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From the start Kreisler programmed his own pieces in recitals; but in about 1905 he started passing some off as works by composers of the past, even writing a ‘Vivaldi’ concerto. His excuse was that ‘when I was desirous of enlarging my programmes … I found it impudent and tactless to repeat my name endlessly on the programmes’. As only a relative handful of Baroque and Classical works were then known, no one spotted that his Vivaldi sounded nothing like real Vivaldi and that other pieces were also pastiches. It is amusing to read critics lambasting Kreisler for daring to play his own trifles on the same programmes as these superb pieces by great composers such as Pugnani and Couperin! Kreisler bare-facedly told one journalist that he ‘discovered a collection of MSS, music in the possession of the monks who inhabit one of the oldest monasteries in Europe, and so anxious was he to have them for his own that he copied one of the pieces on his shirt-cuff. To this the monks objected, and eventually Kreisler, after much persuasion, succeeded in purchasing the whole collection for a considerable sum of money’. In 1909 he told the New York Times: ‘I discovered the pieces in an old convent in the south of France. I have altogether 53 manuscripts of this sort in my possession. Five of them are more or less valueless. Forty-eight of them are gems.’ As years went by, style-conscious colleagues began to smell a rat. As early as 1910, Kreisler was ticked off by the Berlin critic Leopold Schmidt for including his own Caprice viennois next to gems by Lanner, and had to point out that the ‘Lanner’ pieces were also by him—they were his Liebesfreud and Liebesleid. In that very year, fourteen of the fakes were published as ‘Classical Manuscripts’—the publisher Willy Strecker of Schott had offered Kreisler $1,000 for twenty pieces—and within six months 70,000 copies were sold.
Also in 1910, Kreisler premiered Elgar’s Violin Concerto, dedicated to him, in London with the composer conducting. After brief army service in the Great War, he was wounded and honourably discharged. Moving to New York, he was at first treated as a hero; but once the United States entered the war in 1917 the attitude of many Americans, especially those in the provinces, changed—accused of sending money to the Austrian army, he pointed out that the funds were for his ageing father and war orphans. Fans in the big cities stood by him but it took him several years to recover his former popularity. By contrast he was welcomed back to London in 1920. In 1923 he toured the Far East and in 1924 he moved into a new house in Berlin; but with the advent of the Nazis in 1933, he boycotted Germany over the treatment of his fellow Jews. In 1934 he instructed his American publisher, Carl Fischer, to list the ‘Classical Manuscripts’ as his own compositions in the 1935 catalogue; but this change was pre-empted when the New York Times critic, Olin Downes, was asked to give a lecture-recital with Yehudi Menuhin and started investigating the origins of the Praeludium and Allegro. Kreisler admitted it was his own work and his deception made front-page news worldwide. Most people were amused but the English critic Ernest Newman took a particularly huffy attitude. Following the Anschluss of Austria by Hitler in 1938, Kreisler became a French citizen, then emigrated to the United States. In 1941 he was hit by a truck while absent-mindedly crossing a New York street, and although he recovered and did not stop playing in public until 1950, he was never the same force again. He died in New York on 29 January 1962.
Kreisler’s compositions include two operettas and a string quartet. His popular pieces, some of which he recorded as many as six times, were published as Folksongs from Austria, Small Pieces, Classical Manuscripts, Masterworks of the Violin, Original Compositions and Transcriptions. They reflect his twin skills as a colorist on the violin and as a pianist—he and Harold Bauer once performed Beethoven’s ‘Kreutzer’ Violin Sonata in New York, then switched instruments to play it again at the after-concert party.
from notes by Tully Potter © 2014
|Kreisler: Violin Music|
Hyperion is delighted to welcome award-winning violinist Jack Liebeck to the label, together with his frequent collaborator, Katya Apekisheva. Liebeck presents a selection of music by ‘revolutionary player and the epitome of the Viennese violinist ...» More
This sensational new release from German cellist Alban Gerhardt recaptures the novelty of the much-loved encores performed by Pablo Casals. Spanish-born Casals was universally recognized as one of the world’s greatest cellists and had a vast reper ...» More
|Favourite Encores for string quartet|
'How many string quartets play encores? Those that don't should have a listen to the Delmé Quartet's highly entertaining selection. The playing is exc ...
'This is quite magnificent' (CDReview)» More
|Rachmaninov: Preludes & Melodies|
In his second solo piano recital album for Signum, Alessio Bax further demonstrates his dazzling skill and flair in performance and interpretation—this time with Rachmaninov’s piano works. Centered around the Preludes op 23, the programme is descr ...» More
|Rachmaninov: The Complete Solo Piano Music|
'A fine achievement from Howard Shelley and Hyperion alike. These superbly recorded, idiomatic readings demonstrate Shelley's virtuoso pianism and aff ...
'A significant testimony to Howard Shelley's artistry. Pianistically impeccable, he understands what Rachmaninov was about' (Gramophone)» More
|Rachmaninov: The Transcriptions|
Rachmaninov’s transcriptions for piano were among his earliest compositional endeavours, and he continued the practice throughout his life. A delightful selection is recorded here.» More
|Rachmaninov: Violin Sonata & other works|
'Plenty to enjoy here' (Gramophone)
'Unexpected pleasures' (BBC Music Magazine)» More
|The Virtuoso Mandolin|
|AllegrettoJack Liebeck (violin), Katya Apekisheva (piano)» More|
|Caprice viennois, Op 2Jack Liebeck (violin), Katya Apekisheva (piano)» More|
|Chanson Louis XIII and PavaneAlban Gerhardt (cello), Cecile Licad (piano)» More|
|La chasseJack Liebeck (violin), Katya Apekisheva (piano)» More|
|LiebesfreudJack Liebeck (violin), Katya Apekisheva (piano)» More|
|LiebesfreudHoward Shelley (piano)» More|
|LiebesfreudAlessio Bax (piano)» More|
|LiebesleidMats Lidström (cello), Bengt Forsberg (piano)» More|
|LiebesleidHoward Shelley (piano)» More|
|LiebesleidAlessio Bax (piano)» More|
|LiebesleidJack Liebeck (violin), Katya Apekisheva (piano)» More|
|Marche miniature viennoiseJack Liebeck (violin), Katya Apekisheva (piano)» More|
|PolichinelleJack Liebeck (violin), Katya Apekisheva (piano)» More|
|Praeludium and AllegroJack Liebeck (violin), Katya Apekisheva (piano)» More|
|Recitativo and Scherzo, Op 6Jack Liebeck (violin)» More|
|Schön RosmarinJack Liebeck (violin), Katya Apekisheva (piano)» More|
|SyncopationJack Liebeck (violin), Katya Apekisheva (piano)» More|
|Tambourin chinois, Op 3Jack Liebeck (violin), Katya Apekisheva (piano)» More|
|Toy Soldiers' MarchJack Liebeck (violin), Katya Apekisheva (piano)» More|
|GIUSEPPE TARTINI (1692-1770))|
|Sonata in G minor 'Il trillo del Diavolo', Bg5Jack Liebeck (violin), Katya Apekisheva (piano)» More|
|Caprice viennois, Op 2 (Kreisler)|
|Chanson Louis XIII and Pavane (Kreisler)|
|La chasse (Kreisler)|
|La vida breve (Falla/Kreisler)|
|Marche miniature viennoise (Kreisler)|
|Mazurka in E minor|
|Orfeo ed Euridice (Gluck/Kreisler)|
|Praeludium and Allegro (Kreisler)|
|Recitativo and Scherzo, Op 6 (Kreisler)|
|Schön Rosmarin (Kreisler)|
|Six Romances, Op 38 (Rachmaninov/Kreisler)|
|Slavonic Dances, Op 72 (Dvořák/Kreisler)|
|Sonata in G minor 'Il trillo del Diavolo', Bg5 (Tartini/Kreisler)|
|String Quartet in A minor (Kreisler)|
|Tambourin chinois, Op 3 (Kreisler)|
|Toy Soldiers' March (Kreisler)|