The Caprice Viennois is just a good three and a half minutes of well-crafted gemütlichkeit with which Kreisler could charm his audiences.”
– Blair Johnston, All Music Guide
No less of a figure than the late Joseph Silverstein, the longtime concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, declared that the Caprice Viennois was the hardest of all of Fritz Kreisler’s “bonbons” to play, for the seemingly-effortless music is devilishly difficult to pull off! As Blair Johnston goes on to note, “The piece is a caprice in the real sense of the word, shifting musical perspective at a moments notice to afford violinists the opportunity to indulge in some new trick — like the false harmonics and the strangely aristocratic downward glissando of the opening quasi-cadenza passage, or to invite the listeners to join in enjoying a warm melody… all the while bursting forward and holding back, rhapsodically and mock-improvisationally (or, with the liberties that Kreisler himself invariably took with his music, truly improvisationally), with that amazing rhythmic elasticity that Kreisler alone was really able to bring to his music.”
It’s even trickier to pull off when your pianist is 1300 miles away! But Heifetz alum and Artist in Residence Shannon Lee is more than up to the challenge. Originally broadcast on June 1 as part of the Heifetz Rubato: Alumni Showcase and Preview Concert, Shannon performs from Cleveland, OH, and is joined virtually by Heifetz faculty pianist Jessica X Osborne from Houston, TX. Enjoy!