Grace, charm and effortless elegance: remembering violinist Jacques Thibaud


To mark the 70th anniversary of the death of French violinist Jacques Thibaud, Tully Potter looks back at the life of one of the 20th century’s most influential musicians

The musical world was plunged into mourning when on the night of 1 September 1953 the Air France Constellation plane carrying the great violinist Jacques Thibaud, his daughter-in-law Suzanne, his accompanist René Herbin and 39 others crashed into a mountain near Barcelonnette in the French Alps en route to Saigon. Thoughts inevitably turned to the similar catastrophe four years earlier which had taken the lives of Ginette Neveu, young hope of the French violin scene, and her pianist brother, Jean. At close to 73, Thibaud was nearing the end of his career, but recordings from the year of his death show him fiddling and phrasing with much of his old wizardry…

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