Mischa Elman


Born: January 20, 1891; Talnoy, Russia   Died: April 5, 1967; New York, NY  
Elman was the second prodigy pupil of Leopold Auer (after Efrem Zimbalist) to become internationally famous before adolescence. Their Hungarian-born teacher -- a student of Joachim and subsequent mentor of Toscha Seidel, Jascha Heifetz and Nathan Milstein -- was appointed professor of violin at the St. Petersburg Imperial Conservatory in 1868. He remained until the Revolution, then moved to the U.S. In 1878, Tchaikovsky dedicated his violin Read more concerto to Auer, but withdrew the honor when the latter declared it "unplayable." Later on, Auer recanted, performed the work repeatedly, and made a point of teaching it to all his students including Elman, who came to cherish it as his own.

Mischa was 11 when his father brought him to Auer, vacationing in Odessa, where the family had moved to further the boy's natural talent. When he played Paganini's 24th Caprice and the Wieniawski Second Concerto, Auer insisted the Imperial Conservatory accept him immediately. In St. Petersburg, Mischa gave private concerts for arts patrons, one of whom, the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, gave him an Amati violin. Progress was so rapid that Auer decided Mischa should play a concert in Berlin (where a 10-year-old protégé of Joachim had created a sensation in 1903).

On October 13, 1904, the day before his debut, Elman played privately for Joachim, who could only manage to say, "I am speechless." Not so the audience, which cheered the 13-year-old phenomenon. In 1905 he took England by storm, and joined Nellie Melba and Enrico Caruso in a concert at Buckingham Palace for Edward VII and Alfonso of Spain. Called "the greatest violinist in the world" by London critics, Elman made his American debut in Carnegie Hall on December 10, 1908 -- one month shy of his 17th birthday -- playing the Tchaikovsky concerto with the Russian Symphony Society of New York. Victor Records promptly signed him to a contract (salon music mainly, played with impeccable intonation and rich tone, but with nineteenth century mannerisms forever retained). Elman also made a series of recordings with Caruso and Frances Alda, and excerpts from works by Dittersdorf, Haydn, Mozart, and Schubert with an "Elman String Quartet." By 1912, he had appeared with every major U.S. orchestra, including 31 performances with the Boston Symphony! By 1913, his annual record royalties were $35,000, and in 1916 Carl Sandburg wrote a paean to his playing entitled Bath.

Then Heifetz, who was Auer's masterpiece, made his American debut in Carnegie Hall on October 27, 1917. He was 16, a decade younger than Elman, who asked his box-partner at intermission, "Isn't it getting hot in here?" "Not for pianists," Leopold Godowsky famously replied. Elman continued touring far and wide, but a supernova had usurped his celebrity -- a technician nonpareil, a musician in the "modern" tradition, although Elman continued to be celebrated as "the violinist with the golden tone." In 1926, Vitaphone made a six-minute "full-sound" film of him playing Dvorák and Gossec. Then came concerto recordings: his first Tchaikovsky in 1929, others later, although he didn't make a complete sonata recording until after WWII. In 1951, Elman switched to London Decca, recording concertos conducted by Boult, the young Solti, and Krips (Mozart with treacle). The last decade found him recording in Vienna for Vanguard, but never the Martinu Second Concerto he commissioned in 1943 -- only Khachaturian's populist artifact. In 1962, A Golden Hour from the Royal Opera House on BBC-TV sandwiched Elman, playing two salon trifles, between flamenco by José Greco and a Royal Ballet pas de deux. Then Callas and di Stefano came on, and got the lion's share of attention and applause. Read less
Browse 1-13 of 13 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Decca Sound  – Mono Years 1944 -1956
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002280602 Release Date: 04/07/2015   Number of Discs: 53
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Backhaus,  Clifford Curzon,  Alfredo Campoli,  Henry Datyner  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Roger Desormière,  Karl Münchinger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris  ... 
    CD: $213.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $213.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 2.
    Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos / Elman
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 868 Release Date: 01/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Mischa Elman
    Conductor:  Paul Paray,  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 3.
    Grieg: Historic Chamber Music Recordings / Budapest Quartet
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61826 Release Date: 07/31/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg
    Performer:  Fritz Kreisler,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Leopold Mittman,  Mischa Elman
    Conductor:  Serge Koussevitzky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest String Quartet,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
    In Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 4.
    Classic Portraits - The Best Of Mischa Elman
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 1656 Release Date: 05/30/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Aram Khachaturian,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Edouard Lalo  ... 
    Performer:  Mischa Elman,  Joe Seiger
    Conductor:  Vladimir Golschmann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $12.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 5.
    Legendary Treasures - Mischa Elman Collection Vol 1
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 7736 Release Date: 05/23/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Edouard Lalo,  Anonymous,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Mischa Elman,  Leopold Mittman
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux,  Eugene Ormandy,  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $37.49
    In Stock
    CD:  $37.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 6.
    Elman Plays Hebrew Melodies - Bloch, Bruch, Etc
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 1882 Release Date: 04/11/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Josef Bonime,  Ernest Bloch,  George Perlman,  Julius Chajes  ... 
    Performer:  Joe Seiger,  Mischa Elman
    CD: $10.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $10.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 7.
    Prima Voce - Caruso In Song Vol 3
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7927 Release Date: 02/14/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Various,  Richard Barthélemy,  Francesco Paolo Tosti,  Angelo Mascheroni  ... 
    Performer:  Enrico Caruso,  Gaetano Scognamiglio,  Mischa Elman,  Percy Kahn  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Pasternack
    CD: $18.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 8.
    Haydn, Beethoven, Weber / Emanuel Feuerman, Et Al
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2008 Release Date: 08/30/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Franz Schubert,  George Frideric Handel,  David Popper  ... 
    Performer:  Gerald Moore,  Emanuel Feuermann,  Hulda Lashanska,  Mischa Elman  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $18.98   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 9.
    Mendelssohn: Orchestral Masterpieces / Golschmann, Et Al
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 1274 Release Date: 03/09/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Mischa Elman
    Conductor:  Vladimir Golschmann,  Felix Prohaska
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
    CD: $13.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $13.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 10.
    Violin Virtuoso Masterpieces / Mischa Elman, Joseph Seiger
    Label: Artemis Records   Catalog: 1199 Release Date: 11/11/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  William Kroll,  Arthur Benjamin,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Mischa Elman,  Joe Seiger
    CD: $13.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $13.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 11.
    Great Violinists - Bell Telephone Hour 1959-1964
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4215 Release Date: 06/25/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Niccolò Paganini  ... 
    Performer:  Gregor Piatigorsky,  Ruggiero Ricci,  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh  ... 
    DVD: $38.99
    In Stock
    DVD:  $38.99 Add DVD to Cart

  • 12.
    Ten Tenors In Prayer / Domingo, Lanza, Heppner, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63237 Release Date: 09/15/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Wagner,  Traditional,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Jerry Hadley,  Peter Seiffert,  Jan Peerce  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Richard Bonynge,  Jirí Kout,  Abraham Ellstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $8.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 13.
    The Ave Maria Album / Price, Lanza, Caruso, Domingo
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63260 Release Date: 08/11/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod,  Franz Schubert,  Percy Kahn  ... 
    Performer:  Katia Ricciarelli,  Mario Lanza,  Kosti Vehanen,  Marian Anderson  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianandrea Gavazzeni,  Constantin Callinicos,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Giuseppe Bamboschek  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestra,  RCA Italian Opera Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $8.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart