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):
A marvelously accomplished concert violinist leaves reminders and changes course
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.