Carl Flesch


by José Sánchez-Penzo

 
- Authorised by the late Carl F. Flesch (1910 - 2008) -

Carl Flesch
by
J. Sánchez-Penzo



 

We are still mourning the loss of

Carl F. Flesch


who passed away in London on Monday 11th February 2008.

He contributed with invaluable data and assistance to this site.

 





Photo by courtesy of
Carl F. Flesch
Carl Flesch

Violin Virtuoso and Pedagogue

"Carl Flesch's achievements as a performing virtuoso were as impressive as his powers as a teacher. Out of his vast repertoire encompassing practically all styles - from Baroque to twentieth century - his performances of concerti by Bach, Beethoven and Brahms stood out with an inimitable authority that made them uniquely inspiring"

Szymon Goldberg




1   Personal Data

  • Born in October 9, 1873 in Wieselburg (Moson),
    Hungary. 1
  • He is given the name Károly 2
  • Married to Bertha Josephus-Jitta
  • Children: Johanna, Friedrich, Carl
  • Adopted German nationality in 1930 retaining the Hungarian
  • Is deprived of the German nationality in 1935
  • Died in November 15, 1944 in Lucerne, Switzerland
Carl Flesch with his wife Bertha Josephus-Jitta
Photo by courtesy of Carl F. Flesch

 


Flesch Károly Cultural Centre in Mosonmagyaróvár
Photo by Géza Moldoványi
Courtesy of the Board of the Mrs Fejes Music Foundation 3

Notes:
  1. Moson was combined 1939 with the neighbouring towns Magyaróvár and Lucsony being Mosonmagyaróvár the new name.
  2. Until 1905 Flesch spelled his name 'Karl'. Afterwards he changed it to 'Carl'.
  3. The Mrs Fejes Music Foundation was established upon private initiative by the Municipality of Mosonmagyaróvár in 1990 to foster the memory of the town's native Carl Flesch.



2   Professional Data

 

2.1   Teachers:

  • Back, Adolf - Vienna (1883 - 1885)
  • Maxintsak, Josef - Vienna Conservatoire (1885 - 1886)
  • Grün, Jakob - Vienna Conservatoire (1886 - 1890)
  • Sauzay, Eugčne - Paris Conservatoire (1890 - 1894)
  • Marsick, Martin - Paris Conservatoire (1890 - 1894)

 

2.2   Pupils:

Flesch's success and importance as a pedagogue can be better gauged while looking at the - albeit not nearly as complete - list of leading violinists whom he taught or advised.

It should be pointed out that the number of Flesch's pupils during his long career amounted many hundreds, if not more than thousend. Hence only some of them can be mentioned here. Incidentally, it is worth mentioning that Flesch was less interested in producing prodigies than in enabling average talents to reach their fullest potential.

Birth and death dates, as well as carreer data, are stated as far as known.

  • Albore, Lilia d'
  • Berkova, Frances (b 1906)
  • Boer, Willem de
  • Brainin, Norbert (b. 1923)
    • Leader of the Amadeus Quartet
  • Bredo, Icilio (1919-1996)
  • Briselli, Iso1
  • Calame, Blaise
  • Gimpel, Bronislav (1911 - 1979)
    • Concertmaster
      • Radio Königsberg Orch. (1929 - 1931)
      • Götheborg Symphonic Orch. (1931 - 1937)
      • Los Angeles Philh. Orch. (1937 - 1941)
      • NBC Symphony Orch. (1949 - 1950)
      • New England Quartet.(1968)
    • Teaching appointments
      • Master classes at the Musikhochschule Karlsruhe (1959 - 1960)
      • Professor at the University of Connecticut (1967 - 1973)
    • 9th Prize Wieniawski Competition in 1935
  • Gitlis, Ivry (b 1922)
    • Professor at the European Conservatory in Paris (1995)
  • Goldberg, Szymon (1909 - 1993)
    • Concertmaster at the
      • Philharmonic Orch. Dresden (1925 - 1929)
      • Philharmonic Orch. Berlin (1929 - 1934) 2
    • Head of the
      • Netherlands Chamber Orch. (1955 - 1979)
    • Guest conductor of the London Symph. Orch.
    • Teaching appointments at the
      • Juilliard School of Music, New York
      • Curtis Institute, Philadelphia
      • Manhattan School of Music
  • Haendel, Ida (b 1924)
    • 7th Prize at the Wieniawski Competition in 1935
    • Sibelius Prize in 1982
  • Hassid, Josef (1923 - 1950) 3
  • Honigberger, Erna (d 1973)
    • Anne-Sophie Mutter's first teacher.
  • Jamieson, Nannie
  • Jenkins, Tom (1910 - 1957)
    • Leader of the BBC Palm Court Orchestra
  • Juda, Jo (1909 - 1976?)
    • Concert master at the Concertgebow Orchestra
    • Professor at the Sweelinck-Conservatoire in Amsterdam
  • Krasner, Louis (b. 1903) 4
  • Kulenkampff, Georg (1898 - 1948) 5
  • Leidensdorf
  • Lichinsky
  • Mendes, Bram
  • Minghetti, Lisa
  • Moodie, Alma (1900 - 1943) 6
    • Teaching appointment at the State Academy of Music, Frankfurt
  • Neveu, Ginette (1919 - 1949)
    • 1st Prize at the Wieniawski Competition in 1935
  • Neamann, Yfrah (b 1923)
  • Odnopossoff, Ricardo (b 1914)
    • 1st Prize at the Vienna Competition in 1932
    • 2nd Prize at the Ysaye Competition in 1937
    • Concertmaster at the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    • Teaching appointments
      • at the Musikhochschule in Vienna
      • at the Hochschule f. Musik in Stuttgart
      • taught Josef Sivó
  • Parnes, Sascha (b 1919) 7
    • Leader of the Israel Symphony Orch.
  • Pelliccia, Arrigo (b 1912)
    • Concert master of the Pomeriggi Musicale, Milano
    • Soloist of the Virtuosi di Roma
    • Teaching appointments
      • Napoli Conservatoire (1939 - 1959)
      • Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma
  • Riesenfeld, Paul
  • Röntgen, Joachim (1906 - 1989)
    • Concertmaster in Winterthur
    • Teaching appointment at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague.
  • Romano, Corrado
  • Rössner
  • Rosenblith, Eric 8
    • Concertmaster
      • Indianapolis Symphony Orch.
      • San Antonio Symphony Orch.
    • Teaching appointments
      • Faculty of the Hartt School
      • Faculty of Longy School of Music
      • Visiting Professor at the University of Kansas/Lawrence
      • Professor at the New England Conservatory
  • Rostal, Max (1905 - 1991) 9
    • Concertmaster
      • Philharmonic Orch. Oslo
    • Teaching appointments
      • at the Hochschule f. Musik Berlin
      • at the Guilhall School London
      • at the Bern Conservatoire
      • at the Cologne Conservatoire
      • taught members of the Amadeus Quartet
  • Schneeberger, Hansheinz (b 1926)
    • Concertmaster
      • NDR Symphonic Orch., Hamburg (1958 - 1961)
    • Teaching appointments
      • Biel Conservatoire
      • Bern Conservatoire
      • Music Academy Basel
  • Schwarz, Boris (1906 - 1983) 10
  • Straumann, Bruno
  • Stucki-Piraccini, Aida
    • Teaching appointment at the Winterthur Conservatoire
    • Anne-Sophie Mutter's main teacher.
  • Stucki, Jürg
  • Swaap, Sam (b 1889)
    • Concermaster at the Residentie-Orchester, Den Haag
  • Szeryng, Henryk (1918 - 1988)
    • 1st Prize at the Paris Conservatoire in 1937
    • Taught at the Music School of the University Mexico City
  • Temianka, Henri (1906 - 1992)
    • 3rd Prize at the Wieniawski Competition in 1935
    • Leader of the BBC Scottish Orch.
    • First violinist of the Paganini Quartet
    • Conductor of the California Chamber Symphony
  • Thomán, Maria (1899 - 1948)
  • Totenberg, Roman (b 1911)
    • Teaching appointment in Boston, USA
  • Vollmer, Berta
    • Professor at Cologne
  • Weissmann, Diez (b 1900)
  • Wolfsthal, Josef (1899 - 1931)
    • Concertmaster at the Staatsoper Berlin
    • Professor at the Musikhochschule Berlin 11
  • Zilzer, Ibolyka
    • Mendelssohn Prize 1930/31

Notes:

  1. Born in Odessa, Briselli was taken by Flesch to Philadelphia as a 10-year-old boy. There, he was supported and eventually adopted by the manufacturer Samuel Fels and his wife. Fels was member of the board of trustees of the Curtis Institue of Music, where Flesch taught from 1924 to 1928.
  2. Goldberg was, at 20 years of age, one of the youngest leaders of the Berlin Philharmonic Orch. He resigned in 1934 although Furtwängler made every effort to persuade him to stay. Goldberg had a long-standing duo partnership with Lili Kraus and later with Radu Lupu.
  3. According to Kreisler and Szigeti, Hassid was one of Flesch's most gifted pupils and one of the most talented players of the 20th century. Unfortunately he died after an operation at 27 years of age. Having in mind a famous violinist at the time, Kreisler said once to Flesch: "A (mentioning a world-renowned contemporary violinist) is born every 100 years, a Hassid every 200 years".
  4. Krasner was in fact not a Flesch pupil but consulted him in order to master technical problems of the Alban Berg concerto he commissioned and premičred.
  5. Kulenkampff was in fact not a Flesch pupil but consulted him from time to time. One of the highlights of his career was the performance of the rediscovered Schumann Concerto in 1937. He succeeded Flesch at the Lucern Conservatoire.
  6. During the inter-war years Moodie was regarded as the foremost female violinist. Many composers, for instance Krenek and Pfitzner, dedicated concertos to her.
  7. Flesch compared Parnes with the young Kreisler.
  8. Rosenblith is the author of a new English translation of 'The Art of Violin Playing'.
  9. Rostal was regarded as the successor of Carl Flesch as a teacher.
  10. Boris Schwarz became also one of the foremost American musicologists.
  11. Wolfsthal was the youngest ever appointed professor of the violin at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik.

 

2.3   Some of the Musicians Flesch Performed with:

  • Alsen, Elsa 1
  • Andreae, Volkmar - conductor (1879 - 1962)
  • Baumgartner, Rudolf (b 1917)
  • Bauer, Harold - piano (1873 - 1951)
  • Becker, Hugo - cello (1863 - 1941)
  • Boult, Sir Adrian - conductor (1889 - 1983)
  • Casals, Pablo - cello (1876 - 1973)
  • Castro, Orobio de - cello
  • Chevillard, Camille - conductor (1859 - 1923)
  • Dinico, Demeter - cello
  • Eisner, Bruno - piano (1884 - 19??)
  • Enescu, George - violin (1881 - 1955) 2
  • Feuermann, Emanuel - cello (1902 - 1942)
  • Friedberg, Carl - piano (1872 - 1955) 1
  • Furtwängler, Wilhelm - conductor (1886 - 1954)
  • Gabrilowitsch, Ossip S. - piano (1878 - 1936)
  • Gérardy, Jean - cello (1877 - 1929)
  • Godowsky, Leopold - piano (1870 - 1938)
  • Goehr, W. - conductor
  • Grünfeld, Heinrich
  • Heifetz, Jascha - violin (1901 - 1987) 3
  • Hofmann, Joseph (1876 - 1957)
  • Hollmann, Josef (1852 - 1927)
  • Ivogün, Maria - singer
  • Kaufman, H. - piano
  • Kreisler, Fritz - violin (1875 - 1962) 1
  • Kreutzer, Leonid - piano (1884 - 1953)
  • Lamond, Frederick - piano (1868 - 1948)
  • Lamoureux, Charles - conductor (1834 - 1899)
  • Liachowsky, W. - piano
  • Marsick, Martin - violin (1848 - 1924)
  • Milstein, Nathan - violin (1904 - 1992) 3
  • Mengelberg, Willem - conductor (1871 - 1951)
  • Ney, Elly - piano (1868 - 1959) 1
  • Nikisch, Arthur - conductor (1855 - 1922)
  • Piatigorsky, Gregor - cello (1903 - 1976)
  • Pfitzner, Hans - piano (1869 - 1949)
  • Petri, Egon - piano (1881 - 1962)
  • Pugno, Raoul - piano (1852 - 1914)
  • Reger, Max - piano (1863 - 1916)
  • Richter, Hans - conductor (1843 - 1916)
  • Riebensahm, Erich - piano
  • Röntgen, Edvard - cello (1902 - 1969)
  • Röntgen, Joachim - violin (1906 - 1989)
  • Röntgen, Julius sen. (1855 - 1932)
  • Röntgen, Julius jun. (about 1881 - 1950)
  • Rostal, Max - violin
  • Ruhrseitz, K. - piano
  • Salmond, Felix - cello (1888 - 1952)
  • Sarasate, Pablo de (1844 - 1908)
  • Sargent, Sir Malcolm - conductor (1895 - 1967)
  • Schnabel, Arthur - piano (1882 - 1951)
  • Scholz, Wilhelm - piano
  • Schwarz, Rudolf - piano
  • Strasfogel, Ignaz - piano
  • Szell, George - conductor (1897 - 1970)
  • Szigeti, Joseph - violin (1892 - 1973)
  • Thibaud, Jacques - violin (1880 - 1953) 2
  • Vecht, van der - viola

Notes:

  1. Kreisler, Friedberg, Alsen, Ney and Flesch appeared on the same program of a charity concert on board of an ocean liner in April 24, 1924.
  2. Enescu , Thibaud and Flesch played in a concert in memory of their teacher Marsick in 1933.
  3. Before an invited audience.

Carl Flesch with Arthur Schnabel
Photo by courtesy of Carl F. Flesch

 

2.4   Instruments:

Flesch owned at least a dozen instruments. Only some of them are listed below. He had to sell the Brancaccio 1725 Strad in 1928 when he lost all his money at the New York stock exchange. The instrument was bought by Franz von Mendelssohn, banker and amateur violinist, and was destroyed during an allied air raid on Berlin.

  • Violin by Storioni
  • Violin by Goffriller
  • Violin by Guadagnini
  • Violin by Pietro Guarneri
  • Brancaccio 1725 Strad



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