“Berceuse Romantique”: Kreisler’s Journey into Impressionism

The legendary violinist Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) composed numerous short pieces “in the style” of earlier composers. Kreisler performed these works as encores at his concerts and successfully passed them off as originals (discovered in some dusty corner of a French monastery) until the hoax was uncovered in 1935.

In addition to these clever exercises in pastiche, Kreisler wrote cadenzas for many of the standard violin concertos, four operettas, and popular songs such as Madly in Lovea collaboration with lyricist Dorothy Fields for the 1936 film The King Steps Out. A wistful nostalgia for pre-war Vienna pervades much of this work. Kreisler’s violin playing exhibited a similar gentle charm and radiant warmth.

One of Kreisler’s more obscure gems is the serene Berceuse Romantique from 1916subtitled “Romantic Slumber-Song.” Filled with delightful sudden modulations, this music flirts with the impressionistic harmonies of Debussy and the buoyant, effortless motion of Fauré.

This recording features violinist Josef Gingold, accompanied by Charles H. Webb:

Here is Kreisler’s 1916 recording for the Victor Talking Machine Company:

Recordings

  • Kreisler: Berceuse Romantique, Op. 9, Josef Gingold, Charles H. Webb Amazon
  • Kreisler Berceuse Romantique, Op. 9, Fritz Kreisler, Carl Lamson Amazon

Featured Image: Esparsettenfeld V (1893) by the Austrian landscape painter Theodor von Hörmann 

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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