^ Back to Top
^ Back to Discography
Classical Music Home
Email Password  
Not a subscriber yet?
Keyword Search


Efrem Zimbalist’s career was characterised by a number of enterprising concert tours. Passionate about taking music to places where it was rarely practised, when touring the Far East in the 1920s he would accept bookings in any location, however insignificant; this strategy brought him a number of pupils from Japan.

Hailed by Glazunov at his graduation recital as a ‘colossal talent’, Zimbalist was famed for his rapid pace of learning, claiming in a New York Times interview of 1911 that he could memorise any concerto in two weeks. Even when, at the end of his performing career, he came out of retirement to premiere Menotti’s Concerto in 1952 he learnt it in just three weeks.

As a stylist Zimbalist was quite reserved. His recordings of 1911–1925 for Victor reveal a focused and clean sound with the tight vibrato typical of many at this time (and quite similar to Auer’s) and a firm, articulate tone. His own Hebrew Melody and Dance (recorded in 1911) represents his compositional output here, whilst the Brahms-Joachim Hungarian Dance No. 20 (1911) demonstrates a rather more outlandish approach than in the majority of his recordings, with frequent (though rapid) portamenti and quite extreme alterations of tempo and rhythm to deliver the ‘gypsy’ folk-style with great effect. The famous 1915 pairing with Kreisler for Bach’s Double Violin Concerto shows the soloists blending well; the difference between them is most striking in the slow movement where Zimbalist, playing the second part, commences with a tone of discreet vibrato and pronounced portamenti, Kreisler sounding more modern.

Zimbalist’s 1930 recording of Brahms’s D minor Sonata reveals a pure sound with a relatively slight vibrato and sparing use of portamento. Interestingly, it also displays some of the rather odd fluctuations of tempo and rhythmic manipulations which characterise the playing of Elman and Seidel in the same sonata, albeit in different places. Tempting though it is to infer a performing tradition (perhaps associated with Auer himself ) the results are directly comparable neither to nineteenth-century performing style nor, indeed, to each other.

© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Milsom (A–Z of String Players, Naxos 8.558081-84)

View by Role: Classical Artist | Classical Composer | Arranger
Role: Classical Artist 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
A TO Z OF STRING PLAYERS Naxos Educational
Chamber Music
BACH, J.S. / MOZART: Violin Concertos (Kreisler) (1915-1945) Naxos Historical
KREISLER, Fritz: Complete Recordings, Vol. 3 (1914-1916) Naxos Historical

Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 

Role: Arranger 
Album Title  Catalogue No  Work Category 

 View Albums

For picture licensing, please contact customer service.

 Tell a Friend |  Bookmark this page Digg It |  Bookmark this page Del.icio.us. |  Add to Facebook Facebook |  FURL FURL |  Add to MySpace MySpace |  Stumbleupon StumbleUpon |  Twitter Twitter

Famous Composers Quick Link:
Bach | Beethoven | Chopin | Dowland | Handel | Haydn | Mozart | Glazunov | Schumann | R Strauss | Vivaldi
11:34:02 AM, 30 April 2016
All Naxos Historical, Naxos Classical Archives, Naxos Jazz, Folk and Rock Legends and Naxos Nostalgia titles are not available in the United States and some titles may not be available in Australia and Singapore because these countries have copyright laws that provide or may provide for terms of protection for sound recordings that differ from the rest of the world.
Copyright © 2016 Naxos Digital Services Ltd. All rights reserved.     Terms of Use     Privacy Policy
Classical Music Home
NOTICE: This site was unavailable for several hours on Saturday, June 25th 2011 due to some unexpected but essential maintenance work. We apologize for any inconvenience.