Isaac Stern Collection, Vol. I   (3-Sony SM3K 45952)
Item# S0250
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Isaac Stern Collection, Vol. I   (3-Sony SM3K 45952)
S0250. ISAAC STERN Collection, Early Concerto Recordings. 3-Sony SM3K 45952. Long Out of Print, Final Sealed Copy! - 07464459522


“Isaac Stern, a violinist who in his prime was considered one of the great instrumentalists of the 20th century, and who also became an important power broker in the classical music world after he led a successful campaign to save Carnegie Hall from destruction, was, in fact, nearly as well-known for his devotion to Carnegie Hall as for his violin playing. He gave more than 200 performances there, the first in 1943. When the hall was about to be demolished to make way for an office tower in 1960 - the prevailing wisdom was that Lincoln Center, then under construction, would replace Carnegie - Mr. Stern helped start a drive among musicians and the musical public that saved the hall. He was then elected president of the Carnegie Hall Corporation, which runs the Hall.

In the early 1960s, when comparatively few soloists devoted time to chamber music, he teamed up with the pianist Eugene Istomin and the cellist Leonard Rose to perform and record as a trio. He later undertook partnerships with the flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal, the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the pianist Emanuel Ax and several other musicians. Inevitably, his ability to create opportunities caused bitterness among musicians who were unable to join his circle. But Mr. Stern took their criticism in stride.

His principal teacher was Naoum Blinder, the concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony. He later studied briefly, in New York, with Louis Persinger, who had been Yehudi Menuhin's teacher, but always regarded Mr. Blinder as his principal influence, saying that what he admired in him was a teaching style that valued instinctive musicianship over scales and technical exercises.

By 1939, the legendary impresario Sol Hurok was representing Mr. Stern who came to consider Mr. Hurok as a father figure. Within a decade, Mr. Hurok helped Mr. Stern become one of the busiest musicians of his day. In 1949, he played 120 concerts in a seven month tour of the United States, Europe and South America. Still, Mr. Hurok later said he wished he could curb Mr. Stern's desire to be constantly onstage, as well as his penchant for getting involved in causes of various kinds, musical and political. ‘Stern is a man who cannot rest’, Mr. Hurok told THE NEW YORK TIMES in 1959. ‘I have begged him not to play so much. I tell him, 'the less you play, the longer you will play/. It does no good. When he is not playing the violin he is on the telephone. I would like to abolish the telephone. It would add 10 years to his life’.

His other main passion was Carnegie Hall. When the hall was in danger of being torn down, he organized the Citizens' Committee to Save Carnegie Hall, along with a list of supporters that included Eleanor Roosevelt, Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, Arthur Rubinstein, Dame Myra Hess, Van Cliburn, Leopold Stokowski, Marian Anderson, Fritz Reiner and many other musicians and philanthropists. Mr. Stern's efforts led to legislation that allowed the New York City to buy the hall for $5 million, and when the Carnegie Hall Corporation was established to administer it, Mr. Stern was elected its first president, a position he held until his death.”

- Allan Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 23 Sept., 2001