Kreisler’s "Syncopation" (1925) – A Classical Cousin

Recently, I dreamed I was playing the second movement of Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto, on stage, in front of a professional violinist, whom I was trying to “prove myself” to (!!).  I did tolerably well, which is the surprising thing, considering I never learned the piece (though always wanted to).

My violin

Ever since then, I keep thinking about picking it up again. I’ve barely touched my violin since I quit taking lessons about ten years ago (can it be, already?), when college took over my time and energies.  I generally don’t put much stock into dreams, but if nothing else, I feel inspired to start again, in seriousness.

Some of my favorite music for the violin was written by Austrian composer Fritz Kreisler.  He’s best known for his soulful “Praeludium and Allegro” (a piece I learned once) – in style, a kind of 20th-century successor of Vivaldi.  More delightful to me, however, are his lighter pieces in the turn-of-the-century style, or even a bit later.

Here’s “Syncopation,” played by the man himself, in an arrangement including his brother Hugo on the cello:

A newer rendition by Canadian James Ehnes is also excellent.

While we’re talking about Kreisler, here’s his recording of Meditation from Thais by Jules Massenet.  As a (admittedly moody) teenager, this was a favorite piece to play, and one of the few I could play decently well:

Well, regardless of whether I start practicing again, I will forever have the violinist’s repertoire ingrained in my consciousness.