Concert Violinist

The late Arnold Eidus is remarkable for having relinquished his brilliant career as a concert violinist to do something very different.

A quick glance at the headlines in the New York Times late last night yielded a startling lead: Arnold Eidus, 90, Adman With Stradivarius, Dies. I had not heard — or did not remember hearing — this name before, but I had a slight twinge of guilt that perhaps I should have. The dates attached to the events in his life removed that feeling, however; the only two audible traces of his time as a concert violinist that I could locate were captured for posterity when I had hardly begun to dream of learning to play the violin. He recorded the Kodály Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7, receiving this glowing comment in ClassicsToday.com (with the second example to be found at the end of this post):

Collectors familiar with the live Starker/Josef Gingold performance of the Op. 7 Duo for Violin and Cello will find the cellist’s 1950 partnership with violinist Arnold Eidus no less rewarding, and arguably more effective by virtue of the Adagio’s greater animation. The winner of the 1946 Jacques Thibaud International Competition, Eidus was a great all-around musician at home in many styles, and was one of the New York studio scene’s key players; it’s good to have a reminder of his distinguished career.

A marvelously accomplished concert violinist leaves reminders and changes course

Vintage-concert-violinist-poster
Jack and his Fiddle Posters
by missprinteditions

A most curious tale it is, that of the life of Arnold Eidus. It is entirely comprehensible to me that a gifted concert violinist would become unhappy with the rigors involved in touring the world to perform as a soloist. What is striking — and admirable — is that he could be talented enough in other ways to lead the existence he truly wished for, with a balance between success in the commercial sense and music-making on its own, unencumbered terms. This, and taking note of the generation to which he belonged, put me strongly in mind of the late, great Charles Libove. When I feel frustrated and even indignant that so little of the latter’s genius remains on classical recordings, I recall his explanations that he was subsidizing his chamber music performances (his true love) with studio work: that is, playing in a pick-up orchestra (of which he was invariably the concertmaster and often the contractor also) to record the accompaniments for recordings by popular artists as well as performing the scores for movies and television shows. The bits and pieces I have on tape from fabulous classical concerts in which Libove participated are all the more precious for their rarity.

It’s a small world for the concert violinist

Reading about one-time concert violinist Arnold Eidus convinced me that he and Charles Libove would have known each other quite well and crossed paths often in the way that studio musicians do. This connection, however much a fleeting stretch, was good for a comforting dose of nostalgia and renewed gratitude for my own luck in being able to play music for my livelihood.

A touching demonstration of the artist Arnold Eidus:

httpvh://youtu.be/pOEwyUfUHOA

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2 Comments

  1. A touching story, thank you. And a great reminder of how unpredictable the pull of one passion or another is. Sometimes an artistic passion is too great to become a profession and better left as a private reverie . . . Perhaps playing as a professional soloist was too much for Eidus — better to enjoy it himself in his own way.

    1. Thanks so much for your insightful reaction. Eidus gave new, healthy meaning to the term ‘has-been’.

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