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 Love, a 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 1916, subtitled “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:
Featured Image: Esparsettenfeld V (1893) by the Austrian landscape painter Theodor von Hörmann