Great Violinists And Pianists eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 224 pages of information about Great Violinists And Pianists.
at the close of the sixteenth century.  A French soldier looted it, and sold it to Ehehazek for a trifle.  This is the same violin that I played on, when I first came to the United States, in the Park Theatre.  That was on Evacuation day, 1843.  I went to the Astor House, and made a joke—­I am quite capable of doing such things.  It was the day when John Bull went out and Ole Bull came in.  I remember that at the very first concert one of my strings broke, and I had to work out my piece on the three strings, and it was supposed I did it on purpose.”  Ole Bull valued this instrument as beyond all price, and justly, for there have been few more famous violins than the Treasury violin of Innspruck, under which name it was known to all the amateurs and collectors of the world.

During his various art wanderings through Europe, Ole Bull made many friends among the distinguished men of the world.  A dominant pride of person and race, however, always preserved him from the slightest approach to servility.  In 1838 he was presented to Carl Johann, king of Sweden, at Stockholm.  The king had at that time a great feeling of bitterness against Norway, on account of the obstinate refusal of the people of that country to be united with Sweden under his rule.  At the interview with Ole Bull the irate king let fall some sharp expressions relative to his chagrin in the matter.

“Sire,” said the artist, drawing himself up to the fullness of his magnificent height, and looking sternly at the monarch, “you forget that I have the honor to be a Norwegian.”

The king was startled by this curt rebuke, and was about to make an angry reply, but smoothed his face and answered, with a laugh: 

“Well! well!  I know you d—­d sturdy fellows.”  Carl Johann afterward bestowed on Ole Bull the order of Gustavus Vasa.

V.

Ole Bull’s first visit to America was in 1843, and the impression produced by his playing was, for manifest causes, even greater than that created in Europe.  He was the first really great violinist who had ever come to this country for concert purposes, and there was none other to measure him by.  There were no great traditions of players who had preceded him; there were no rivals like Spohr, Paganini, and De Beriot to provoke comparisons.  In later years artists discovered that this country was a veritable El Dorado, and regarded an American tour as indispensable to the fulfillment of a well-rounded career.  But, when Ole Bull began to play in America, his performances were revelations, to the masses of those that heard him, of the possibilities of the violin.  The greatest enthusiasm was manifested everywhere, and, during the three years of this early visit, he gave repeated performances in every city of any note in America.  The writer of this little work met Ole Bull a few years ago in Chicago, and heard the artist laughingly say that, when he first entered what was destined to be such a great city, it was little more than a vast mudhole, a good-sized village scattered over a wide space of ground, and with no building of pretension except Fort Dearborn, a stockade fortification.

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Great Violinists And Pianists from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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