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1905 Skovgaard The Danish Violinist American Tour SKOVGAARD has played before King Christian of Denmark, King Oscar of Sweden, King Hakon of Norway and Emperor Wilhelm of Germany by special request Having been intimately associated with Joseph Joachim for nearly ten years, Skovgaard inevitably bears marks of his influence. This may be seen in his playing, though it is now fully subordinated to the expression of his own virile and masterful personality. Figure SKOVGAARD THE DANISH VIOLINIST Figure AXEL SKOVGAARD was born in Copenhagen on May 20th, 1875. In this instance, as so often happens, coming events cast their shadows before. As by some curious instinct the child from the very first showed how the drift of his nature turned. There is still treasured in his old home a violin extemporized from a cigar box which was the boy's unceasing delight. By the time he was six, he was taking lessons. This continued under varius teachers in Copenhagen till he was twelve, when he came under the care of Carl Halir, the leading violinist of the Royal Opera in Berlin. At the age of twenty, with the recognition of real talent which so constantly distinguishes the masters, Joseph Joachim, the king of violinists, took him as a pupil, and he definitely entered on his long career of training as a violin virtuoso. In 1899 an opportunity came of buying the magnificent Stradivarius violin on which Skovgaard now always plays, and, almost unexpectedly, he was enabled to become its possessor. Steadily and surely he began to make his way as a European performer. He had the good fortune to play twice before the late King Christian of Denmark, at another time before the late King Oscar of Sweden, and again for Hakon, the present King of Norway. He also won the attention of Wilhelm, Emperor of Germany, in 1902, when he appeared as soloist at the opening of the Royal Berlin Academy of Music, with the result that twice the Emperior through Joseph Joachim, had him invited to play at private concerts in the Royal Palace in Berlin. The critical excerpts on the last page give some idea of his European successes. Skovgaard is now an artist whose power has had time to mature. He has gained those finer qualities of balance and resource of interpretation which can come in no other way than by the steady development of the musician himself in devotion to his inborn and chosen art. He happily escaped the misfortune of being foisted on the world as an infant prodigy. Instead, he has been allowed to follow the vastly wiser course of remaining unknown through the long years of unremitting toil which are essential to the proper development of genius. As a result, his work is now no immature and wonderful exhibition of miraculously early endowment, but the balanced, well-rounded performance of one who has earned the right to play as master of his art. Genius is there; without it no man can be a great musician. But it is genius controlled and made subservient to the will of one who is imbued with the highest tradition of what violin playing ought to be. The inspiration does SKOVGAARD THE DANISH VIOLINIST not run away with the player, rather it is the force which he holds firmly in hand and makes the servant of his own deliberate intent. Hence we now feel, in listening to Skovgaard, a sense of steadiness and reserve power which is after all the highest achievement of the mature artist. He plays with brain and will, and brings emotional intensity under their full control. As a result, his work grows and lasts. It appeals to the real artist as well as to the public, and promises still greater things in the future. One cannot but watch with interest his reception by the music-loving public of America, and expect for him that steady growth in the estimation of those whose verdict is one of the highest weight, for which his career hitherto has been so fitting a preparation. THE MAGNIFICENT STRADIVARIUS The $13,000.00 Violin Below is a picture of the wonderful Stradivarius violin upon which Skovgaard always plays. It has a most interesting and curious history, almost two hundred years old. Antonius Stradivarius, the greatest of violin makers, the secret of whose power has never been transmitted, fashioned the violin in 1712 in memory of his beloved son, and for years it lay on one side, unstrung, silent. Then began the romance described in Skovgaard's little book, The Story of My Violin, in which the great instrument was stolen from its maker in its native city of Cremona, Italy, and finally, after a series of adventures, was at last happily restored to the overjoyed Stradivarius. When the great master craftsman died, in 1737, the violin was purchased for a Spanish museum, and it remained there for one hundred and forty years as a wonderful specimen of the work of the greatest of violin makers, until the museum in which it had reposed so long was burned to the ground, and, as by a miracle, it was snatched from a fiery doom. Money not being forthcoming to rebuild the museum, the violin, like a homeless wanderer, was sent to London, where Skovgaard saw it at a dealer's, immediately fell in love with it and determined that nothing should prevent him from becoming the possessor of such a magnificent instrument. Soon after, it became his at a cost of fifty-two thousand marks ($13,000.00). Although it had matured and seasoned with age, it never had been played upon, and was in as perfect condition as when it left the hands of its creator. It is thus not only one of the finest violin treasures of the world, but one of the best preserved. For years it has benefited by the many hours' daily playing of a master who understands and can develop its powers, so that it is now worth vastly more than Skovgaard paid for it, and its value increases annually. Figure SKOVGAARD THE DANISH VIOLINIST London, England, Times. —Skovgaard's brilliant technique in conjunction with the elegant and artistic movement of the right arm rendered his interpretation of the Sjögren Sonata No. 2 the work of a master. Stockholm, Sweden, Dagens Nyheder. —A brilliant concert was given last night by the young Danish violinist, Axel Skovgaard. This young artist is able with the utmost ease to master the most technically difficult compositions. Christiania, Norway, Aftenposten. —Friday evening Skovgaard, Danish violin virtuoso, played here for a crowded house. Never was there such delight and enthusiasm expressed, and it might well be said that Skovgaard broke all records that night. Trondhjem, Norway, Adresseavisen. —Hr. Skovgaard has splendid technique and a beautiful tone. He plays with good taste, and has unusual power and command over his instrument, whether in neck-breaking runs, pizzicato, flageolet or other daring feats. Berlin, Germany, Lokal Anzeiger. —Skovgaard is a perfect master of his instrument and his audience is ivoluntarily drawn into a state of perfect harmony with him. He overcame the greatest technical difficulties with ease and the taste and thorough comprehension which characterized his playing proves that he possesses a complete knowledge of his art. Berlin, Germany, Neue Preussiche Zeitung. —We are left in a maze of bewilderment at this young violinist's positive talents which surpassed our greatest expectations. We without hesitancy place him on a standing with the greatest artists who up to this time have appeared here. A faultless technique is here combined with the deepest musical understanding. Copenhagen, Denmark, Vort Land. —Artistically the most briliant event of the season was the Skovgaard violin recital last night. From the time this artist begins to talk to you with his violin until he stops, you are compelled, whether you will or not, to listen. His art is mature, and his playing last evening was virile, magnetic and deeply emotional. Dortmund, Germany, General Anzeiger. Skovgaard is without a peer in the handling of his instrument, and his audience is unconsciously carried with him, reveling in all the different emotions felt by this master mind. He conquers with ease the great technical difficulties, and that taste and feeling which characterizes his playing reveals a high artistship and unusual command. Halle, Germany, Saale Zeitung. —It is a pleasure to hear a violin handled in such a manner. In the Mendelssohn Concerto, he picked out the delicious bits, and the Hungarian dances he imbued with a life and witchery that captivated all. Without hesitancy we place Skovgaard on the same plane as the great Russian violinist, Gregorowitsch, who appeared here recently. Copenhagen, Denmark, Dannebrog. His Majesty King Christian's Birthday. —Skovgaard's performance of Svendsen's violin concerto was a notable achievement and as is always the case when the famous artist performs, the enthusiasm was immense. Skovgaard has reached a point where he is above criticism. His training is that of the consummate musician, the finished, polished, purposeful. Dresden, Germany, Dresden Zeitung. —Skovgaard is not only a virtuoso but a master of his art, and one of the few violinists who makes us forget the instrument. His tone is pure and true, his bowing is supple and elegant, and his execution is marvelous in its accuracy and rapidity, and greatest of all is the way in which he is able to make his hearers feel and know the exact message of the masters he interprets. Essen, Germany, Volkszeitung. —The concert given by Skovgaard last night was characterized by an especially fine rendition of a noble and well-selected program. Herr Skovgaard revealed at once a remarkable technique and a sincere and soulful interpretation. A bowing like his cannot fail to bring out tones of the genuine kind, which are as poetical and seductive as a northern summer night—a wild winter storm. Frankfurt a/M., Germany, Frankfurter Zeitung. —Violin Virtuoso was the heading that appeared on Skovgaard's advance cards, and certainly did the young artist deserve the title, as was demonstrated at his concert last night. The technical difficulties, as for instance in Ernst's Concerto, he mastered with an ease and finish and exquisite musical taste, that changed the composition from a mere technical show piece to one of depth and beauty. Christiania, Norway, Dagbladet. —An evening of real enjoyment was given the people of Christiania last Tuesday, when the famous Danish violinist, Axel Skovgaard, appeared in concert. The program included some of the most beautiful pearls in musical literature and gave Skovgaard an opportunity to show his great talent and, figuratively speaking, to put the public at his feet. It was simply a dream to see him fairly shake the technical impediments from his finger tips. Gotteborg, Sweden, Handels ock Sjofarts Tidningen. —It was with much pleasure that we made the acquaintance of the Danish violinist, Axel Skovgaard, last night. He is one of the world's great artists, and the greatest living Scandinavian violinist. Standing on the stage, this colossal Dane is only music. Each movement of the body, while he is playing, is nothing but music, and the expression on his face tells you plainly that he is far away from you, deep in the land of tunes. Christiania, Norway, Oerebladet. —Skovgaard has come, has played, and has left us in a world of melody! I have heard Ole Bull, Remenyi and Vieuxtemps, but none of these artists possessed Skovgaard's power and temperament. It seems to me that this Danish artist reminds me more of the Belgian Ysaye than of any of the others. Here is the same temperament, the always sure intonation, the free interpretation, the trills like the nightingales, and the rapid technique that almost carries us off our feet. Kalmar, Sweden, Barometern. —The Skovgaard concert last night was very interesting. The program was dignified and varied and the performer was happy in his choice of assistance. With taste and feeling Skovgaard played the E minor Sonata by Emil Sjogren, a composition of unquestionable merit. The Concerto in F sharp minor by Vieuxtemps was so perfectly fitted to Skovgaard that it might easily be counted the star number of the evening, and came as a pleasant change after the heavy sonata. Vienna, Germany, Neues Wiener Zeitung. —His technique is so clean and faultless. Especially would I mention the playing of the Bach compositions without accompaniment. In the fortissimo passages one was reminded of full organ, while in the pianissimo parts, each of the four voices were marked by an unusual distinctness. At the close of the program Herr Skovgaard was forced to bow time after time, and even after the lights had been extinguished the people remained in the hall, and would not be satisfied until Skovgaard appeared, and in the darkness played Traumerei by Schumann. Munich, Germany, Neueste Nachrichten. —Skovgaard, the Danish violin virtuoso, proved himself an artist of such exceptional power that very few of today's violinists can be compared with him. Here is a player of not only uncommon and rare ability but one thoroughly imbued with soulfulness and poetic feeling. Skovgaard's style is free from all affectation, and possessing a magnetic personality, he at once draws his audience to him. Nothing could have been more artistic, mature or exalted, than his reading of Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata. Skovgaard The Danish Violinist American Tour Figure THE $50,000.00 HAND IT TOOK Skovgaard thirty years to make this hand. Incessant training and the inborn soul of the artist fashioned it. To the ordinary eye it is not very different from other well developed hands. Yet it has the power almost automatically to express through the violin the exquisite beauty and marvelous tone-pictures which the player feels and sees as he interprets the work of the masters. As an investment it represents a man's life work. But it represents, too, the inborn gift which no money can buy. That is why it is insured for fifty thousand dollars.
|Title||Skovgaard the Danish violinist: American tour|
|Topical Subject (LCSH)||
|Personal Name Subject||Skovgaard, Axel|
|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||5|
|Digitization Specifications||Scanned at 600 dpi, 32-bit color. Master image available in tiff format.|