"I need to play to feel alive. The day I stop, will mean I am dead." The youthful man who expresses himself in this way is Ivry Gitlis, who was born in Haïfa in 1922 and is fortunately still well alive! He plays, as he did in March 2008 at the Salle Pleyel with Martha Argerich. An adventurer, he always counted on his lucky star to feed him when he was broke: he left for New York by boat without a penny to take lessons with Professor Pashrus. On board he was invited every evening to dinner by a generous philanthropist who gave him a thousand dollars once he set foot in New York. Curious about everything and eager to experience new sensations, he played with the Rolling Stones, John Lennon, Eric Clapton and Dizzy Gillespie, among others.
After a childhood in Israel, where his father worked as a miller, he studied at the Paris Conservatory where Bronislav Huberman had sent him. He obtained a First Prize at the age of thirteen and became the disciple of Jacques Thibaud. "A man violin" says the student of the master. A refugee in England during the war, he won the Fifth Prize (only!) in the Long-Thibaud Competition in 1951 and made his debut the same year in Paris. He has played with the greatest orchestras and shares his love for music with the greatest artists (Martha Argerich, Pierre Fournier, Mischa Maisky…), who gather each summer at the Festival de Vence which he founded.
He is certainly one of the most talented and brilliant violinists of the 20th century. His agility is amazing, as in his astonishing interpretation of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major Op. 35 accompanied by the National Orchestra of the ORTF conducted by Francesco Mander: from his bow the music springs forth like a stream and we don't know which to admire more, his virtuosity or his musical intelligence.
In the three pieces that follow, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by Saint-Saëns; Bartók's Sonata for Solo Violin, Sz.117 (III Melodia) and La Capricieuse by Elgar, Ivry Gitlis' violin, thanks to his amazing natural ease, rivals with the most beautiful singing. Pyrotechnic trills, stratospheric high notes, throaty accents and dazzling colors, the instrument no longer exists, there remains the music and "a man violin." The disciple follows in the master's footsteps.
Lev Oborin (piano) - Frida Bauer (piano)
Philarmonia Orchestra, Norman del Mar (conductor) - Ernest Lush (piano) - Georges Pludermacher (piano)