S0819. IVRY GITLIS, w.Michel Legrand Cond. Nice S.O.: Violin Concerto #2 in E (Bach), Live Performance, 28 July, 1973; w.Charles Dutoit Cond. Nice S.O.: Violin Concerto in D (Tschaikowsky), Live Performance, 25 July, 1973; w.Tamás Breitner Cond. Hungarian National Philharmonic: Violin Concerto #1 in D (Paganini), Live Performance, 1971. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-1357. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“The Israeli violinist, very much a musician’s musician, is not so well known to music lovers in general perhaps because he was never signed by a major record label and his art was focused on live music-making. His deeply personal, idiosyncratic interpretations, though, won him numerous admirers, particularly fellow violinists.
Born in Haifa, Gitlis studied with Mira Ben-Ami before travelling to France, at the suggestion of Bronislaw Huberman who helped to raise funds. In Paris, he studied with Marcel Chailley, and then, at the Paris Conservatoire, with Jules Boucherit. Later, he’d work with Georges Enescu, Jacques Thibaud and Carl Flesch.
After the war, which he spent in London, he took part in the Long-Thibaud Competition, taking fifth place. A move to the United States followed and he undertook a number of tours, performing under the batons of Eugene Ormandy and George Szell. Later that decade he recorded for Vox, making LPs of the concertos by Berg, Bartók, Bruch, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn and Stravinsky. He recorded the violin sonatas by Debussy and Franck with Martha Argerich for CBS in 1978, a recording Gramophone noted for Gitlis’ highly individual approach.
The 1960s saw concerts in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev and Odessa, making him the first Israeli violinist to play in the USSR. In 1972 he founded the Festival de Vence as part of his aim to make classical music accessible to all, and he performed with musicians from all genres to break down barriers. He continued to perform into his late eighties, and a number of live recordings were released. To mark Gitlis’ 90th birthday Decca France issued a four-CD collection ‘Ivry Gitlis - The Violin Virtuoso’. Gitlis is the subject of a documentary by Tony Palmer and he was one of the commentators in Bruno Monsaingeon’s classic ‘The Art of Violin' from 2001. He also appeared in a number of films in acting roles.”
- THE OBSERVER, 29 December, 2020