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.

8 thoughts on “Kreisler’s "Syncopation" (1925) – A Classical Cousin

  1. i was/am a former classical musician also and am cursed with musical brain worms constantly; it's a pleasure and anathema at the same time… i sent you a comment on part 2, although i don't know if it arrived or not?

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  2. Once upon a time I dreamed of being a musician but couldn’t master the clarinet well enough to win first chair …. so I moved on to other pursuits and haven’t touched a clarinet since 1965… yep, I’m old ….

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  3. Hello! I am familiar with the second song, although I did not know the name of the composer. If you played these works, you were fairly advanced as a musician. Hopefully you can take it up again for your own personal enjoyment.What did you decide to major in? Writing? Because it's very good. I have not finished Part 2, but hope to, today.

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  4. Thanks, Sharon, I'm so glad to hear it! I'll be sending out Part 3, hopefully this evening…At one point I wanted to major in music, but there were a lot of issues with that route (cost, performance nerves, disinterest in teaching, my parents' concern about job prospects, etc). I ended up majoring in computer science, where it was very easy to find a job as a programmer. The humanities are still my first love, though. 🙂

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  5. RT: did i mention that i was also a clarinet player? i played in a mexican orchestra for a year and had other gigs in San Francisco and other places… i quit because of not enough money and i wasn't all that great a musician…

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