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Carl Flesch (1873 - 1944)

Carl Flesch was perhaps one of the most influential violinists of his generation, mainly through his teaching activities. Szymon Goldberg, Ida Haendel, Henryk Szeryng, Josef Hassid, Yfrah Neaman, and Eric Rosenblith were amongst his pupils. Flesch’s scientific approach to teaching, enshrined in his Die Kunst des Violinspiels (Berlin, 1923), set the tone for much subsequent pedagogy. Whilst his artistic ideals saw considerable modification in the later twentieth century, his technical approach remains in many respects the current orthodoxy. His Memoirs gives a wealth of detail on musicians with whom he had dealings. He had little time for preserving reputations (except perhaps his own) and much of his writing provides a colourful counterfoil to other writers’ eulogies to great players of earlier ages. Flesch’s criticisms of Joachim and his teaching in particular may be tinged by an eagerness to establish his own position. Indeed, many aspects of violin playing taken for granted today (including the use of steel strings and the so-called continuous vibrato) owe much to Flesch’s support.




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