Ingenuity and White Lies: WQXR Interview (1955) with violinist Fritz Kreisler

Ghenady Meirson
Submitted: Sat, February 16, 2013 - 12:19pm EST
Violinist and Composer Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962)

In WQXR interview, the great Fritz Kreisler declares that he didn't have a violin teacher from the age of ten. "I listened to them ... I learned a lot from them," he added referring to Brahms himself and Joseph Joachim.

This is where true learning begins for those destined to succeed.

This short two-part interview, on the occasion of Fritz Kreisler's 80th birthday, is a rare opportunity to hear the man tell a story of his various experiences and collaborations.

Click to play:

Fritz Kreisler's 80th Birthday Interview (Part 1) (1955-02-02)
Fritz Kreisler's 80th Birthday Interview (Part 2) (1955-02-02)

Kreisler was also a composer of short original violin pieces as well as arrangements. Since he was trying to build a name for himself as a violinist, to avoid additional criticism as a composer, he published his music under the names of other composers, claiming that these where their unknown works. Hence, the 'white lies'. On the occasion of his 60th birthday celebration, his publisher finally revealed to the world that these were Kreisler's works.

Kreisler speaks very affectionately about Johannes Brahms. He thought of him as the greatest accompanist/collaborator with a soloist. In the Vienna Conservatory there was a restaurant that became a musicians' club, and Brahms was their 'president.' They played chamber music once a week and Brahms particularly wanted to hear his newest works performed.

Abram Chasins, then WQXR music director and interviewer, suggested that he thought Kreisler's performance of the Brahms violin concerto was the definitive standard. Kreisler was humble enough to agree to only portions of the concerto.

Click to play:

Brahms Violin Concerto Kreisler/Blech (1/4)
Brahms Violin Concerto Kreisler/Blech (2/4)
Brahms Violin Concerto Kreisler/Blech (3/4)
Brahms Violin Concerto - Kreisler/Blech (4/4)

The WQXR program begins with prerecorded best wishes from an all-star lineup of his colleagues including Mischa Elman, Yehudi Menuhin, Nathan Milstein, Erica Morini, Joseph Szigeti, Ruggiero Ricci and Isaac Stern.

Music Genres: 
Fritz Kreisler plays Thaïs-Meditation