From the Archive: December 1951

Archive

In his lifetime, Tossy Spivakovsky (1906–98) was known for his innovative bowing style. Samuel Applebaum visits him at home to learn his secrets

Our meetings with Tossy Spivakovsky have been immensely stimulating. American audiences are aware now of his peerless artistry. He commands large audiences throughout the country, and his recent recordings reveal his keenness as an interpreter.

In his home in Connecticut we have spent many hours discussing the various phases of violin technic. On phrasing, Spivakovsky stated with firmness, “So much should be done by the artist away from the instrument. He should analyse each phrase; make a deep study of it. In a large phrase, its small sections should be clearly defined. Specifically, how can one bow to successfully achieve a more musical performance? There is much that can be done. First, we must stop being slaves of tradition. Many times we bow passages purely for mechanical convenience, though we may realize the musical result is inferior. We must think in terms of the music when we bow, not our convenience. We must get musical results even though much of the bowing may not be conventional.”

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