The Art of Violin
- a
superb montage of sound, film, and commentary in which today's violin virtuosos, led by Itzhak Perlman, celebrate their legendary forebears.
US TV Premiere: Great Performances on PBS/WNET13, NY- December 11, 2001 (Check local listings)


About "The Art of Violin"

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<<about Paganini
Itzhak Perlman


"Somebody I never fell out of love with. I loved his sound, I loved his phrasing."


"He was the aristocrat of violinists."


"He was the angel who came down on earth."
Hilary Hahn


"With Heifetz, it was all there."
The exquisitely made film is a treat for classical music fans for whom Fritz Kreisler, Misha Elman, Jascha Heifetz, David Oistrakh, Joseph Szigeti, Zino Francescatti, Nathan Milstein, Yehudi Menuhin, Isaac Stern... are virtual synonyms for the violin. Here they come to life - in rare footages of historic performances that display their individual artistry, or home movies that show their humanity, or interviews that reveal unique insights about themselves, their art and their fellow virtuosos. They include those who became legends in their own time (Eugene Ysaÿe, Georges Enesco, Christian Ferras, Arthur Grumiaux, Henryk Szeryng, Jacques Thibaud, Ruggiero Ricci, to complete the list) as well as the would-be legends (Ginette Neveu, Boris Goldstein, Joseph Hassid) whose careers were sadly cut short by fate or circumstance.

GINETTE NEVEU - French violinist known for her intense, hypnotizing playing whose career ended prematurely when she died in a plane crash in 1949 at age 30.
(photo courtesy WNET/13)
Itzhak Perlman, perhaps the most publicly visible of today's virtuosos, introduces the film with a tribute to Isaac Stern whose recent passing sealed the chapter on 20th century legends of the violin, just as Yehudi Menuhin's death in 1999 signalled an era drawing to a close with the dawning of a new milennium. Throughout the film, Perlman shares his own special memories of the legends whose recordings and performances impressed him as a child prodigy or whom he later personally came to know; as do Ida Haendel, the Polish violinist for many years a favorite of British audiences, who came to be known as the "Queen of the Violin," and Ivry Gitlis, the unstoppable, now near-octogenarian, Haifa-born virtuoso famed for his spontaneous approach to his music. And perhaps to show the timelessness of genius, the film includes Hilary Hahn, the American child prodigy who at 22 and too young for Perlmanesque memories, eloquently shares her impressions of virtuoso legends two or three generations removed from her own.
The film drives home these important points about the violin virtuosos of the 20th century: a) there is a universal quality to the beauty of their music and their passion for their art; b.) but one's sound, so unlike any other's, is completely and audibly one's very own (see inset below); and c.) they are all, as all future virtuoso legends will be, descendants of Paganini.

Judge for yourself. Listen to a clip from the first movement of Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D major as played by:



"If you compare violinists of today and violinists of the 1920s, '30s, '40s and '50s, in my mind or to my ear, I don't feel one of them sounded like the other. I feel they were all individuals... everybody sounded different" - Itzhak Perlman

"No one can say what makes one sound differ from another. This is in my opeinion the inidividuality of the person: the strength of the pressure of the bow on the strings, the pressure of the actual fingers on the violin... the whole position." - Ida Haendel

"The Art of Violin," so finely crafted, could only have been made by a filmmaker with a passion for music and a particular devotion to the violin. And indeed it was - by Bruno Mansaingeon, a Paris-based concert violinist, who while still performing, has devoted an increasingly greater part of the last 20 years to making film about music. Bravo!

US TV Premiere: Great Performances on PBS/WNET13, NY- December 11, 2001 (Check local listings)

COMING SOON! More about the violinists
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