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Reviews of Huberman by Neville Cardus, part II: technique and spirit

Reviews of Huberman by Neville Cardus, part II: technique and spirit

Huberman’s technique was an issue that was discussed in various newspaper reviews, and letters from listeners. In the follwing review for The Manchester Guardian, dated 13 December 1933, Neville Cardus discussed this issue in his normal poetic manner, and suggested that Huberman’s technique points to metaphysical issues.
Cardus talked about Menuhin’s ‘perfect’ technique, who was only seventeen years old and performed in England during those days, and claimed that if his ‘playing remains for ever sensuously satisfying, flawless in line and tone, he will remain outside the secret places of the imagination.’ The critic reported that a remark was made in the audience that Huberman’s tone was not as consistent as that of Menuhin. Cardus argued that there is not only a difference of age between the two violinists, but also a psychological difference: ‘Huberman is a searcher, a chaser if ideals’. He suggested that if Huberman would be given Menuhin’s technique, he would find it ‘a prison for his spirit.’ Cardus told his readers that several years ago Huberman reached the peak of his technique, and at that very moment he stopped playing for a year, and went to study philosophy during that pause period, at the Sorbonne. Cardus suggested that Huberman is neither a slave of ‘beautiful sounds’ nor ‘the allurements of the fiddle’. Just like Max Brod, Cardus compares Huberman to Beethoven. He suggested that their similar great quality is in ‘penetrating and penetrating’ beyond the mere beautiful sound. He hinted to Moses when he wrote that Huberman ’strikes music out of his instrument as though with the rod on the rock.’
Cardus argued that if Huberman can do an ‘exquisite’ violin sound in one place, surly his ‘hard’ sounds are not an outcome of technical flaw. This ‘hard’ sound, so he claimed, is connected to the idea of music. Cardus regretted that in England, music is regarded as something beautiful that is apart of life, while Huberman’s playing is a ‘criticism of life’.
Huberman’s performance of the slow movement of Beethoven’s violin concerto was describe by Cardus in the following: ‘Never before have I heard the figuration sound so unearthly, so spiritual in its mazeful transitions.’     

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