Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Contemporary Violinists Better than Hilary Hahn Playlist

Just of the present..:

Nigel Kennedy (the punk asshole whom I'm ashamed to admit is for me is nevertheless probably the greatest classical violinist in the world.)

Janine Jansen (My guess is, in 10 years, she will be the world's least only by my criteria)

Gidon Kremer

Leila Josefowicz (the real greatest American violinist of her generation)

Rachel Barton Pine (her real rival, playing Metallica here)

Thomas Zehetmair

Anne Sophie Mutter (she used to be lethally dull when she was the original violin babe, but she's become a true great as she's gotten older)

Maxim Vengerov (the real greatest violinist of Hahn's generation)

Dora Schwarzberg

Joshua Bell (I'm kind of ashamed, but he really is as great as all those swooning old ladies say he is.)

Midori (again, believe the hype)

Frank Peter Zimmerman

Sakaya Shoji (she could give Janine Jansen a run for her money)

Baiba Skride (so could she, it really is remarkable how many great female violinists there are today, they easily beat their male counterparts)

Shlomo Mintz (what's happened to him lately?)

Lara St. John (yes, that Lara St. John)

Isabelle Faust

Itzhak Perlman (at least when he was in his prime)

Gyorgy Pauk (albeit now retired.)

Ida Haendel (still playing well into her eighties)

Ivry Gitlis (in his late eighties here, now age 90 and still playing!)

There are other violinists whom many music lovers find great too - Vadim Repin, Julian Rachlin, Viktoria Mullova, Leonidas Kavakos, Silvia Marcovici, Lisa Batiashvili, Nikolai Znaider, Sarah Chang, Renauld Capucon, Augustin Hadelich, Daniel Hope, Nicola Benedetti, Julia Fischer (Hilary's German twin), Christian Tetzlaff, Arabella Steinbacher, Pinchas Zukerman, Gil Shaham, Kyoko Takezawa, Kyung Wha Chung, Cho-Liang Lin, Aaron Rosand -  but they strike me as technically well-equipped but too antiseptic. It felt tough to leave some of them off the list - particularly Shaham, Tetzlaff, and Daniel Hope. But in my opinion, they communicate too little real individuality, no inner world to draw us into. And that, ultimately, is what a great performer can do.

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