Kreisler's Praeludium and Allegro-History
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962)
The Praeludium and Allegro, composed by Fritz Kreisler during his long and prestigious career is considered one of the great standards of violin music. The Kreisler Praeludium and Allegro was one of the many violin pieces the composer attributed to lesser known composers of the 18th Century, even though they were his own works. This particular violin composition was originally attributed to Pugnani, and is often interpreted as a very Romantic homage to a Baroque Italian virtuoso. The Praeludium and Allegro along with the many other works for which Kreisler did not originally take credit have, since their introduction, become a permanent part of highly respected violin repertoire and it does not quite square in retrospect that anyone should have thought them anything but effective exercises in expounding upon the style of various composers and not merely parodies. Critics cannot help but feel that the composer intended to shake the music world because of the dramatic way he confessed the hoax he had played for over 30 years by ascribing many of his most popular works to early composers.
One of the most distinguished and beloved violinists in history, Fritz Kreisler was born in Vienna in 1875. By the age of seven, his musical talent was already apparent, and he became a student at the Conservatory, even though the minimum age for entry was ten. As his talent progressed and he graduated from the Conservatory in Vienna in 1885, he entered the Paris Conservatoire where he studied under the famous Joseph Massart. His aptitude for the violin helped him breeze through the Conservatoire, and by age twelve, he had graduated, having won first prize in a competition, and by thirteen, he was out performing in the world. His subsequent international career was only briefly interrupted by medical studies and a short period of military service, but eventually consolidated his position as a leading virtuoso. At the height of his career, he was performing sometimes over 260 concerts each year.
Kreisler was esteemed most for his effortless performance and his distinctive vibrato, which was applied both to slow and fast notes. His lilting style of playing has Viennese characteristics, and can certainly be attributed to his time at the Vienna Conservatory. The Praeludium and Allegro is conducive to this style of playing, and is also clearly influenced by music of the Romantic period, with long, lyrical phrases and a rich texture, but also by the stately Baroque period to which it was originally attributed. Because Kreisler was present for the dawn of recorded music, he wrote many of his pieces with the specifications of the recording equipment available at the time in mind. The Praeludium and Allegro is no exception, and was definitely among a group of pieces not only composed with the intent of recording, but also composed to highlight Kreisler’s own multi-faceted versatility and ability to convey deep expression and sentiment without being sappy or over sentimental. Still, the Kreisler Praeludium and Allegro is one of the few pieces the composer never recorded himself playing.
Note: Much of this description of each violin pieces was taken directly from the http://www.wikipedia.org.