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Want to make appointment Reprinted from The Music News, Friday, February 10, 1928. ESBJORN FINDS EMOTION IN PAGANINI SCORES Bruno Esbjorn, noted Swedish violinist, who is giving this month and next a series of historical recitals of violin music written by violinists, is an enthusiast about the works of Paganini. Seeming almost, at times, like a reincarnation of the wizard violinist, the Esbjorn technic laughs at the demands of the famous Caprices and tosses off the difficult double harmonics of the Witches' Dance with perfect nonchalance, but— For me, he says, Paganini is the most fascinating composer for the violin in musical literature. None exceeds him in Figure BRUNO ESBJORN humor and in emotional content. People of this generation do not know him and his works as they should. The man must have been a great artist to have occupied the thought and gained the homage of Liszt, of Brahms, of Schumann, of Berlioz. He opened a new phase of musical art by his playing and there is no modern score from Berlioz to the present day, which does not owe him a debt. He created a new idiom for the violin, and by showing its possibilities he created new standards of the technical virtuosity in the orchestra. And as for the piano, did you know that Liszt completely changed his technic after hearing Paganini play? He retired from concert work and spent months in secret practice until he had perfected the technical ideas with which Paganini inspired him. Such a man could not have been 'superficial,' as people generally think Paganini to be. His must have been great and soulful playing, as well as dazzling technically, to have made such an impress on his generation and musical art. Hearing Mr. Esbjorn, in his studio, interrupt himself to play a bubbling, merry run in thirds from one of the Caprices, or a couple of measures from the lovely melody of the first movement of the Concerto in D, or a passage of double harmonics (traps for unwary fingers) from Witches' Dance (Paganini), the idea came that perchance the reason for Paganini's unpopularity among violinists lay in his merciless demands for technic. There are few enough violinists before the public who can toss off the Paganini technic as can Bruno Esbjorn. He doesn't merely play the notes. He makes them laugh and wail, and giggle and sob. He translates the score, he makes the dazzling technic a vehicle for human emotion. The series of five recitals which Esbjorn is giving at Bush (on February 8 and 22 and March 7 and 21—the first was on January 25), are part of the History of Music Course of Cecelia Ray Berry. From Corelli to Kreisler, and with comments by Miss Berry, the artist gives a comprehensive and interesting survey of violin literature by the men who truly knew how to write for the instrument. The array of big works which Esbjorn will play is imposing. The Devil's Trill Sonata of Tartini, two concertos by Rode and Spohr, and an entire Paganini program, featuring the concerto, the Witches' Dance and six Caprices are just a few high lights in the list. In another program are the Hungarian Airs of Ernst, with the Vieuxtemps Concerto in D and the A major Polonaise of Wieniawski thrown in for good measure. And the final program, to be given March 21, includes such violinist composers as Joachim, Sarasate, Ries, Bazzini, Ysaye and Kreisler. Tartini and Paganini, however, are not the only enthusiasms of Violinist Esbjorn. He is a chess player par excellence, and many are the cups and prizes he has won in this game of skill. One of the best players of the Chicago Swedish Chess Club, he finds in the battle of wits over the kings and pawns and queens and castles a keen mental stimulus and a refreshing relaxation from, as he says, too much music. For many years he has kept a chess book, in which he has recorded all the moves of every game he has won or lost. Of such material are champions made! Success in music and success in chess are all part of the Esbjorn personality, great talent, great patience, great skill balanced by a fine reverence for tradition, a sensitive feeling for art—and a strong sense of humor. This it is which makes his Paganini interpretations distinctive and artistic and thoroughly charming. There is a touch of human nature in them, which as Shakespeare so wisely says.... A. K. C.
|Topical Subject (LCSH)||Violinists|
|Personal Name Subject||Esbjorn, Bruno|
|Digital Collection||Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century|
|Contributing Institution||University of Iowa. Libraries. Special Collections Dept.|
|Archival Collection||Redpath Chautauqua Collection|
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|Contact Information||Contact the Special Collections Dept. at The University of Iowa Libraries: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/contact/index/|
|Number of Pages||1|
|Digitization Specifications||Scanned at 600 dpi, 32-bit color. Master image available in tiff format.|