That was not good enough, said Ivry. We’d better play it again

That was not good enough, said Ivry. We’d better play it again


norman lebrecht

December 25, 2020

At an April 2012 concert for his 90th birthday in Brussels, Ivry Gitlis was unhappy with a performance of the Schumann piano quintet that he played with Martha Argerich, Mischa Maisky, Maxim Vengerov, Amihai Grosz.

At the end of the show, he demanded a repeat performance. No-one left the hall before midnight.

That was Ivry.


Also involved were students of the Musica Mundi music school where Ivry came to teach for many years.



  • BR says:

    Amihai Grosz !

  • violin accordion says:

    Schumann was frequently mad, depressed , manic or mixed state. But not as mad as a box of frogs.
    Here it seems one person seems to impose an interpretation that flouts line, direction and momentum ,
    direction and ultimately, context of the movement as part of the whole.
    Other performances with Argerich Maisky et al are compelling and legendary

  • Herbie G says:

    What a sad loss. Gitlis was nurtured in a generation in which so many of the great performers had their own unique auras – Heifetz, Kreisler, Ferras, Haendel, Casals and Schnabel, among others. He was passionate, took risks, lived for the moment and marked every performance with his own fingerprint. Not for him the seeking after general-purpose chromium-plated technical perfection at the expense of individuality. He was reported as saying, at a masterclass, ‘… don’t be so polite with the music, it’s like being in love!’. The infectious smile that appeared in his photographs seemed to find its way into his performances.

    Neither did he limit himself to the hackneyed mainstream repertoire. In addition to fine recordings of the usual masterpieces – the Sibelius and Tchaikovsky concertos, for example, he also ventured into Bartok, Paganini, Berg, Stravinsky and Hindemith.

    He also played, to perfection, a Svengali-like hypnotist in the film ‘The Story of Adele H’.

    Gitlis was the most modest of performers – never seeking the status of a ‘celeb’. He revelled in the joy of performing and his recorded archive will be a fitting memory for a much-loved violinist.

    RIP Ivry.

  • Trevor says:

    We were fortunate to be at the concert, in the third row centre. It was a wonderful evening and a great homage to a very special musician. Much loved here in Brussels due to his work with the Musica Mundi music school and the concerts given each summer in Genval.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Yep, Ivry was an epic dude!
    (BTW, Joshua Bell was not part of that quintet.)
    Farewell, Maestro.

  • Peter Bogaert says:

    The Schumann performance here is of an eternal beauty…

  • John Dalkas says:

    What an extraordinary, moving tribute to Gitlis, so lovingly played and filmed. And so uplifting in these dark times. Thank you Norman!

  • Violapower says:

    Josh Bell wasn’t in that quintet. Did you think that the youngish, brunette-ish violist was Josh? Come on now…

  • Malcolm Kottler says:

    Joshua Bell was not in this performance.

  • CJ says:

    Martha Argerich and Stephen Kovacevich did the same, also in Brussels, in March 2019 (Rachmaninov, Danses symphoniques).

  • Themysteriousviolist says:

    The viola part was performed Amihai Grosz, first violist of the Berliner Philarmoniker.

  • Ashu says:

    I wonder what the story is behind the picture of him with Yoko Ono and her husband.