Liebesfreud: Five Classic Recordings

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, here are five classic recordings of Liebesfreud (“Love’s Joy”) by the Austrian-born violinist Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962). This short piece comes from a world long past. It evokes the waltzing elegance and frothy charm of pre-war Vienna. Kreisler wrote it sometime before 1905 and deliberately mis-attributed it to Joseph Lanner (1801-1843), the composer of popular Austrian dance music. In a previous post, we listened to Liebesfreud re-imagined, spectacularly, by Sergei Rachmaninov, who accompanied Kreisler frequently.

Each of these violinists have a distinctly personal sound and style of playing which makes side-by-side comparisons interesting:

Fritz Kreisler

We’ll start with Kreisler’s own 1938 recording with accompanist Franz Rupp. Notice the sparkling spiccatos and the vocal quality of the tone and phrasing:

Mischa Elman

Russian violinist Mischa Elman (1891-1967) delivers an intense, schmaltzy performance in this 1962 clip:

Arthur Grumiaux

A straightforward elegance characterizes this performance by Belgian violinist Arthur Grumiaux (1921-1986). I featured more of Grumiaux’s recordings in this previous post.

Leonid Kogan

Leonid Kogan (1924-1982) was one of the greatest twentieth century Soviet violinists:

Josef Gingold

One of the most soulful renditions of this piece is by Josef Gingold. Hear more of Gingold’s recordings in this previous post.

Recordings

  • Fritz Kreisler discography iTunes
  • Mischa Elman discography iTunes
  • Arthur Grumiaux discography iTunes
  • Leonid Kogan discography iTunes
  • Josef Gingold discography iTunes

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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