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My name is Avior Byron and I am a musicologist, blogger and composer. I write books, articles and a blog about music, performance, research, and theory. Read more at my about page

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Two antithesis reviews of Huberman

Today I had only one hour to sit in the Huberman Archive in Tel-Aviv. But I read two interesting newspaper clippings about Huberman’s performances:

The Argonaut, from San Francisco, California wrote on 3 April 1936 about Huberman’s ‘imperfect’ technique: "It is but natural, if not essential, that the utter submergence of self to the recreation of the composer’s message can not always result in a one hundred per cent technical performance – nor should it. We would rather hear an artist give his heart and soul to transmitting a master’s ideas and ideals than concentrate his mind upon exact placing of every note, the unchanging clarity of tone quality and the cold, methodical precision of approximate technical perfection. In other words, we prefer an artist of warmth of expression and intensity of emotional versatility to another who has technical precision but no depth of feeling."

Not all critics saw Huberman as a messenger of the composer or any other metaphysical entity. W. L. wrote at The Manchester Guardian on 4 November 1935 about Huberman’s approach to the Brahms Violin Concerto and compared it to that of other violinists: ‘Heifetz stands aloof from it, observing all but seemingly remaining unmoved by it. Kreisler comes to it with love and reverence, and, without disturbing the unity of the work, shows us each of it wonders like a connoisseur lovingly proud of his treasures. Huberman sees with so many of us that Brahms lacks inner vitality, and, again without disturbing the shape of the work, infuses it with his own quick, intense vitality. It is impossible to imagine finer-nerved or more sensitive fiddling than Huberman gave us.’ Here the critic argued that Huberman adds to the music an important element that is lacking from the score due to the composer’s limitations. This is an antithesis to the views mentioned above.    

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