Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
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This study explores elements contained or implied in the question of what can the modern performer of violin literature learn and apply from the life, creative output, and career of Fritz Kreisler, a successful performer and composer of a past era. It is now the twenty-first century, and Fritz Kreisler, who lived from the final quarter of the nineteenth century beyond the first half of the twentieth century continues as a name widely recognized and associated with excellence in violin performance. His name is legendary among violinists, and he left a lasting legacy in the compositions that he created for us to gain professional enlightenment, inspiration, and motivation.Kreisler’s compositions have been classified in the categories of Original Works, Works in the Style of..., Transcriptions, and Cadenzas. Interestingly, the “in the style of...” works are his own original compositions, but he cited them as works of 17th and 18th century composers. He claimed to have found this treasure of music and reworked it as new performance material for himself. Since he often used these for recitals and other performances, he believed that there would be greater credibility if fewer pieces bearing his name as composer were programmed for the same performance. By crediting certain works as discoveries, he was able to program a greater number of his own compositions without incurring a criticism of vanity along with a pretentious intellectual impression by the audience that the works were of lesser quality since they were the creations of the performer. The deception, known by only a few of his closest friends, lasted for about three decades until he officially made it public in 1935 resulting in mixed reactions. The performance style associated with Kreisler is one of emotional import born of his tendency to use vibrato on every note, inspired by the style of Wieniawski, a successful predecessor of his who studied with the same teacher as he at the Paris Conservatory. Other elements include the use of great showiness created by dramatic violin chords, flashy bowing techniques, and frequent cadenza-like passages in even his short solo works. Melodies accompanied by a double stop of fingered tremolo, sequences that highlight pointillistic melodies, fanfare passages created by use of violin triple stops, and endings garnished with a harmonic or delicate pizzicato are mainstay features of Kreisler’s writing for the violin. All of his violin compositions contain passages with one or more of these features, and the longer works have extended passages dedicated to the use of certain ones of these characteristic techniques. Prospective performers could conceivably use passages of Kreisler’s work in the same way in which they use method books of Kreutzer, Rode or Dont. In all these, one finds that the compositions call for musical skills to be executed that look impossible at first encounter, but with study can be acquired for routine incorporation as usable skills.
violin cadenzas; violin pedagogy; violin studies; violin study creation; violin technique; violin virtuoso
Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Performance Studies | Theatre and Performance Studies
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
White, Walter Daniel, "Violin Performance Influences of Fritz Kreisler" (2022). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 4628.
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