Latvian virtuoso violinist Philippe Hirschhorn (11 June 1946, Riga – 26 November 1996, Brussels) plays the French violinist and composer Émile Sauret’s (22 May 1852 – 12 February 1920) famous cadenza for the first movement of Niccolò Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Orchestre National de Belgique conducted by René Defossez. Recorded during the Queen Elisabeth International Competition 1967 in Brussels, where Hirschhorn took the 1st prize.

Philippe Hirschhorn plays Émile Sauret’s famous cadenza for the first movement of Niccolò Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Orchestre National de Belgique conducted by René Defossez. Recorded during the Queen Elisabeth International Competition 1967 in Brussels, where Hirschhorn took the 1st prize.

Things to notice:

  • Look at how low Hirschhorn’s right arm is, especially when acquiring the G string. Made even more extreme by the fact that his instrument is very flat on his shoulder. I think he’s the most extreme of anyone I’ve seen in that regard. Notice how his hand/fingers “sink” into the string as a result of this right arm anticipation.
  • Is he tense or is he loose? Of course, he’s loose, otherwise, you wouldn’t hear what you hear. But, look at how immovable his violin appears. At first glance, you might think he’s tense and gripping the violin for dear life. After all, there isn’t much in the way of ‘organic swaying’ up/down/sideways with the instrument. The violin is sitting on an immovable cloud, and his hands are dancing around it in perfect harmony. You can see the result of an absolute obsession with the fundamentals of technique. Putting everything in its place without force.

Footage provided by MeloClassic. They have amazing selections of restored rare recordings. Check out their website here: meloclassic.com

Émile Sauret

Émile Sauret, born on May 22, 1852, and passing on February 12, 1920, was a notable French violinist and composer. He is credited with composing over 100 pieces for the violin. Among these, his renowned cadenza for the first movement of Niccolò Paganini’s First Violin Concerto and the “Gradus ad Parnassum” (1894) stand out.

Émile Sauret
Émile Sauret (22 May 1852 – 12 February 1920) was a French violinist and composer. Sauret wrote over 100 violin pieces, including a famous cadenza for the first movement of Niccolò Paganini’s First Violin Concerto, and the “Gradus ad Parnassum” (1894).

Sauret’s musical journey began in Dun-le-Roi, where he was born in 1852. Displaying prodigious talent, he commenced violin lessons at the Conservatoire de Strasbourg at just six years old. His prodigy status was cemented by his performances starting at the age of eight. His violin studies included tutelage under esteemed musicians Charles Auguste de Bériot, Henri Vieuxtemps, and Henryk Wieniawski. At 18, Sauret expanded his musical education to include composition, studying under Salomon Jadassohn at the Leipzig Conservatory. This period was marked by important friendships with figures like Fritz Steinbach and Richard Sahla.

Sauret’s career saw him perform in some of the most prestigious concert halls of his era. His debut in the United States occurred in 1872, where he also performed sonatas with Franz Liszt. His personal life included a marriage in 1873 to Venezuelan pianist and composer Teresa Carreño, with whom he had a daughter, Emilita. This marriage, however, ended, and he remarried in 1879.

His professional tenure included positions at various institutions, such as the Neue Akademie der Tonkunst in Berlin, where he created the Twelve Études Artistiques, and the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he became a violin professor in 1890. He also taught at the Musical College in Chicago in 1903 and Trinity College in London from 1908. His notable students included musicians like Tor Aulin, Jan Hambourg, and William Henry Reed.

Despite his vast body of work, Sauret is often remembered mainly for his challenging violin compositions and specifically the cadenza for Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major.

Sauret was also known for playing a violin made by Guarnerius del Gesù in 1744, named “Sauret”. This violin was later purchased by renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman in 1986.

Philippe Hirschhorn

Philippe Hirschhorn plays the famous cadenza for the first movement of Niccolò Paganini Violin Concerto No. 1 by Émile Sauret
Latvian virtuoso violinist Philippe Hirschhorn (11 June 1946, Riga – 26 November 1996, Brussels) playing the French violinist and composer Émile Sauret’s (22 May 1852 – 12 February 1920) famous cadenza for the first movement of Niccolò Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1.

Philippe Hirschhorn, born on June 11, 1946, in Riga and passing away on November 26, 1996, to brain cancer, in Brussels, was a celebrated virtuoso violinist. His claim to fame was winning the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in 1967. As a citizen of the Soviet Union, Hirschhorn’s early life and education were in Riga, Latvia, where he initially studied at the Darsin music school under Waldemar Sturestep. He later honed his skills at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire (known at the time as the Leningrad Conservatory), studying under Michael Waiman.

Hirschhorn’s career was marked by performances across the globe, including in Europe, America, and Japan. He collaborated with some of the world’s most esteemed orchestras, led by renowned conductors such as Herbert von Karajan, Uri Segal, Eugene Ormandy, Yury Temirkanov, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Gary Bertini, and Ronald Zollman. His partnerships extended to playing alongside distinguished artists like Roger Woodward, Elisabeth Leonskaya, Martha Argerich, James Tocco, Alexandre Rabinovitch-Barakovsky, Frederic Meinders, Hans Mannes, and Brigitte Engerer, among others.

Known for his exceptional technical and musical prowess, the recordings of Hirschhorn’s performances are treasured examples of his talent. As a dedicated teacher, he influenced a generation of violinists, including Philippe Graffin, David Grimal, Cornelia Angerhofer, Janine Jansen, Yoris Jarzynski, Marie-Pierre Vendôme, and many more, who have devoted their careers to performance and education in the field of violin.

Sources

M. Özgür Nevres

Published by M. Özgür Nevres

I am Özgür Nevres, a software engineer, a former road racing cyclist, and also an amateur musician. I opened andantemoderato.com to share my favorite music. I also take care of stray cats & dogs. This website's all income goes directly to our furry friends. Please consider supporting me on Patreon, so I can help more animals!

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