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Thread: Greatest Violist of All Time?

  1. #16
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    well, I also got confused by the question, and the first name in my mind was also Niccolo Paganini.

    and of course, "the best" is very subjective. Like choosing a Miss World. How do you choose one, when all the finalists are beautiful?

    Hm, I would like to share with you here something that bothers me. Here in Vienna, in the Philharmonic orchesta, they take only white male musicians. Lately they took some women, because there was too much pressure to do so (I suspect they would have never done it out of free will). But I read an interview with a former director of the orchestra, and he sais, yes we take only white men to play music, composed by white men, and this is right so. There was a case when a japanese musician won a competition behind the curtain, but they refused to take him. I think this is bullsh.. But I am not a musician myself, so may be...i am wrong?

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ConcertVienna View Post
    Hm, I would like to share with you here something that bothers me. Here in Vienna, in the Philharmonic orchesta, they take only white male musicians. Lately they took some women, because there was too much pressure to do so (I suspect they would have never done it out of free will). But I read an interview with a former director of the orchestra, and he sais, yes we take only white men to play music, composed by white men, and this is right so. There was a case when a japanese musician won a competition behind the curtain, but they refused to take him.
    This does sound like a serious problem, but it is not relevant for the violist topic here. Besides, the managers of this orchestra could probably set any recruiting rules they want (I may be wrong). I know Russia has an all-male ballet company which is surely no place for ballerinas (I think people do this for fun). So why bother for having an all-white-male orchestra in Austria?


    ------Now talk about violists:

    I have only heard Lionel Tertis in short pieces, but this clip from youtube gives me an idea about William Primrose's viola playing in the Bartok concerto (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmEo6CEFhgg) and I think he is untouchable in this piece. Judging from the recording, his tone was richer, brighter even than that of Yuri Bashmet, who is generally regarded as the greatest living violist (?). Although perhaps he took too much liberty here and there, this is essentially his score --he was technically and emotionally uninhibited in it and what he gave us is an unforgettable, larger-than-life performance. I know it sounds mad to put one's faith in a single performance, especially when it's not all good, but I do think among all the violists that I've heard, only Primrose had the strength to make a case for the instrument when it was disdained by so many musicians and music lovers back then.

    Now what I am really interested is who is going to be the next greatest violist. My guess would be Lawrence Power. From what I've heard he is a shade better than another top contender Maxim Rysanov (the rising star who is said to possess the big, velvet-like tone of a young Yuri Bashmet) and I couldn't think of a third name (perhaps I should check out Steven Dann). Maxim Rysanov is indeed a charismatic performer and he is able to reach the emotional depths of pieces that have huge curves in them, as he did in Kancheli's Styx, but Lawrence Power produces a more cultured, subtle sound and his art is best shown in works with delicate color-schemes, such as Walton's famous concerto. His playing of this piece for Hyperion is spontaneous, dreamy and teeming with life.

    A lot of great violists have already been mentioned in this thread. In my opinion, there are three more names that merit to be brought up on the table: the "Nordic Giant" Lars Anders Tomter (his Brahms sonatas remain my favorite readings of these works, and his Walton concerto for Naxos is also very strong), the Japanese violist Nobuko Imai (I like her Schnittke concerto better than Bashmet's version) and the Armenian-American Kim Kashkashian (her recording of Berio's Voci is just amazing).

  3. #18
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    I did a quick search for this Steven Dann on Amazon.com and found that he was featured in a Takemitsu disk (chamber music) from Naxos. That's one of my favorite disks!
    Last edited by xuantu; Jan-20-2010 at 07:42.

  4. #19
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    Smile Violist...

    One of my favorites is:

    Veronica Hagen of the Hagen String quartet.
    Last edited by Chi_townPhilly; Feb-08-2010 at 12:16. Reason: promotional url removed

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    Default Veronica Hagen

    But recently Hagen SQ has not always been better than it was. I didn't feel satisfied in their sloppy concert.
    And Veronica has played with Kremer and others, staying off her quartet.

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    Default Ryszard Groblevski

    Does anyone know why he hasn't been showing any activity since Concours de Geneve 2005?
    He won the 1er Prix d'Alto, outdoing Ryzanov.
    I have found no CDs.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taneyev View Post
    Primrose was (IMO justly) criticside for being a frustrate violinist who played the viola as a violin.
    My favorite actual violist is Pierre Lènert.
    Primrose did not "play the viola as a violin" before coming under the influence of Heifetz. Ysaye (diacriticals missing) taught him right.

    I suspect that Paganini was a great violist, but I haven't heard him play.

    Experience teaches you to recognize a mistake when you've made it again.
    - anonymous

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    I would have to say the greatest violist of all time is Yuri Bashmet - his playing style is so elegant and precise. However, I'm also a big fan of Maxim Vengerov, who is primarily a Violinist, but is also a great violist, who puts unbelievable amounts of emotion into his playing (+ I like his facial expressions).


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    Yuri Bashmet was the first name that came to my mind. Love his recordings of modern Soviet masters.
    Und Morgen wird die Sonne wieder scheinen.....

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    Maxim Rysanov is a young violist who I really admire and respect. He's also a talented arranger of works for other instruments. As a cellist I really respected his arrangement of Tchaikovsky's Rococco Variations. It's a devilishly difficult work and he adapted it beautifully to fit his instrument's sound. It's said that Bashmet (who I also adore) exclaimed upon being asked about Rysanov, "My rival has arrived!"

    For violists of the past, one that sticks out in my mind (that hasen't been mentioned) is Emanuel Vardi. His technical prowess in the Paganini Caprices (particularly the 5th) is intimidating, to say the least. I have a recording of him playing Fauré's "Après un rêve" with Norman Carey that's moved me to tears on several occasions.

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    I'"m a young violinist who switched over to the viola about four years ago. I still take lessons in both. All of my playing opportunities (like at the local university orchestra) have been on the viola, do you think i should continue studying both?

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    I also can say that I consider Maxim Rysanov to be one of the greatest violists living nowadays. His sound is always very rich and Tchaikovsky's Rococco Variations are really a great work! And as far as I know he didn’t stop working in this sphere. Recently there was issued a disk, which I found at onyxclassics site, with Beethoven’s compositions, some of which are also arranged, performed by Maxim Rysanov, Kristina Blaumane and Jacob Katsnelson. And these pieces are amazing!

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    Default Re:

    Violin is the best classical instruments I've known. And speaking of this I really wish to know how to play this.
    --------
    Last edited by mmsbls; Jul-15-2014 at 18:02. Reason: Removed signature link

  14. #29
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    Violist not violinist.

    All this confusion reminds me of this, posted elsewhere on this messageboard:
    musicrom likes this.
    "To be a musician is a curse. To NOT be one is even worse." Jack Daney

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