For someone who’s actually a trombonist, you don’t get much better violin playing than this…
Incredible, no? OK, it’s not the most refined playing (indeed, it’s a ‘vaudeville’ act), but the level of virtuosity is quite extraordinary. Apparently this was Willie Hall‘s main novelty trick – the rest of the time he played the trombone in Paul Whiteman‘s orchestra.
The clip is taken from the film King of Jazz.
So far as I know, Dukov is one of Hollywood’s legendary session violinists – one of the most experienced studio concertmasters and soloists in the world. But that’s not why I’m celebrating him here. He’s a ‘Violinspiration’ to me because of his extraordinarily tasteful ‘crossover’ tracks which are very hard to track down.
They’re in some arcane file format, so you’ll need to download Realplayer in order to hear them. But it’s worth it for ‘Meowski’ (cat meets Wieniawski), and other quirky takes on violin legends such as Sarasate, and indeed Bach! Hear the ‘wild and wacky’ audio files! >>
Also, check out the Youtube video of his ‘pop’ version of Kreisler’s Praeludium and Allegro.
Mischa Elman has always been one of my greatest violin heros, which is strange, as I don’t like a lot of his recordings. Other violinists can be more implicitly expressive and more sophisticated with their use of musical phrases; other violinists are more precise (when Heifetz came along in the early 1900s and introduced a new level of technical achievement to violin playing, Elman’s concert bookings suffered!).
But the sound that he produces is completely unmistakable:
There’s a depth, a warmth, that is effortlessly rich. Overlook Elman’s idiosyncrasies, and try the ‘sweetmeats’ such as this recording (above) of Schumann’s ‘Träumerei’, Faure’s Berceuse, or Dvorak’s Humoresque.
This weekly blog post feature offers a snapshot of something violinistic that has captured my imagination. It could be a video, or maybe just a recording. It could be old, or it could be new. It could be classical, or it could be hip hop. It doesn’t even need to be good (though most Violinspirations will be). It just needs to be interesting, and to have caught my imagination!