New video: Fascinating Ida

New video: Fascinating Ida


norman lebrecht

August 20, 2016

Rare video of Ida Haendel playing Paganini and Bach in the 1980s, newly posted on Youtube.

This is how it used to be done.


  • Robert Roy says:

    Ida Haendel must be the ‘last woman standing’ of what must be the greatest generation of fiddle players to have ever lived. Mr. Heifetz, Menuhin, Oistrakh, Neveu, Hassid, Milstein, Kogan, Stern and… insert your own missing name here.

    At her best, she was wonderful and with a technique that seemed effortless. Long live Ida.

  • His last bow says:

    Could a violinist or someone else in the know explain what is special about her and Robert Roy’s lineage list’s technique/interpretation, compared for example to the hordes of Asian teenagers swamping today’s contests?

    • Milka says:

      It is very simple all you have to do is listen—start with Kreisler then Heifetz
      and early Menuhin- the “hordes” to use your term of Asian teenagers swamping to-day’s contests are just that , contestants , a far cry from being violinists.Try listening to the dreadful Butterfly concerto and study how it came about will explain the difference.
      Of course there are also Western players who are acrobatic technicians and clueless
      to the art.Now and then however an artist appears .

      • Robert Roy says:

        A very good question! If one has listened to these players for a great many years, they are all identifiable by their very sound. It’s difficult to describe a player’s sound in mere words but the very best players have their own unique voice as indeed singers do.

        One of the problems of more modern players is that, frankly, they all sound the same. Mind you, I am optimistic that it’s a characteristic that’s coming back.

  • Robert Roy says:

    Excellent choices! Thank you.

  • luciano tanto says:

    …etcetera, etcetera.

  • Dave Ferre says: > trailer of a documentary of her life.


    Let’s not forget Herman Krebbers. His Beethoven and Brahms are still my go-to versions of the work.

  • M2N2K says:

    There is an important reason why starting from 1970s most of the top violinists and other instrumentalists are becoming less easily identifiable by their playing. It is because musical tastes and resulting interpretational approaches changed at around that time from being centered on the individuality of the performer to those that are geared toward much greater respect for the actual creators of the music aka composers. Therefore differences in performing music by different composers and fidelity to each composer’s style became much more important than cultivating each performer’s individual sound and style that would make him/her different from others regardless of what kind of music is being played.