days ladies sometimes played on
stringed instruments, if only for their own
Among the accounts of King Henry VII.,
dated November 2, 1495, is the following
item, " For a womane that singeth with a
fiddle, 2 shillings."
Anne of Cleves after her divorce com-
forted herself by playing on a viol with six
strings. Queen Elizabeth, also, amused her-
self not only with the lute, the virginals, and
her voice, but also with the violin.
These, however, were amateurs, and the
3O2 Famous Violinists.
earliest professional violinist known was Mrs.
Sarah Ottey, who was born about 1695, and
who about 1721-22 performed frequently at
concerts, giving solos on the harpsichord, vio-
lin, and bass viol. Previous to her there was
one Signora Leonora Baroni, born at Mantua
about 1610, but she played the theorbo and
the viol di gamba.
The next is " La Diamantina," born about
1715, who is referred to by the poet Gray in
1740, when he was at Rome, as "a famous
virtuosa, played on the violin divinely, and
Anne Nicholl, born in England about 1728,
played the violin before the Duke of Cumber-
land at Huntley in 1746, and her granddaugh-
ter, Mary Anne Paton, also, who was better
known as a singer and who became Lady
Lenox, and afterwards Mrs. Wood, was a
The celebrated Madame Gertrude Eliza-
beth Mara, one of the greatest singers of
Women as Violinists. 303
her time, was a violinist when young. Her
father took her to England, hoping by means
of her playing to get sufficient money to give
her a thorough musical education. She was
then a mere child, and as she grew to woman-
hood her voice developed and she became
one of the celebrities in the history of song.
There is no doubt that the training in inter-
vals which her practice on the violin gave
her proved invaluable as an aid to her in
singing. In later days several of the most
celebrated singers have been also good vio-
linists, as, for instance, Christine Nilsson and
Maddalena Lombardi Sirmen, born about
1735, had an almost European reputation
toward the end of the eighteenth century.
She visited France and England about 1760-
6 1, and was so good a player that she was
looked upon almost as a rival of Nardini.
She will always be celebrated in history
because of the letter which was written to
304 Famous Violinists.
her by Tartini, and which is not only one of
the rarities of musical literature, but consti-
tutes also a valuable treatise on the use of
This letter, which has been printed in
almost every book on the violin, would take
up rather more space than can be afforded in
this sketch. It is admirably clear and is
divided into three parts, the first giving
advice on bowing, " pressing the bow lightly,
but steadily, upon the strings in such a
manner as that it shall seem to breathe
the first tone it gives, which must proceed
from the friction of the string, and not from
percussion, as by a blow given with a hammer
upon it, if the tone is begun with delicacy,
there is little danger of rendering it after-
wards either coarse or harsh." The second
section of the letter is devoted to the finger-
board, or the " carriage of the left hand," and
the last part to the "shake."
Maddalena Sirmen received her instruc-
Women as Violinists. 305
tion first at the conservatory of Mendicant!
at Venice, after which she took lessons from
Tartini. She also composed a considerable
quantity of violin music, much of which was
published at Amsterdam. About 1782 she,
emulating the example of Madame Mara,
appeared as a singer at Dresden, but with
comparatively small success.
Regina Sacchi, who married a noted Ger-
man violoncellist named Schlick, was cele-
brated for her performances on the violin.
She was born at Mantua in 1764, and edu-
cated at the Conservatorio della Pieta at
Venice. This lady was highly esteemed by
Mozart, who said of her, " No human being
can play with more feeling."
When Mozart was in Vienna, about 1786,
Madame Schlick was also there, and solicited
him to write something for the piano and
violin, which they should play together at
a concert. Mozart willingly promised to do
so, and accordingly composed and arranged,
306 Famous Violinists.
in his mind, his beautiful sonata in B-flat
minor, for piano and violin. The time for
the concert drew near, but not a note was
put upon paper, and Madame Schlick's anx-
iety became painful. Eventually, after much
entreaty, she received the manuscript of the
violin part the evening before the concert,
and set herself to work to study it, taking
scarcely any rest that night.
The sonata was played before an audience
consisting of the rank and fashion of Vienna.
The execution of the two artists was perfect
and the applause was enthusiastic. It hap-
pened, however, that the Emperor Joseph
II., who was seated in a box just above the
performers, in using his opera-glass to look
at Mozart, noticed that there was nothing
on his desk but a sheet of blank paper, and,
afterward calling the composer to him, said :
" So, Mozart, you have once again trusted
to chance," to which Mozart, of course, gra-
ciously acquiesced, though the emperor did
Women as Violinists. 307
not state whether he considered Mozart's
knowledge of his new composition, or Ma-
dame Schlick's ability to play with him un-
rehearsed, constituted the "chance."
The next virtuosa was a Frenchwoman,
Louise Gautherot, who was born about 1760,
and who played in London and made a great
impression about 1780 to 1790, and about
the same time Signora Vittoria dall' Occa
played at the theatre in Milan. Signora
Paravicini, born about 1769, and Luigia
Gerbini, about 1770, were pupils of Viotti,
and earned fame. The former made a sen-
sation in 1799 by her performance of some
violin concertos at the Italian Theatre at
Lisbon, where she played between the acts.
Signora Paravicini attracted the atten-
tion of the Empress Josephine, who became
her patroness and engaged her to teach her
son, Eugene Beauharnais, and took her to
Paris. After a time, however, the Empress
neglected her, and she suffered from poverty.
308 Famous Violinists.
Driven to the last resource, and having even
pawned her clothes, she applied for aid to
the Italians resident in Paris, and they en-
abled her to return to Milan, where her
ability soon gained her both competence and
credit. She also played at Vienna in 1827,
and at Bologna in 1832, where she was much
Catarina Calcagno, who has already been
mentioned as a pupil of Paganini, was a
native of Genoa, born about 1797, and had
a short but brilliant career. She disappeared
from before the public in 1816.
Madame Krahmer and Miles. Eleanora
Neumann, and M. Schulz all delighted the
public in Vienna and Prague. Miss Neu-
mann came from Moscow, and astonished
the public when she had scarcely reached
her tenth year. Other names are Madame.
Filipowicz, Madame Pollini, Mile. Zerchoff,
Eliza Wallace, and Rosina Collins, who all
played publicly and were well known.
Women as Violinists. 309
In 1827 Teresa Milanollo was born, and
in 1832 her sister Marie, and these two
young ladies played so well, and were in
such striking contrast to one another, that
they proved very successful as concert
players. They were natives of Savigliano,
in Piedmont, where their father was a manu-
facturer of silk-spinning machinery. Teresa,
the elder, was taught by Ferrero, Caldera,
and Morra, but in 1836 she went to Paris
and studied under Lafont, and afterwards
under Habeneck, going still later to Brus-
sels, where she took lessons of De Beriot,
and received the finishing touch to her ar-
tistic education, faultless intonation. Her
career as a concert player began when she
was about nine years of age. When Marie
was old enough to handle a violin Teresa
began to teach her, and in fact was the
only teacher Marie ever had.
The two sisters, who were called, on ac-
count of their most striking characteristics,
3io Famous Violinists.
Mile. Staccato and Mile. Adagio, travelled
together through France, Holland, Belgium,
Germany, and England, and were everywhere
received with the greatest interest. They
played before Louis Philippe at Neuilly, and
appeared with Liszt before the King of Prus-
sia. They also created a furore at Vienna
Marie, the younger, who was of a happy
and cheerful disposition, was not strong,
and in 1848 she died in Paris. Teresa,
the elder, after a long retirement, re-
sumed her travels, and, having matured
and improved, she played better and excited
more interest than before. In 1857 she
married a French officer, Captain Theodore
Parmentier, who had seen service in the
Crimean War, and she abandoned the concert
From 1857 until 1878 she followed the
fortunes of her husband, who became a gen-
eral and a " Grand Officier de la Legion
Women as Violinists. 3 1 1
d'Honneur," and her public appearances were
limited to such places as the vicissitudes of
a military life took her to. Since 1878
Madame Parmentier has lived quietly in
Paris, where she is still to be met by a few
fortunate persons in select musical and social
During the lifetime of Marie, the sisters
had already put themselves into direct per-
sonal relations with the poor of Lyons, but
after Teresa had roused herself from her
mourning for her sister she established a
system of " Concerts aux Pauvres," which
she carried out in nearly all the chief cities
of France, and part of the receipts of these
concerts was used for the benefit of the poor.
Her plan was to follow up the first concert
with a second, at which the audience con-
sisted of poor school - children and their
parents, to whom she played in her most
fascinating manner, and, at the conclusion
of her performance, money, food, and cloth-
312 Famous Violinists,
ing, purchased with the receipts of the pre-
vious concerts, were distributed.
From 1830 there has been a constantly
increasing number of ladies who have ap-
peared as concert violinists, but few have
continued long before the public, or have
reached such a point of excellence as
to be numbered amongst the great per-
Mile. Emilia Arditi, Fraulein Hortensia
Zirges, Miss Hildegard Werner, Miss Bertha
Brousil, and Madame Rosetta Piercy-Feeny
were all born during the decade 1830 to
1 840, and were well known, but in 1 840 and
1842 two violinists were born who were des-
tined to hold the stage for many years and
to exert a great influence in their profession.
Wilma Neruda, now known as Lady Halle,
and Camilla Urso are the two ladies in ques-
tion, the former exerting her influence chiefly
in England and on the Continent, and the
latter in America.
Women as Violinists. 313
Miss Werner has played an important part
in advancing the art amongst women, having
for many years conducted a school of music
at Newcastle-on-Tyne, in England. She was
also the first woman ever to address the
Literary and Philosophical Society, when in
1880 she delivered an address on the history
of the violin. There is little doubt, how-
ever, that the success of Teresa Milanollo
gave the first great impulse toward the study
of the violin by women.
Lady Halle was born at Brimn, March 21,
1840. Her father was Josef Neruda, a musi-
cian of good ability, and he gave her the first
instruction on the violin, and then placed her
under Leopold Jansa, in Vienna. Wilhelmina
Maria Franiiska Neruda made her first ap-
pearance in public in 1846, at which time she
was not quite seven years old. On this occa-
sion her sister Amalie, who was a pianist,
accompanied her, and shortly afterwards her
father took her, with her sister Amalie and
314 Famous Violinists.
one of her brothers, on an extended tour.
The family consisted of two sons a pianist
and a 'cellist and two daughters a violin-
ist and a pianist.
In 1849 they reached London, where the
young violinist played a concerto by De
Beriot, at the seventh Philharmonic concert
of that season. By the critics at that time
she was said to be wonderful in bravura
music, in musical intelligence, and in her
As time went on, and her playing matured,
she became known throughout Europe. In
1864 she married Ludwig Norman, conductor
of the opera at Stockholm, and for a time she
remained in that city and became a teacher
at the Royal Music School.
Before long she was again busy with con-
cert playing, and in 1869 she again appeared
in England, where she became a great favour-
ite, and has appeared there regularly almost,
if not quite, every season since. Hans von
Women as Violinists. 315
Billow spoke of her as Joachim's rival, and
called her " the violin fairy."
Joachim has always been a great favourite
in England, but Madame Norman-Neruda, or
Lady Halle, as she became later, has fully
shared his popularity. What Joachim is to
the sterner sex, just the same is Lady Halle
to the gentler.
Joachim was indeed one of the first to
recognise the fact that he had in Mile.
Neruda a rival, for in the days when she
was earning her reputation he heard her at
some place on the Continent, and remarked
to Charles Halle, who afterwards became her
husband, " I recommend this artist to your
careful consideration. Mark this, when
people have given her a fair hearing, they
will think more of her and less of me."
Ludwig Norman died in 1885, and three
years later Madame Norman-Neruda married
the pianist, Charles Halle, who had long been
identified with all that was best musically in
316 Famous Violinists.
England, and who was knighted in recognition
of his services to the cause of art.
Sir Charles Halld established a series of
orchestral concerts at Manchester in 1857,
and by means of these concerts brought
before the English public the works of many
composers who would have remained un-
known perhaps for years but for his efforts.
In this work he was ably supported by this
talented violinist, afterwards his wife, and
with her he made many tours all over the
In 1890 Sir Charles and Lady Halle made
a tour in Australia, which was highly suc-
cessful. Five years later they went to South
Africa, where they met with a flattering
reception. In his memoirs, Sir Charles
Halle tells of a curious compliment which
they received at Pietermaritzburg. The
mayor invited them to play at a municipal
concert to be given one Sunday afternoon.
The concert began, and after an organ solo
Women as Violinists. 317
and a song had been given by other musi-
cians, they played the Kreutzer sonata. At
the conclusion of the sonata, a member of
the corporation came forward, and said that
after the impression just received he thought
it would be best to omit the remainder of the
programme, upon which the audience cheered
In 1895, shortly after their return from
the South African tour, Sir Charles Halle
died, and Lady Halle" went into retirement.
At this time her numerous admirers in Eng-
land presented her with a valuable testimonial
of their appreciation.
Throughout her career she has fulfilled
the prophecies made of her in her youth, for
her talent and musicianship developed as she
grew up, and her genius did not burn itself
out as that of many infant prodigies has
done. She has never endeavoured to secure
public applause at the expense of her real
artistic nature. Her performances are and
3 1 8 Famous Violinists.
always have been synonymous with all that
is good in musical art, and nothing but
that which is of the best has ever been
allowed to appear upon her programmes.
She is celebrated no less as a quartet
player than as a soloist, and was for many
years first violin of the Philharmonic Quartet
In 1898, Lady Halle" had the misfortune
to lose her son, Mr. Norman Neruda, who,
while scaling a difficult place in the Alps,
slipped and was killed.
In the following year she emerged from
her retirement and visited the United States,
where her playing was highly appreciated by
unbiassed critics. There was a feeling, how-
ever, that she might have made the journey
many years before, and allowed the American
public to hear her in her prime, when she
would have received not only a very warm
welcome, but would have been judged rather
by her merits than by her history, and she
Women as Violinists. 319
would not have challenged comparison with
the violinists of the rising generation.
Camilla Urso has been for many years one
of the best known violinists in the United
States. She was born at Nantes, in France,
in 1 842, of Italian parents. Her father was
Salvator Urso, a good musician, and son of a
good musician, so that the young violinist
inherited some of her talent. In 1852 the
family crossed the Atlantic and settled in
the United States, and almost immediately
the little girl began to appear at concerts.
Camilla Urso began to study the violin at
the age of six years, and her choice of that
instrument was determined by her hearing
the violin and being fascinated by it during
a celebration of the Mass of St. Cecilia. She
was taken to Paris for instruction, for which
purpose her father abandoned his position at
Nantes. She entered the Conservatoire and
became a pupil of Massart.
She made a tour through Germany, during
320 Famous Violinists.
which she met with immense success, and
then returned to Paris to continue her
She was fresh from Massart's instruction
when, in October, 1852, she made her first
appearance in Boston, where her playing and
her style called forth eulogies from the critics
of those days. John S. Dvvight wrote to the
effect that it was one of the most touching
experiences of his life to see and hear the
charming little maiden, so natural and child-
like, so full of sentiment and thought, so self-
possessed and graceful. Her tone was pure,
and her intonation faultless, and she played
with a " fine and caressing delicacy," and
gave out strong passages in chords with
For three years she continued to travel
and delight American audiences, and then
for a period of about five years she retired
into private life, and did not resume her pro-
fessional career until 1862, from which time
Women as Violinists. 321
she frequently made concert tours in America
until she returned to Paris. It was about
the period of these tours that her influence
upon young women began to be felt, for she
was at an age when womanly grace becomes
evident, and her manners and character were
as fascinating as her playing.
In Paris she so pleased M. Pasdeloup that
he begged her not to allow herself to be
heard in public until she had played at his
concerts. " You may count upon a splendid
triumph," he said. " It is /who tell you so.
Your star is in the ascendant, and soon it
will shine at the zenith of the artistic
The result justified the prophecy, and
Camilla Urso was the recipient of great
honours in Paris. She was presented by
the public with a pair of valuable diamond
earrings, and was treated almost like a prima
In March, 1867, Mile. Urso received a
322 Famous Violinists.
testimonial from the musical profession in
Boston, where a few years later she had
a curious experience. She was playing a
Mozart concerto, at a concert, when an
alarm of fire was given, and caused a good
deal of excitement. Many of the audience
left their seats and made for the door, but
the violinist stood unmoved until the alarm
was subdued and the audience returned to
their seats, when she played the interrupted
movement through from the beginning.
In 1879 sne m ade a tour to Australia, and
again in 1894.
In 1895 she was in South Africa, and
achieved great triumphs in Cape Town,
besides giving concerts at such out-of-the-
way places as Bloemfontein. She has prob-
ably travelled farther than any other violin
For the past few years she has lived in
New York, and has practically retired from
the concert stage.
Women as Violinists. 323
Teresina Tua, who was well known in the
United States about 1887, was born at Turin
in 1867. As in the case of Wilhelmina
Neruda and of Camilla Urso, her father was
a musician, and she received her early
musical instruction from him. Her first
appearance in public was made at the age
of seven, and up to that time she had re-
ceived no instruction, except that given her
by her father. During her first tour she
played at Nice, where a wealthy Russian
lady, Madame Rosen, became interested in
her, and provided the means to go to Paris,
where she was placed under Massart.
In 1880 Signorina Tua won the first prize
for violin playing at the Paris Conservatoire,
and the following year made a concert tour
which extended through France and Spain
to Italy. In 1882 she appeared in Vienna,
and in 1883 in London, where she played
at the Crystal Palace. Wherever she went
people of wealth and distinction showed the
324 Famous Violinists.
greatest interest in her, and when she came
to America in 1887 she appeared laden with
jewelry given her by royalty. Her list of
jewels was given in the journals of that day,
"a miniature violin and bow ablaze with
diamonds, given by the Prince and Princess
of Wales ; a double star with a solitaire pearl
in the centre, and each point tipped with
pearls, from Queen Margherita of Italy."
Besides these, there were diamonds from
the Queen of Spain and from the Empress
of Russia and sundry grand duchesses. No
lady violinist ever appeared before an Amer-
ican audience more gorgeously arrayed.
" Fastened all over the bodice of her soft
white woollen gown she wore these spark-
ling jewels, and in her hair were two or
three diamond stars," said the account in
Dwight's Journal of Music. Yet with all
this the criticisms of her playing were some-
what lukewarm. The expectation of the
people had been wrought up to an unreas-
Women as Violinists. 325
enable pitch, and Signorina Tua, while she
was acknowledged to be an excellent and
charming violinist, was not considered great.
After a time, however, as she became better
known, she grew in popular estimation, and
before she left America she had hosts of
On returning to Europe she made another
tour, but shortly afterwards she married
Count Franchi Verney della Valetta, a dis-
tinguished Italian critic, and retired into pri-
vate life, though from time to time she was
heard in concerts in Italy.
In 1897 she was again on the concert
stage, and played at St. James's Hall, Lon-
don, after an absence of eight years, and it
was considered that her playing had gained
in breadth, while her technique was as
perfect as ever.
Of the three hundred or more pupils of
Joachim, there have been several ladies who
have attained celebrity, of whom Miss Emily
326 Famous Violinists.
Shinner (now Mrs. A. F. Liddell) has been
for some years the most prominent in Eng-
land, while the names of Gabrielle Wietro-
witz and Marie Soldat are known throughout
Europe, and Maude Powell and Leonora Jack-
son are among the brightest lights from the
Miss Emily Shinner has been in many
respects a pioneer amongst lady violinists, for
in 1874, when quite young, she went to
Berlin to study the violin. In those days
pupils of the fair sex were not admitted to
the Hochschule, and Miss Shinner began
to study under Herr Jacobsen. It happened,
however, that a lady from Silesia arrived at
Berlin, intending to take lessons of Joachim,
but unaware of the rules against the admis-
sion of women to the Hochschule. Joachim
interested himself in her, and she was exam-
ined for admission. Miss Shinner at once
presented herself as a second candidate, and
the result was that both ladies were accepted
Women as Violinists. 327
as probationers. In six months Miss Shin-
ner was allowed to become a pupil of
Joachim, and thus gained the distinction of
being the first girl violinist to study under
the great professor.
Again in 1884 Miss Shinner, having ac-
quired a great reputation in musical circles
in England, was called upon at very short
notice to take Madame Neruda's place as
leader to the " Pop " Quartet, on which occa-
sion she acquitted herself so well that an
encore of the second movement of the quar-
tet was demanded. Since that time she has
been always before the public, and has taken
special interest in chamber music and quar-
tet playing, the Shinner Quartet of ladies
having acquired a national reputation.
Her marriage to Capt. A. F. Liddell took
place in 1889.
Marie Soldat was born at Gratz in 1863
or 1864, and was the daughter of a musician,
who was pianist, organist, and choirmaster,
328 Famous Violinists.
and who gave her instruction from her fifth
year on the piano. Two years later she
began to learn the organ, and was soon able
to act as substitute for her father when
occasion required her services. Until her
twelfth year she studied music vigorously,
taking violin lessons with Pleiner at the
Steier Musical Union at Gratz, and com-
position with Thierot, the Kapellmeister, at
the same time keeping on with the piano-
She played the phantasie-caprice by
Vieuxtemps in a concert at the Musical
Union when she was ten years of age, and
at thirteen she went on a tour and played
Bruch's G minor concerto.
Soon after this she had the misfortune to
lose her father, and a little later her violin
teacher, Pleiner, also died, so that her prog-
ress received a check. Joachim, however,
visited Gratz to play at a concert, and the
young girl went to him and consulted him
Women as Violinists. 329
as to her future course. As a result of the
interview she began to take lessons of August
Pott, a good violinist at Gratz, and the
following year (1879) sne again went on
a concert tour, visiting several cities in
During this tour, she made the acquaint-
ance of Johannes Brahms, who took a great
deal of interest in her, advised her to devote
all her energies to the violin, and succeeded
in arranging for another interview with
Joachim, the result of which was that she
was enabled to enter the Berlin High School
for Music. Here she pursued her studies
until 1882, after which she still continued
her studies and took private lessons of
At the high school she gained the
Mendelssohn prize, and from that time
commenced her career as a virtuosa, tour-
ing extensively throughout Europe. One
of her greatest triumphs was when, in 1885,
33 Famous Violinists.
at Vienna, she played Brahm's violin con-
certo with Richter's orchestra.
Her career has been marked by hard
work and continual practice, which have
enabled her to overcome many obstacles,
and have placed her on a level with the very
best violinists of her sex.
The Ladies' String Quartet, which she
formed in Berlin, consisting of herself as first
violin, with Agnes Tschetchulin, Gabrielle
Roy, and Lucie Campbell, had a creditable
career, and appeared in several German
In 1889 Marie Soldat married a lawyer
named Roger, but did not retire from her
profession. She is now known as Madame
Gabrielle Wietrowitz was born a few years
later, in 1866, at Laibach, and was also a
pupil at the Musical Institute at Gratz.
Her father was a military bandsman who
had some knowledge of the violin, which
Women as Violinists. 331
enabled him to give his daughter elementary
instruction on that instrument.
After a few years he left Laibach to settle
in Gratz, and Gabrielle took violin lessons
from A. Geyer (some accounts say Caspar).
On entering the Musical Union she made
a sensation by playing brilliantly at a concert
before a large audience. She was then
eleven years of age, and from that time she
made the most rapid progress, taking first
prize at the annual trial concert. In con-
sequence of her great promise Count Aichel-
burg, who was a member of the Directorate
of the Musical Union, presented her with
a valuable violin, and the Directorate assigned
her a yearly salary which enabled her to
go to Berlin and enter the high school, where
she became a pupil of Joachim in 1882.
At the high school her career was as
brilliant as it had been in Gratz, for at the
end of her first year she succeeded in cap-
turing the Mendelssohn prize, which brought
332 Famous Violinists.
her 1,500 marks, and at the end of her third
year she took it for a second time.
She remained at the high school three
years, after which she began a splendid
career by playing the concerto by Brahms
at the St. Cecilia Festival at Miinster. Then
followed a series of concert tours, which re-
sulted in securing her a reputation as one
of the most brilliant stars amongst women.
Miss Wietrowitz plays with the most con-
summate ease the greatest works of the
modern school. She has a powerful and
brilliant tone, with sweet tenderness and
sympathy, which appeal to the soul of the
listener, and she confines her repertoire to
the highest class of musical compositions.
She has recently succeeded Miss Emily
Shinner as first violin in the quartet which
that talented lady established in England.
The most recent star of Europe is Madame
Saenger-Sethe, whose appearances are invari-
ably followed by eulogies from the critics.
Women as Violinists. 333
In Berlin, when she appeared at the Singa-
kademie, in November, 1898, where she was
assisted by the Philharmonic Orchestra, one
critic declared that no violin playing had
been heard to compare with it during that
season, with the exception of Burmester's
performance of the Beethoven concerto.
" Such wealth and sensuous beauty of tone,
such certainty of technique, such mental grasp
of the work, and at the same time such all-
conquering temperament have not been heard
in Berlin at the hands of a female violinist
during several years." After many recalls,
she gave, as an encore, a rousing performance
of a Bach sarabande.
Mile. Irma Sethe was born on April 28,
1876, at Brussels, and such was her early
aptitude for music that at the age of five
she was placed under a violinist of repute,
named Jokisch, who in three months from
the start taught her to play a Mozart sonata.
Five years of hard study enabled her to
334 Famous Violinists.
appear at a concert at Marchiennes, when
she played a concerto by De Beriot and the
rondo capriccioso by Saint-Saens. The fol-
lowing year she played at Aix-la-Chapelle,
and made such an impression that several
offers of concert engagements were made,
but were declined by her mother on the
score of the child's health, and for three
years after this she never appeared at a
One summer, during the holidays, she met
August Wilhelmj, who was charmed with
her talent, and devoted his mornings for two
months to giving her lessons daily. At the
end of that time he emphasised his appreci-
ation by making her a present of a valuable
violin. She still continued her regular studies
with Jokisch, until, acting on the advice of
her friends, she obtained a hearing from
Ysaye, and played for him Bach's prelude
and fugue in G minor.
Ysaye at once recognised her immense
Women as Violinists. 335
ability, and advised her to enter the conser-
vatoire at Brussels, which she did, with the
result that in eight months she carried off
the first prize, being then only fifteen years
of age. She continued her studies for three
more years, and was frequently employed as
a substitute for Ysaye, as professor, to teach
his classes while he was absent on concert
In 1894 she appeared with him at a num-
ber of important concerts, and shortly after-
wards made her first concert tour, visiting
many of the principal towns of Germany.
In November, 1895, she made her first ap-
pearance in London, where she was pro-
nounced to be, with the exception of Lady
Halle, the most remarkable lady violinist
who had ever appeared before the public in
England, and where her excellent technique,
perfect intonation, warmth of feeling, and
musical insight were highly, almost extrava-
336 Famous Violinists,
In August, 1898, Mile. Sethe married
Doctor Saenger, a litterateur, and professor
of philosophy at Berlin, but she continues
her career as a violinist, and has made sev-
eral tours of Europe. She has been com-
pared to Rubinstein, inasmuch as her
remarkable musica.1 temperament and irre-
sistible impulsiveness carry her at times
almost beyond the limits of her instrument,
but these are the very qualities by which she
captivates and carries away her hearers.
Among other European ladies who have
made their mark as violinists, and whose
stars are in the ascendant, may be men-
tioned Sophie Jaffe, who has been called the
greatest of all women violinists, and Frida
Although many years behind the conti-
nent of Europe in musical life, and with a
musical atmosphere not nearly as dense as
that found in almost any village of Italy,
France, or Germany, America has contributed
Women as Violinists. 337
to the musical world many shining lights
during the past few years. Mile. Urso
has been claimed as an American violinist,
though she was born in Europe and was a
good violinist before she reached these
shores, but in 1864, in New York, Arma
Senkrah was born, who for a few years
rivalled Teresina Tua.
The real name of Arma Senkrah was
Harkness, which for professional purposes
she " turned end for end," as the sailors
would say, and dropped an " s." After Miss
Harkness had been taught the elements of
music by her mother, she went to Brussels
to study under Wieniawski, and then to
Paris, where she became a pupil of Massart.
She is said also to have taken lessons of
Vieuxtemps and of Arno Hilf.
In 1 88 1 she won the first prize at the
Paris Conservatoire, a feat which always
stamps the winner "artist." From 1877 to
1880 Arma Senkrah travelled a great deal
338 Famous Violinists.
throughout Europe, and in 1882 she played,
under her proper name, at the Crystal Pal-
ace, London. She was created, at Weimar,
a chamber virtuoso, by the grand duke.
Here she met and shortly afterwards married
a lawyer named Hoffman, and disappeared
from the concert platform.
New York has contributed other stars to
the violin firmament, for Nettie Carpenter
and Geraldine Morgan are names which have
become well known.
Miss Carpenter went abroad at an early
age, though not until she had appeared in
concerts in her native city, and created
On going to Paris, she was successful in
passing the entrance examinations for the
Conservatoire, and in 1884 won the first
prize for violin playing. In 1882 she ap-
peared in London at the promenade concerts,
and again in 1884, when she confirmed the
reputation which she had made two years
Women as Violinists. 339
previously, at the same concerts. From that
time on she went through the usual routine
of the concert violinist, with considerable
In 1 894 she married Leo Stern, the violon-
cello player, but the union did not continue
for long, Mr. Stern becoming about four
years later the husband of Miss Suzanne
Adams, the opera singer.
Miss Geraldine Morgan is the daughter of
John P. Morgan, who was for some years
organist of Old Trinity Church, New York.
She studied in her native city under Leopold
Damrosch, besides which she received much
instruction from her father. Then she went
to Leipzig, where she studied with Schra-
dieck, after which she was the pupil in Berlin
of Joachim, under whose guidance she re-
mained eight years. She was the first
American who ever gained the Mendelssohn
Miss Morgan has made tours through the
34O Famous Violinists.
Continent and Great Britain, and had the
honour of playing the Bach double concerto
with Joachim at the Crystal Palace. In 1891
she appeared in New York under the aus-
pices of Walter Damrosch.
A lady who holds a high position among
the violinists of the world is Miss Maud
Powell, who was born in Aurora, 111., in
1868. Her father is American and her
mother German. She began her musical
education at the age of four, by taking piano
lessons. At eight she took up the violin,
and made such excellent progress that, when
she was thirteen years old, she was taken to
Leipzig, where she studied under Schradieck,
and received her diploma in a year, playing
also at one of the Gewandhaus concerts.
She next went to Paris, where she was the
first selected out of eighty applicants for
admission to the Conservatoire. In the fol-
lowing year she accepted an engagement
for a tour in England, and had the honour
Women as Violinists. 341
of playing before the royal family. While in
London Joachim heard her, and expressed
his approval of her capabilities by inviting
her to go to Berlin and become one of his
pupils, which she accordingly did, and re-
mained with him for two years.
In 1885 she made her de"but in Berlin at
the Philharmonic concerts, when she played
the Bruch concerto, which she also played in
Philadelphia later in the same year. Her
performance in America brought her much
praise, and she was declared to be a marvel-
lously gifted woman, one who in every fea-
ture of her playing disclosed the instincts
and gifts of a born artist, though she had
not yet reached the heights of her ability.
Since that time she has gained in breadth,
and has become a mature artist.
Miss Powell has appeared in the best con-
certs throughout America, and has gained a
reputation second to no American violinist.
By many she is declared to be the equal of
342 Famous Violinists.
Soldat and Wietrovvitz in tone, technique,
and interpretative power. She has an im-
mense repertoire, and is also a student of
literature. She also is said to have been
the first to establish a female quartet in
The latest American lady violinist to gain
honours abroad is Miss Leonora Jackson,
who won the Mendelssohn state prize at
Berlin, in 1898, and who has gained a great
reputation by her performances before the
most important musical organisations in
Miss Jackson was fortunate enough to
attract the attention of Mrs. Grover Cleve-
land, who admired her talent, and, with Mr.
George Vanderbilt, sent her abroad. For
two years she studied in Paris, and then went
to Berlin, where she became a pupil of
Joachim. In Berlin she made her debut in
1896, with the Philharmonic Orchestra,
which was conducted by Joachim on that
Women as Violinists. 343
occasion. Shortly afterwards she was com-
manded by the Empress of Germany to play
at the Royal Opera House, in Berlin, and
she soon earned for herself a position
amongst the best of the rising violinists of
When she appeared in London, in 1898,
she surprised and delighted the audience,
displaying a fine tone, natural musical feel-
ing, and complete technique. Few violinists
can play with such quiet, intense sentiment.
Miss Jackson, though but twenty years of
age, is already a veteran concert player, for
she has appeared in many cities of Europe,
and was already known in America before
she went to Berlin. She played in July,
1 899, before the Queen of England at Wind-
sor Castle, and again in August at Osborne
House, in the Isle of Wight.
The time has long since gone by when
mere showy technique would earn a reputa-
tion for any violinist, male or female, and
344 Famous Violinists.
she who expects to be numbered with the
great violinists must be first of all a musi-
cian, capable of interpreting the greatest
works. If in addition to this she has " the
divine spark," she will be truly great.
QUARTET playing is at once the delight
and the despair of the amateur, who finds no
greater pleasure than an evening spent in
endeavouring to unravel the intricacies of
chamber music, nor any keener disappoint-
ment than the realisation that it is capable
of far better interpretation.
For the professional there are many influ-
ences which cause him to hesitate before he
launches forth upon the quicksands of public
performance. The first necessity in profes-
sional quartet playing is the devotion of a
large amount of time to the acquisition of a
perfect ensemble. A quartet may be likened
346 Famous Violinists.
unto a family, in which the members learn to
know one another by being brought up to-
gether, and few are the professionals who can
sacrifice the time necessary for the acquisition
of this perfect ensemble.
Apparently very little was done previous to
the nineteenth century in the way of quartet
concerts, but Baillot founded a series of quartet
concerts in Paris, which were highly spoken
of, and about the same time Schuppanzigh,
an excellent violinist and teacher in Vienna,
established a quartet which became famous.
In this quartet Mayseder played, in his
younger days, second violin. Mayseder was
considered the foremost violinist in Vienna,
but he never travelled as a virtuoso.
When Spohr went first to Leipzig and was
unknown, he had to find a way by which he
could attract attention to himself, in those
days the advertising agent was not much
in evidence, so that he might give a con-
cert with a reasonable prospect of success.
Famous Quartets. 347
The rich merchants, to whom he had brought
letters of introduction, knew nothing of him
and received him coldly. " I was very anx-
ious to be invited to play at one of their
music parties in order to draw attention to
myself," Spohr says in his autobiography,
"and my wish was fulfilled, for I was
invited to a grand party and asked to play
something. I chose one of the loveliest of
the six new quartets of Beethoven, with
which I had often charmed my hearers in
Brunswick. But after a few bars I already
noticed that my accompanists knew not the
music and were quite incapable of playing it.
This disturbed me, and my dismay increased
when I observed that the assembled com-
pany paid little attention to my playing.
Conversation became general, and ultimately
so loud as almost to drown the music. I
rose in the midst of the music, hurried to my
violin case without saying a word, and was on
the point of putting my instrument away.
348 Famous Violinists.
This made quite a sensation in the company,
and the host approached me questioningly.
I met him with the remark, which could
be heard everywhere, ' I have always been
accustomed to be listened to with attention.
As it has been otherwise here, I thought
the company would prefer that I should
stop.' The host did not know at first how
to reply, and retired somewhat discomfited.
As I made preparations for leaving, after
having excused myself to the other musicians,
the host came up and said, quite amicably :
' If you could but play something else, some-
thing more suitable to the taste and capacity
of the company, you would find them an
attentive and grateful audience.' It was
clear to me before that I had chosen the
wrong music in the first instance for such
a company, and I was glad enough now to
have an opportunity to change it. So I took
up my violin again and played Rode's E flat
quartet, which the musicians already knew
Famous Quartets. 349
and accompanied well enough. This time
there was perfect silence, and the enthusiasm
for my playing increased with each move-
ment. At the end of the quartet so much
flattery was heaped upon me that I trotted
out my hobby-horse, the G variations of
Rode. With this piece I made quite a sen-
sation, and for the remainder of the evening
I was the object of the most flattering
This little episode shows that Beethoven
was not fully appreciated, and it also shows
that quartet playing was regarded at that
time in an entirely different light from that
in which we are accustomed to think of it to-
day. We do not consider the first violinist a
soloist and the rest merely his accompani-
ment, but each member of the quartet is
practically of equal importance.
Lambert Joseph Massart, the eminent
teacher of Paris, is said to have been an ex-
cellent quartet player, and often, with his
350 Famous Violinists.
wife, an admirable pianist, he gave delightful
Few violinists have been more closely
associated with quartet playing than Ferdi-
nand David, in his way one of the most
celebrated violinists. Little is known of his
early youth except that he was born at Ham-
burg in 1 8 10, and was there at the time of the
French occupation. It has been said that he
played in a concert at ten years of age and at
thirteen became a pupil of Spohr at Cassel.
He made a concert tour with his sister,
Madame Dulcken, and in 1827 entered the
orchestra of the Konigstadt Theatre at Berlin.
Here he became acquainted with Mendels-
sohn, with whom he was from that time on
terms of the greatest intimacy. While in
Berlin he was heard by a wealthy musical
amateur named Liphart, who lived at Dorpat,
and who maintained a private quartet. He
engaged David, who eventually married his
daughter, to lead this quartet, and for several
Famous Quartets. 351
years the young violinist remained in Dorpat,
though he found opportunity to make some
concert tours through the north of P^urope.
When Mendelssohn was appointed con-
ductor of the Gewandhaus concerts at Leip-
zig, he sent for David and made him concert
master, which post he occupied from 1836.
Seven years later the conservatory was
founded by Mendelssohn, and David became
professor of violin, in which position his
influence became great and beneficial.
In Leipzig David established a quartet,
which was one of the best, if not the very
best, in its day, though it may have been
surpassed later by the Florentine Quartet
and those of Joachim, in London and Ber-
lin, and possibly by Brodsky's later Leipzig
David died in 1873, beloved and respected,
and will be remembered as one of the most
refined musicians and admirable teachers of
352 Famous Violinists.
Josef Hellmesberger, one of the most
brilliant violinists and noted teachers of
Vienna, founded, in 1849, a quartet which
achieved an immense reputation. His asso-
ciates were Heissler, Durst, and Schlesinger.
Hellmesberger made a point of rinding works
of merit which had sunk into oblivion, but
which were worthy of a hearing. Hellmes-
berger spent the whole of his life in Vienna,
with the exception of a tour in 1847, and
he held the highest musical office in the
Austrian Empire, that of director of the
A story which is told of him bears tes-
timony to his remarkable musical instinct.
Teresa Milanollo, in 1840, took a new man-
uscript by De Beriot to Vienna. She wished
to keep it for her own use, and did not
show it to anybody. Hellmesberger heard
it played at two rehearsals, and then went
home and wrote out the whole work from
Famous Quartets. 353
No small portion of the immense influence
which Joachim has wielded in the musical
world has been directed toward quartet
playing, and he has established a quartet
in London and another one at Berlin, which
both bear an enviable reputation. His
chamber music classes, too, at the Berlin
High School, tend to develop admirable
quartet players ; thus we find Marie Soldat
organising a ladies' quartet which had a
good career, and Gabrielle Wietrowitz taking
the place of first violin in the excellent
ladies' quartet formed in England by Miss
Emily Shinner. 1 Miss Shinner, whose efforts
in the artistic world have been of great value,
and whose quartet has an immense reputa-
tion in England, was also a pupil of Joachim.
The " Florentine Quartet " was founded
by Jean Becker, a violinist of excellent ability,
1 The Shinner Quartet consisted of Miss Emily Shin-
ner (Mrs. F. Liddell), first violin, Miss Lucy H. Stone,
second violin, Miss Cecilia Gates, viola, and Miss Flor-
ence Hemmings, violoncello.
354 Famous Violinists.
who made his mark in Europe about the
middle of the nineteenth century. Becker
was travelling in Italy in 1865, and settled
in Florence for a time, during which he
organised the above-mentioned quartet, with
Masi, second violin, Chiostri, viola, and Hil-
pert, violoncello. In Florence there existed
a society for the performance of chamber
music, which had been established by a
wealthy professor named Bazzini, a violinist
and composer who travelled much, and whose
influence in Italy, in the cause of German
music, was of great value. Bazzini was born
in 1818 and died in 1897.
From time to time this society gave sub-
scription concerts, and Becker was invited
to lead ten such concerts during the winter
of 1865-66. He consented to do so, but
found the quartet in a state of dissolution.
He brought Hilpert with him, and engaged
Masi as second violin, Chiostro being the
only member of the original quartet. Masi
Famous Quartets. 355
was not accustomed to chamber music, but
Becker took him in hand and he improved
rapidly. In order to still enhance his value
in the quartet, Becker presented him with
a Stradivarius violin. They remained in
Florence until their ensemble was absolutely
perfect, and then began a series of tours
which took them all over Europe. In Vienna
the quartet was subjected to comparison with
those of Hellmesberger and of Joachim, for
the former had just given six chamber con-
certs, and the latter three. The first concert
given by the Florentine Quartet was thinly
attended, but the report of its excellence
brought an overflowing audience to the
second concert, and in all ten were given
during the remainder of the season.
About 1875 Hilpert withdrew, and his
place was filled by Hegyesi, who remained
with the quartet until it was disbanded in
An excellent series of quartet concerts
3 56 Famous Violinists.
was founded in Stuttgart by Edmund Singer,
who was appointed professor of violin in
the Conservatorium, leader of the court
music, and chamber musician, in 1861, after
a distinguished career of some ten or more
years as a virtuoso. These concerts met
with triumphant success.
Georg J. R. Heckmann founded a quartet
at Cologne and travelled through Europe,
but it was surpassed by the Florentine
Quartet, and did not gain the highest repu-
A quartet which has been pronounced to
be one of the best in existence is that which
is led by Jeno Hubay, in Pesth, and in which
Hegyesi, formerly of the Florentine Quartet,
is the 'cellist.
Adolf Brodsky, who for a time resided in
New York, founded a string quartet at Leip-
zig, with Hans Becker, son of the founder
of the Florentine Quartet, Hans Sitt, and
Julius Klengel, the 'cellist, and this quartet
Famous Quartets. 357
was said to have no superior in Europe, and
not more than one equal, the Joachim
Quartet of Berlin. In 1891 Brodsky went
to New York, where he also established a
quartet, but with little success. The organisa-
tion was received with respect, owing to Mr.
Brodsky 's European reputation, but it was
admitted on all hands that superior organ-
isations existed in America. Before Mr.
Brodsky had time to bring his quartet to
a high degree of proficiency, he returned
to Europe, and, after a brief stay in Ger-
many, accepted a position in England, where
he has established another quartet.
He was succeeded in the quartet at Leip-
zig and at the conservatory by Arno Hilf, a
distinguished violinist with an enormous
technique, who was born in 1858 and was
taught by David, Rontgen, and Schradieck.
Quartet playing in public was established
in England in 1835, when the admirers of
Joseph Dando, an excellent violinist, opened
358 Famous Violinists.
a subscription for the purpose of giving
some concerts in which the chamber music,
and especially the quartets of Haydn, Mozart,
Beethoven, Spohr, etc., should be performed.
The first concert was given at the Horn
Tavern, Doctors'-Commons, in London, on
September 2$d of that year, and being highly
successful, a second was given on Octo-
ber 1 2th, and a third on the 26th, each
proving more attractive than its predecessor.
These concerts lasted for two seasons, when
a new quartet was formed, with H. G. Bla-
grove and Henry Gattie as first and second
violins, Mr. Dando, viola, and Mr. Lucas,
'cello, for the more perfect study and presen-
tation of quartets and other chamber music.
These concerts were given at the Hanover
Square rooms, and on account of the care
bestowed upon the rehearsals (of which they
held seven or eight for each concert), they
threw all previous performances into the
Famous Quartets. 359
The tide of public favour had now set in,
and other quartets were formed, but none
reached such excellence as that headed by
Blagrove, which was invited to play at the
Philharmonic concerts, where it produced a
About the end of the seventh season
Blagrove withdrew, but the quartet con-
tinued in existence for many years, Mr.
Dando playing first violin, and Mr. Loder,
the viola, and the concerts were given at
Crosby Hall in the city, instead of the
Hanover Square rooms.
At St. Petersburg a quartet was formed
by Leopold Auer, an excellent violinist, who
at the death of Wieniawski was appointed
professor of violin at the Conservatoire.
Auer was born in Hungary, and became
a pupil of Dont at Vienna, after which he
had a brilliant career as a virtuoso in Europe.
His St. Petersburg quartet was founded in
1868, and became one of the leading musical
360 Famous Violinists.
organisations of the Russian capital, until the
death of Davidoff, the violoncellist, who was
one of its members, in 1890.
Auer has been very active in the musical
life of St. Petersburg, and is very highly
esteemed both as a man and as a musician,
teacher, and performer.
A quartet which has gained a great reputa-
tion in Europe during recent years is the
Bohemian Quartet, consisting of Carl Hoff-
mann, first violin, Joseph Suk, second violin,
Oscar Nedbal, viola, and Hanus Wihom,
violoncello. They play with a great deal
of vim and abandon, and the ensemble is
At Hanover Richard Sahla has established
a quartet, with Meneke, Kugler, and Loele-
berg, and Arnold Rosa's quartet, of Vienna,
has travelled in Hungary, Italy, and other
countries, gaining a good reputation.
In the United States there have been well
meant efforts to found good quartets, and
Famous Quartets. 361
these have all had a beneficial influence.
In Boston Mr. Bernhard Listemann, some
twenty years ago, established a quartet which
gave some very delightful concerts, but the
past decade has witnessed the rise of an
organisation which is able to bear comparison
with any quartet in the world.
The Kneisel Quartet was organised in
1885, the year in which Mr. Franz Kneisel
accepted the position of concert-master to
the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Henry
L. Higginson invited him at the same time
to organise a quartet, and a series of con-
certs was given that season in Chickering
Hall. While the excellence of the quartet
was apparent from the start, there were com-
paratively few people in Boston who took
much interest in chamber music, and the
audiences were, as a rule, small. Year by
year they have increased, and for the past
few years it has been necessary to give the
concerts in Association Hall, which has a
362 Famous Violinists.
seating capacity about twice as large as that
of the original hall.
The second violin is Mr. Otto Roth, 1 a
native of Vienna, who played for three years
under the baton of Hans Richter, and came
to Boston to play first violin in the Symphony
Mr. Louis Svecenski, an excellent artist,
who studied in the Vienna Conservatory,
under Hellmesberger and Grim, plays the
viola, and the 'cellist is Alwyn Schroeder,
an artist, who had achieved a high reputa-
tion as a 'cello virtuoso, before he came to
After a few years the Kneisel Quartet
began to appear in other cities, and now
gives regular series of subscription concerts
in New York, Washington, Baltimore, Hart-
ford, and Worcester, also Harvard, Yale,
and Princeton Universities, besides occasional
1 Mr. Roth retired from the quartet in 1899 and his
place was filled by Mr. Karl Ondricek.
Famous Quartets. 363
performances in more remote cities. In
1896 the quartet had given over eight hun-
dred concerts since its formation.
At the end of the Symphony season in Bos-
ton, in 1896, the Kneisel Quartet made a visit
to London and gave several concerts. In
London it was obliged to stand comparison
with the finest quartets in existence. The
Joachim Quartet and the Bohemian Quartet
gave concerts the same season, but the
unanimous verdict was to the effect that
none could equal the Kneisel Quartet in
absolute ensemble and perfection of detail.
While the Bohemian Quartet played with a
great deal of abandon and enthusiasm, and
the Joachim Quartet contained players of
a greater reputation in Europe, yet the
Kneisel Quartet simply confirmed the repu-
tation it had acquired in America. "It
would, indeed, be impossible to conceive
greater perfection in the matter of en-
semble, precision, delicacy, and all the qual-
364 Famous Violinists.
ities requisite for the proper interpretation
of chamber music."
In the spring of 1 899 the Kneisel Quartet
made an extended tour in America, and
found the musical condition of the great
cities in the United States, as evidenced by
the appreciation of music, fully equal to that
of the European centres. Brahms and Bee-
thoven were played in Denver and in San
Francisco to audiences who were fully equal
to the enjoyment of the highest class of
music, and everywhere the quartet was
greeted with enthusiasm.
The success of the Kneisel Quartet is due
to the long and arduous practice which the
members have enjoyed together, for perfec-
tion in quartet playing is only possible
through long association.
While virtuosity is not essential for quar-
tet playing, good musicianship is very neces-
sary. Patient and self-denying practice are
Famous Quartets. 365
The love of chamber music is apparently
growing in the United States, for in many
of the large cities quartets have been estab-
lished by good musicians, and the oppor-
tunities for hearing fine interpretations of
the best chamber music are increasing each
year. It is a branch of musical art which
appeals only to cultivated taste, for it is
necessarily free from sensationalism and
individual display. Therefore, the love
of quartet playing may be considered to be
a true index of the growth of musical
CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE OF
" C " indicates that the date given is only approximate.
Place and Date of
Place and Date of
Alessandro, Romano .
Alberghi, Paolo .
Biber, Henry J. .
Baltzar, Thomas .
6 3 o
Bannister, John .
Lulli, Jean Baptiste de
Strunck, Nicolas Adam
Laurenti, Bartolomeo G.
Eccles, John ....
Marini, Carlo Antonio .
Aschenbrunner, Christian H.
Bassani, Giovanni B. .
Vivaldi, Antonio .
Bannister, John, Jr.
Hesse, Ernest Christian
Aubert, Jacques .
Geminiani, Francesco .
Alberti, Guiseppe Matteo .
SenailM, Jean Baptiste
Pisendel, Johann Georg
Birckenstock, Johann A.
Place and Date of
Place and Date ol
Montanari, Francesco .
Matheis, Nicola .
Gentili, Georges .
Castrucci, Pietro .
Tartini, Guiseppe .
Locatelli, Pietro .
Rothe, August Friedrich
Leclair, Jean Marie
Graun, Jean G. . . .
Paris ' 1698
Abaco, Evaristo F. Dall
Anderle, F. J.
Dalloglio, Domenico .
Guignon, Jean Pierre .
De Croes, Henri Jacques .
Czarth, Georg C.
Girauek, Fernandino .
Hempel, George C.
Mozart, Leopold .
Stamitz, Johann Carl .
Bini, Pasqualino .
Pagin, Andre 1 Noel
Abel, Leopold A. .
Festing, Michael C.
Ferran, Domenico . .
Enderle, Wilhelm G. .
Lefebre, Jacques .
Van Malder, Pierre
Glaser, John Michel
Gavinies, Pierre .
Gow, Neil ....
Place and Date of
Place and Date of
Cannabich, Christian .
Goepfert, Charles F.
Haranc, Louis Andre" .
Celestine, Eligio .
Weigi, Franz J. .
Tomasini, Luigi .
Godecharle, Eugene C. J. .
Miiller, Thomas .
Ernst, Franz Anton
Jarnowick, Giovanni M.
St. Petersburg 1804
Navoigille, Guillaume J.
St. Petersburg 1781
Salomon, Johann Peter
Cambini, Giovanni G. .
Gervais, Pierre Noel .
Ghirett, Caspar .
Guerillot, Henri .
Navoigille, Herbert J.
Almeyda, C. F. .
? ci 7 so
Kriegck, J. J. .
Barthelemon, Francois H. .
St. Petersburg 1802
Janitsch, Anton .
Lem, Pierre ....
Viotti, Giovanni B.
Kranz, Johann F.
Mosel, Giovanni F.
Place and Date of
Place and Date of
Fauvel, Andre 1 Joseph .
Lacroix, Antoine . .
Wramtzky, Paul .
Liber, Wolfgang .
Weberiin, Jean F.
Bruni, Antonio B.
Neubauer, Franz C.
Jarnewicz, Felix .
Wessely, Johann .
Bonnet, Jean Baptiste
7 6 3
Schlick, Regina (Sacchi)
Cartier, Jean Baptiste .
LaCroix, Antoine . .
Hampeln, Karl von
Eck, Johann F. .
Hunt, Karl ....
De Voider, Pierre Jean
Pauwels, Jean E.
Spagnoletti, P. ...
Valmalete, Louis de .
Grasset, Jean J. .
Boucher, Alexandre Jean
Hoffmann, Heinrich Anton .
Baillot, Pierre M. F. de Sales
Festa, Guiseppe M.
Labarre, Louis J. C. .
Vacher, Pierre Jean
Eck, Franz ....
Loire -et - Ga-
Eberwen, Traugott M .
Place and Date of
Place and Date of
Libon, Philippe .
Schuppanzigh, Ignace .
Dobrynski, Ignace .
Kieserwetter, Cristophe G. .
Moralt, Johann B.
Paravicini, Mme. .
Blanchard, Henri L. .
Radical!, Felice A.
Weiss, Franz . .
Bridgetower, George A.
Miiller, John Henry
Habeneck, Francois A.
Lafont, Charles Philippe
Polledro, Giovanni B. .
Mazas, Jacques F.
Puppo, Felice A. .
Bohrer, Anthony . .
Paganini, Nicolo .
Spohr, Louis ....
Fontaine, Antoine N. M.
Pixis, Friedrich, Wilhelm .
Berwald, Johann F.
Fesca, Friedrich E.
Maurer, Ludwig .
Wery, Nicolas L. .
Ferny, Francois .
Lipinski, Karl Joseph .
Goetz, Jean N. C.
Benesch, Joseph .
Pichatschek, Francois .
Filipowicz, Elizabeth M.
Krahmer, Mme. Caroline
Bohm, Joseph .
Drin, Finlay ....
Lacy, Michael R. .
Giorgetti, Fernandino .
Place and Date of
Place and Date of
Girard, Narcisse . . .
Miiller, Karl Friedrich
Tolberque, Jean B. J. .
Batta, Pantaleon .
Ruderbdorff, J. .
Hellmesberger, Georg .
Meerts, Lambert .
Miiller, Theodore Heinrich .
Nohr, Christian F.
Schulz, Mile. L. .
Wanski, Johann N.
Kalliwoda, Johann W.
Saint Lubin, Leon de .
De BeViot, Charles
Ella, John ....
Labitzky, Joseph .
1 88 1
Molique, Wilhelm Bernard .
Ries, Hubert ....
Lomagne, Joseph .
Magnien, Victor .
Kudelski, Karl Matthias
Dando, Joseph H. B. .
Bessems, Antoine .
Miiller, Franz F. G.
Bull, Ole Borneman
Blagrove, Henry Gamble
Hamm, Johaun V.
Sainton, Prosper Philippe .
Ernst, Heinrich Wilhelm
Alard, Delphine J.
Artot, Alexandre J. M.
Dont, Jacob ....
Sivori, Ernest Camillo .
Batta, Alexandre .
Prume, Francois Herbert
Deldevez, Ernest .
Place and Date of
Place and Date of
Gobel, Johann Ferdinand .
Bazzini, Antonio .
Dancla, Jean B. C.
Kramer, Traugott .
Eller, Louis ....
Leonard, Hubert .
Dreyschock, Raimund .
Keler-Bela . .
Neumann, Louise .
Wallace, Eliza .
Dancla, Leopold .
Eichberg, Julius .
Hullweck, Ferdinand .
De Kcntski, Apollinari
Bott, Jean Joseph
Hauser, Maurice .
Mollenhauer, Edward .
Hellmesberger, Georg .
Huber, Karl ....
Adelburg, August R. Von .
Garcin, Jules A. S.
Zirges, Hortensia .
Bargheer, Karl Louis .
Joachim, Joseph .
Kompel, August .
Singer, Edmund .
Laub, Ferdinand .
Lauterbach, Johann C.
Milanollo, Maria .
Bennewitz, Anton .
Graff, Carl ....
Place and Date of
Place and Date of
De Ahna, Heinrich K. H. .
Poles (Spain) 1835
Strauss, Ludwig .
Besekirjsky, Wasil W. .
Carrodus, John T.
Griin, Jacob ....
Neruda, Wilhelmina (Lady
David, Peter P. . . .
Heermann, Hugo .
Sarasate, Pablo de
Singelee, Louise .
Castellan, Mile. .
Wilhelmj, August .
Courvoisier, Carl .
De Bono, Victoria
Heckmann, Georg J. R.
Marsick, Martin P. J. .
Drechsler-Adamson, Mme. .
Drechsler-Woycke, Mme. .
Brodsky, Adolph .
Sauret, Emil ....
Boulanger, Mile. .
Meyer, Waldemar .
Ferrari, Signora Elvira
Drechsler - Hamilton, Mrae.
Sahla, Richard .
Place and Date of
Place and Date of
Kess, Wilhelm .
Petri, Henri Wilhelm .
Thomson, Ce'sar .
Barcevicz, Stanislaus .
Hilf, Arno ....
Huber, Eugen (Jeno Hubay)
Halir, Karl ....
Hess, Willie ....
Ondricek, Franz .
Loeffler, Charles Martin
Rossi, Marcello .
Wolff, Johannes .
Prill, Carl .
Eissler, Marianne .
Carpenter, Nettie .
Dunn, John ....
Wietrowitz, Gabrielle .
Dengremont, Maurice .
Burmester, Willy . . .
Jackson, Leonora .
Adams, Suzanne, 339.
Ahna, H. K. de, 240.
Aichelburg, Count, 331.
Alard, D., 68, 135, 144, 145,
Alday le jeune, 68.
Alexander, Czar, Si.
Alexander III., 222.
Amati, Andrea, 13.
Amati, Nicolo, 14.
Anet, B., 28, 35, 39, 40.
Arditi, Emilia, 312.
Artot, 149, 150, 169, 192.
Auer, Leopold, 359, 360.
Austria, Emperor of, 206.
Bacchiochi, Princess Elise,
Bach, J. S., 254, 275, 277,
Baillot, P. M. F. de S., 26,
68, 7i-75> 12 9. M4, i77>
34 6 -
Baltzar, Thomas, 19, 20.
Banister, John, 19, 20, 21.
Bargheer, C. L., 97.
Baroni, Leonora, 302.
Bassani, G. B., 30.
Bazzini, 247, 354.
Beauharnais, Eugene, 307.
Becker, Hans, 356.
Becker, Jean, 353, 354,
Beethoven, L. von, 57, 77,
91, 205, 225,231,352,254,
2 9. 333, 347, 258, 364.
Benda, Franz, 56, 57.
Beriot, Charles A. de, 25,
28, 29, 67, 68, 136, 138-
144, 147, 148, 150, 162,
188, 266, 309, 334, 352.
Berlioz, Hector, 79,80, 126,
127, 128, 248, 253.
Berry, Duchesse de, 81.
Bertin, Armand, 127.
Besekirskij, Wasil W.. 240,
Bianchi, Antonia, 116.
Bilse Orchestra, 277, 283.
Bini, P., 49.
Blagrove, H. G., 97, 170,
Boccherini, L., 76.
Bohemian Quartet, 360, 363.
Bohm, J., 28, 68, 206, 215.
Brahms, Johannes, 212, 253,
329, 332, 364.
Brazil, Emperor of, 230.
Brodsky, Adolf, 82, 263-265,
Brousil, Bertha, 312.
Bruch, Max, 295, 328, 341.
Brunswick, Duke of, 85.
Bull, Ole, 149, 150, 151, 152,
I 53 169, 172-203, 225,
Biilow, Hans Von, 291, 292,
Burmester, Willy, 286-293,
Burney, Doctor, 43, 55, 56.
Calcagno, Caterina, in, 154,
Campbell, Lucie, 330.
Careno, Theresa, 265.
Carpenter, Nettie, 338.
Carrodus, John T., 170, 241.
C artier, 68.
Cessole, Conte di, 117, 118.
Cherubini, 62, 93, 136.
Chiabran, F., 36.
Chopin, F., 187, 210.
Clegg, John, 24.
Clement, 254, 255.
Cleveland, Mrs. G., 342.
Cleves, Anne of, 301.
Coburg-Gotha, Duke of, 240.
Colbran, Madame, 189.
Collins, Rosina, 308.
Corbett, William, 22.
Corelli, A., 28, 30, 31-35, 36,
38, 40, 50, 52, 59.
Costa, G., 105, 157.
Cumberland, Duke of, 302.
Cuzzoni, F., 53.
Damrosch, Leopold, 339.
Damrosch, Walter, 263,
Dancla, C., 129, 135, 171.
Dando, J., 357, 358, 359.
David, Ferd., 97, 234, 247,
253. 35, 35 1 * 357-
Dellepaine, 157, 159.
Dengremont, M., 68, 281,
Derwies, Baron, 268, 279.
Diamantina, La, 302.
Dont, Jacob, 68, 171, 285,
Dubourg, M., 22, 23, 40.
Dulcken, Madame, 350.
Dunn, John, 299.
Dwight, J. S., 201, 225, 320,
Eccles, Henry, 22.
Eck, Ferdinand, 85.
Eck, Franz, 85.
Eder, Josephine, 163.
Elizabeth, Queen, 301.
England, Queen of, 343.
Ericsson, Lief, 198.
Ernst, H., 68, 146-149, 169,
187, 233, 246, 247.
Farina, Carlo, 15, 16.
Festing, M., 53.
Fetis, 129, 145.
Field, 86, 210.
Filipowicz, Madame, 308.
Fischer, Konrad, 232.
Florentine Quartet, 353-355,
Fontana, Giovanni B., ID.
Garcia, Pauline, 143.
Gattie, Henry, 358.
Gautherst, Louise, 307.
Geminiani, F., 23, 24, 28, 35,
Gerbini, Luigia, 68, 307.
Gericke, W., 283.
Germany, Empress of, 343.
Geyer, A., 331.
Giardini, F., 36, 53.
Gdrgey, General, 206.
Gotha, Duke of, 86.
Gounod, C., 294.
Graun, 49, 56.
Gregorowitsch, C., 241, 284,
Grim, Jacob, 242, 283,
Habeneck, 68, 78-80, 93'
Halir, Carl, 256, 276-278,
Halle, Lady (Mme. Norman-
Nenida), 312-319, 323,
Halle, Sir Charles, 124, 125,
127, 136, 160, 169, 265,
VS~3 1 7-
Hampton, Miss, 222.
Handel, G. F., 23, 32.
Hanover, King of, 248.
Hanslick, E., 229.
Harkness, A., 337.
Hauser, Miska, 215-218.
Haydn, J., 58, 245, 358.
Heckmann, G. J. R., 356.
Hellmesberger, G., 68.
Hellmesberger, J., 264, 2831
35 2 . 355. 362.
Henry VII., King, 301.
Hess, Willy, 256.
Higginson, H. L., 361.
Hilf, A., 357.
Hoffmann, 215, 360.
Hogarth, G., 133.
Hollaender, G., 256.
Holmes, Henry, 98, 241.
Holmes, Alfred, 241.
Hubay, J., 256, 299, 356.
Huber, Mile., 143.
Hunt, L., 133.
Isabella, Queen, 226.
Jackson, Leonora, 326, 342,
Jaffe, Sophie, 336.
Janin, Jules, 126.
Jansa, L., 313.
Joachim, J., 16, 27, 29, 68,
2O6, 212, 213, 224, 231,
234, 236, 238, 240, 244-
260, 277, 279, 285, 286,
3 28 . 3 2 9, 33 1 * 34i, 35 1 .
Joachim Quartet, 357, 363.
Joseph II., Emperor, 306.
Josephine, Empress, 78, 307.
Kannitz, Count de, 114.
Kinsky, Count, 43, 49.
Klengel, J., 356.
Kneisel, F., 279, 282, 361-
3 6 4-
Kneisel Quartet, 281, 284,
Kralmer, Madame, 308.
Kreutzer, Rodolphe, 26, 68-
7i, 76, 93. I28 X 3 6 T 7>
Kreutzer Sonata, 137, 138.
Lablache, L., 142.
Lafont, C. F., 26, 29, 70, 80-
82, 130, 309.
Lassabathie, M., 226, 227.
Laub, F., 240, 297.
Leclair, J. M., 36, 51, 52.
Lenox, Lady, 302.
Leonard, H., 68, 136, 145,
238, 268, 282, 294, 296.
Leschetizky, Th., 298.
Lichtenberg, L., 299.
Liddell, Capt. A. F., 327.
Lind, Jenny, 216.
Linley, Thomas, 24.
Lipinski, K. J., 100-103, 130.
Listemann, B., 299, 361.
Liszt, F., 1 20, 137, 206, 213,
233. 2 34, 245, 248, 253,
Livron, M., 108.
Locatelli, 28, 35, 36.
Loeffler, C. M., 138, 279-
Lolli, A., 55.
Lotto, I., 138.
Louis Philippe, 310.
Lulli, J. B., 30, 37-39.
Lundholm, 177, 178, 179.
Malibran, 25, 142, 143, 144,
1 68, 188.
Mara, G. E., 302, 305.
Margherita, Queen, 324.
Maria Theresa, 296.
Marini, B., 15.
Marsick, M., 28, 68, 146,
2 37-239, 267, 269.
Marteau, H., 293-296.
Massart, 70, 136-138, 238,
278, 3 20 > 323. 349-
Maurer, 182, 247.
Mausch-Jerret, M., 236.
Mayseder, 188, 215, 346.
Mazzurana, Doctor, 101.
Meek, Countess of, 222.
Mell, D., 19.
Mendelssohn, 161, 246, 247,
Metternich, Count, 114.
Milanollo, M., 310.
Milanollo, T., 29, 68, 309,
Molique, B. H., 70, 162, 169,
Montes, Lola, 216.
Montebello, Duke of, 187.
Morgan, Geraldine, 338, 339,
Mozart, L., 54.
Mozart, W., 24, 58, 306, 307,
322, 323. 358-
Murska, lima di, 265.
, 180, 181.
Napoleon, 89, 90, 112.
Napoleon III., 230.
Nardini, P., 24, 49, 50, 54,
55. 73. 33-
Neruda, J., 313.
Neruda, Norman, 318.
Neumann, E., 308.
Nicholl, Anne, 302.
Nickisch, A., 275, 295.
Nilsson, C., 169, 303.
Norman, L., 314, 315.
North, Colonel, 208.
Occa, Victoria dall', 307.
Ondricek, F., 267, 278.
Ottey, Sarah, 302.
Ottoboni, Cardinal, 31.
Ouronoff, Princess, 297.
Oury, A. J., 25.
Paderewski, L, 273, 276.
Paganini, Achille, 116.
Paganini, Antonio, 105.
Paganini, Nicolo, 26, 29, 75,
82, 92, 100-134, 135, 141,
147, 148, 150, 151, 154,
156, 157, 160, i6i, 162,
180, 183, 184, 185, 1 88,
191, 200, 217, 233, 269,
Pallerini, Mme., 112.
Paravicini, Mme., 68, 307.
Parmentier, Captain, 310.
Pasdeloup, 280, 321.
Paton, Mary Ann, 302.
Patti, Adelina, 194.
Patti, Amalia S., 194.
Paur, Emil, 298.
Petri, Henri, 236, 299.
Petschnikoff, A., 296-298.
Pfeiffer, Marianne, 95.
Piercy-Feeny, Mme., 312.
Pixis, 64, 68.
Portugal, King of, 285.
Pott, A., 329.
Powell, Maude, 326, 340-
Prussia, King of, 310.
Pugnani, G., 28, 29, 36, 52,
Purcell, 1 8.
Quagliati, P., 15.
Rappoldi, E., 68, 242.
Remenyi, E., 150, 154, 205-
Riario, Duke of, 187.
Richter, Hans, 234, 330
Rivarde, A., 278.
Roberrechts, 28, 68, 139.
Rode, Pierre, 28, 68, 70, 71
75-77, 120, 162, 348,349-
Rolla, 105, 1 06.
, A., 299, 360.
Rossini, 67, 92, 191.
;<oth, O., 362.
Roy, Gabrielle, 330.
Rubinstein, Anton, 154, 219,
Russia, Czar of, 285.
Russia, Empress of, 324.
Sacchi, R. (Schlick), 305,
Saenger-Sethe, I., 332-336.
Sahla, R., 360.
Saint-Saens, C., 334.
Sainton, C. P., 169, 247.
Salomon, J. P., 57, 63.
Santley, C., 234.
Sarasate, P., 28, 29, 68, 226-
Sauret, E., 265-267.
Scarlatti, A., 33, 34.
Scheidler, D., 86.
Schradieck, H., 265, 357.
Schroeder, A., 281, 362.
Schubert, F., 246.
Schulz, M., 308.
Schumann, 120, 162, 213,
Schumann, Mme., 293.
Scotta, Frida, 336.
Sembrich, M., 303.
Senaille, J. B., 28, 39.
Senkrah, A., 337.
Shinner, E. (Mrs. Liddell),
325-327, 332, 353-
Shinner Quartet, 327,
Singer, E., 68, 239.
Sirmen, Maddalena, 303.
Sitt, Hans, 356.
Sivori, C., 150, 153, 154-161,
167, 168, 231, 294.
Soldat, M., 257, 326, 327-
33, 342, 353.
Somis, 28, 29, 35, 51, 53.
Sontag, II., 143, 233.
Soubre, E. J., 163.
Spain, Queen of, 230, 324.
Spohr, L., 26, 75, 82-99, 158,
159, 162, 170, 178, 182,
183, 184, 188, 191, 233,
261, 346-349, 35 8 -
Stamitz, A., 69.
Stern, Leo, 339.
Stradivari, A., 14.
Strakosch, M., 194.
Strauss, L., 68.
Suk, J., 360.
Svecenski, L., 362.
Sweden, King of, 198.
Tartini, G., 29, 43, 44-51,
52, 54, 101, 304.
Thalberg, 163, 165, 166.
Thomson, C., 267-269, 273,
Thorpe, 8. C., 197.
Thursby, Emma, 198.
Tiby, M., 139.
Torelli, G., 41.
Tschetchulin, Agnes, 330.
Tua, Teresina, 70, 138, 323-
Turkey, Sultan of, 217, 232.
Tuscany, Duke of, 189.
Urso, Camilla, 312,319-322,
3 2 3> 337-
Urso, Salvator, 319.
Valetta, Count F. V. della,
Vanderbilt, G., 342.
Veracini, F. M., 42, 43, 46,
Viardot, Madame, 246.
Vieuxtemps, H., 28, 68, 136,
149, 162-169, I 9 2 , 202,
221, 223, 231, 241, 271,
Villermot, F., 191.
Viotti, G. B., 28, 56-68, 72,
73, 75,81,85,93,140, 261,
Vitali, T., 1 6, 40.
Vivaldi, A., 36, 41, 42, 52.
Wagner, R., 92, 162.
Wales, Prince of, 324.
Wales, Princess of, 324.
Wallace, Eliza, 308.
Weiss, A., 249.
Werner, H., 312, 313.
Wieniawski, 70, 136, 138,
154, 218-226, 231, 270,
271, 273, 285, 337.
Wietrowitz, G., 257, 326,
33<>-33 2 . 342, 353-
Wihom, H., 360.
Wilhelmj, A., 208, 209, 231-
237, 263, 267, 282, 334.
William I, Emperor, 230.
Wittgenstein, Prince Emil
Wood, Mrs., 302.
Young, 1 8.
Ysaye, 237, 239, 263, 269-
276, 334. 335-
Zampieri, Marquis, 189.
Zerbst, Theresa, 277.
Zerchoff, Mile., 308.
Lahee, Henry Charles
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