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Violin Pedagogues Theodore and Alice Pashkus
Remington's 'Young Violinist's Edition'

(Endorsed by famous violinists Jacques Thibaud and Yehudi Menuhin.)

 

 

Remington Long Playing recording "Young Violinist's Editions, YV-3 , Series 1, Volume 3 ": Jan Shermont (violin) accompanied by Otto Schulhof (piano). They play three student concertinos for violin and piano (by Accolay, Seitz, and Ortmans). Cover submitted by violin teacher Mrs. Patrica Jaeger, Seattle, USA.

 

 

A picture of young Michèle Auclair at the beginning of her career when she received instruction from the famous couple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alice Pashkus with Ossy Renardy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obviously Donald Gabor followed his own bliss as an entrepreneur - and as a music lover, what he most certainly was! Obviously he wanted to attain a high turnover in order to be able to invest in more recordings, to expand his business and to be able to pay his personnel.
Gabor undeniably knew how to practice usury by releasing the same recordings on different labels and in various couplings, and by creating series for specific target groups. Yet, in essence, his ideas did not exclude having a mission. On the contrary.

Gabor's creation of the 'Music Plus!' Series enforce this premise. The series was produced for schools and for any person who wanted to know more about famous composers and their famous compositions.

In the case of the Young Violinist's Edition he was aiming at a different target group which consisted of the many students in schools of music, colleges, and universities, and of the many youngsters studying with their private teachers, and of course the many amateurs practising without any assistance. For this series Gabor did not use existing material, but new sound recordings were deliberately made. Don Gabor asked world famous pedagogues Theodore and Alice Pashkus (who were living in New York at the time) to set up and supervise a special series of instructional and inspirational recordings for young and aspiring violinists in accordance with the teachings they received.

Alice and Theodore Pashkus in the nineteen forties.
(Image Copyright and courtesy of Yorgos Manessis. Image submitted by Stéfanos Theodoridis, Greece) )

Producing records with material for study and adding a printed score and instructions, does not represent the complexity of teaching and instructing upcoming and renown concert violinists. To experience the full meaning, it would have been necessary to be present when Alice and Theodore Pashkus were teaching the brain and training the physical aspects of playing the violin. Nevertheless it is because of Donald Gabor's adventurous attitude that the series existed and that there is and remained at least some tangible evidence of the ideas of the famous couple, even if the significance for many a professional violinist went far beyond a course for aspiring youngsters, a series of Remington LPs and the accompanying books. Yet the "Young Violinist's Edition" was a success. Today it is a monument for the famous couple.

The cover of the releases in this series says about Theodore and Alice Pashkus:


"Their original, modern and unique method of teaching the high art of violin playing has won worldwide recognition.
Among their artist-pupils are violin virtuosi of international reputation such as Ossy Renardy, Ivry Gitlis, Michèle Auclair, Blanche Tarjus and many others.
Yehudi Menuhin has adopted the principles of the "Pashkus method" and integrated them into his playing.
Theodore and Alice Pashkus divide their teaching activities between New York and Paris. Through "Young Violinist's Recordings" and the "Young Violinist's Editions" together with the "Young Violinist's Practice Guide", Theodore and Alice Pashkus made available for the first time their unique method to average violin students all over the world."

'All over the world' is obviously a key-phrase. Gabor had registered the series as the covers indicate TRADEMARK. And of course the method was the unique property of the pedagogues. One should not forget the intrinsic value, and the educational and inspirational importance of this project.
The series was devised in 1953 and took some time for preparation and production. The first releases were issued by the end of 1955. Laszlo Halasz was the recording director.

Remington Long Playing recording "Young Violinist's Editions, YV-1 , Series 1, Volume 1": Jan Shermont (violin) accompanied by Otto Schulhof (piano). They play Viotti, Concerto No. 23 in G Major.

The series were recommended by famous French violinist Jacques Thibaud and by the evenly famous American violinist Yehudi Menuhin.


I urge all young violinists to familiarize themselves with the contents of this edition. Theodore and Alice Pashkus, the renowned violin pedagogues have given young violinists a digest of their profound knowledge, wide experience and artistic skill.
It seems to me impossible that a young violinist could fail to benefit from the use of this edition, which will enable him to express himself with greater ease and freedom.

Jacques Thibaud.


It is an event of particular importance when violin pedagogues of international repute as Theodore and Alice Pashkus devote their knowledge and experience to the task of assisting the young violinist along the way towards mastery of his instrument.
The use of this edition with the Young Violinist's Practice Guide will actually reduce the total practising time required and will result in a safer command of the instrument. The young violinist will be able to devote his mind and heart to the main object: the musical contents of the piece and its interpretation.

Yehudi Menuhin

Yehudi Menuhin himself had profited from the instructions of the violin pedagogues when he was at an inspirational low in the nineteen forties. It is very common when a child prodigy has grown to maturity that the initial qualities need a new way of expression. One could say that Menuhin had lost the intuitive approach somewhat, and it seemed that the mind, the intellect and the physicality of playing were in the way.

Alice and Theodore believe that the instrument should be regarded as an extension of the body to express the mind and soul, a notion which is widely accepted today but was then rather new. The learning experience Menuhin had when taking lessons from the couple, obviously translated itself in his lifelong practice of yoga. The teachings of Alice and Theodore, and regaining confidence in his own art, eventually led to various important performances by Menuhin.

After having played for concentration camp prisoners, he came to the rescue of Wilhelm Furtwaengler and German musical culture in 1947 by performing with the great conductor and the Berlin Philharmonic after Furtwangler had been cleared of misconduct (denazified). Yehudi Menuhin performed the Concertos of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Peter I. Tchaikovsky with Ferenc Fricsay, in 1949, in Berlin, with the RIAS Symphony which were preserved by the RIAS (= Radio In American Sector) Broadcasting Authority). These live recordings were later issued on LP.

And in the early 1950s he made the famous and acclaimed recordings in London and Berlin with Wilhelm Furtwaengler of the Concertos of Ludwig van Beethoven and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.

Alice Pashkus instructing Yehudy Menuhin.
The physical aspects of playing the violin are as important as the mindset in order to be able to interpret a gem, a rhapsody, or an entire concerto. By adopting the right position, muscle fatigue and strain can be minimized and mastery will be improved, so strength and subtlety, phrasing and vibrato can give a performance souvereignty. Here Alice Pashkus is instructing famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin while she uses a special support to let him feel the right position of the elbow in relation to the shoulder.
(Image Copyright and courtesy of Yorgos Manessis, submitted by Stéfanos Theodoridis, Greece)

Yehudi Menuhin recorded the Violin Concerto of Jean Sibelius with Anatole Fistoulari conducting (His Master's Voice ALP 1350) at the time when he endorsed the Theodore and Alice Pashkus Remington Series.
Yehudi Menuhin's signed photograph thanking the couple for their instructions: "To Theodore + Alice Pashkus, distinguished violin pedagogues, with warmest greetings, Yehudi Menuhin - January, 27, 1946.
(Image courtesy and copyright Yorgos Manessis. Image submitted by Stéfanos Theodoridis, Greece)

The back of each record cover, and the cover of each book with the scores of the compositions to be played, mention:

Music for Millions present "Young Violinist's Edition" and "Young Violinist's Recording".

Each Volume consisted of:

1. The complete violin and piano parts.
2. "Young Violinist's Practice Guide".
3. Complete recording for Violin and Piano
4. Complete recording of Piano accompaniment alone with faintly indicated violin part.

The Young Violinist's Series:YV-1:
1. Concerto No. 23 in G Major (Giovanni Battista Viotti)

YV-2:
2. Scène de Ballet Op. 100 (Charles Auguste de Bériot)
3. Hejre Kati (Scène de la Csardas) (Jeno Hubay)
4. Cavatina (Joachim Raff)

The book containing the scores of the 3rd Volume was printed in Germany, obviously during Don Gabor's stay in that country to supervise recordings with the RIAS Symphony and preparing the releases of those recordings on the German Diamanat label.
(From the SoundFountain Archive)

YV-3
5. Concertino No.1 in a minor (Jean-Baptiste Accolay)
6. Concertino Op. 22 in D Major (Friedrich Seitz)
7. Concertino No.1 in a minor (René Ortmans)

Other works were released on subsequent records:
8. Concertino No.9 in a minor (Charles Auguste de Bériot)
9. Concerto No.13 in D Major (Rodolphe Kreutzer)
10. Concerto No.8 in e minor (Rode)
11. Concertino No.2 in G Major (Adolf Huber)
12. The Bee (Franz Schubert)
13. Kuyswiak (Mazurka) (Henryk Wieniawski)
14. Ballade et Polonaise (Henri Vieuxtemps)

On Volume YV-9 figures "Zigeunerweisen" - Gypsy Airs (Pablo de Sarasate) played by Jan Shermont, violin and Otto Schulhof, piano.

The higher the volume number the greater the difficulty. Gabor's Series of the method of Theodore and Alice Pashkus differed from the Music Minus One-series which came into existence many years later. The Pashkus method was far more elaborate as the pedagogues gave special preparatory exercises to be able to study the respective works. They must have guided many students to greater skill and insight.

The Remington Series were very important at the time when they were produced, despite the low quality of the manufacture of the discs.

First Position Violin Pieces, exercises edited by Theodore Pashkus and Felix Guenther.
While Alice Pashkus knew exactly how to assess the issues of playing the violin and knew how to communicate solutions in practice to the artists who sought help, it seems that Theodore was more the organizational talent in the prolifiration of their work and training method. He edited numerous Violin Pieces for all levels of skill.
With
Felix Guenther he prepared "Everybody's Favorite First Position Violin Pieces", published by Amsco Music Publishing Co. Inc, 1600 Broadway, New York, 1939.
(From the SoundFountain Archive)

Mrs. Patricia Jaeger, violin teacher from Seattle, Washington, USA, who initially sent me scans of the cover of the disc of the 3rd series, stresses the importance of a good teaching method and the accompanying teaching material. She says, that when she was a student-violinist in her twenties, she was able to play at an advanced level, and she gave solo recitals in the US and in Europe. She is over 70 now and has been teaching violin and viola for more than 54 years. She adds:


"Recorded teaching material is very important for students. There is a wonderful LP recording "Every Violinist's Guide" by Stephen (Steven) Staryk, the Canadian violinist, for example, with Etudes by Frederico Fiorillo (Etude pour le violon formant 36 caprices), Rodolphe Kreutzer (40 Etudes ou caprices pour le violon), Jacques Féréol Mazas (Courses for violin and alto), and others; he plays these at an incredibly fast tempo that is an inspiration to us all!

An example of Stephen Staryk's Violin Course on LP.

There are also cassettes produced by Solo Plus, with Etudes for violin and viola by Franz Wohlfahrt, Jacques Pierre Joseph Rode, and Bartolomeo Campagnoli; the violinist is Harry Bluestone. Mel Bay company in Pacific, Missouri, USA, produced those.
The advanced concert repertoire of the violin is extensively recorded by artists worldwide; but it is the etudes and small classics that a student needs to master, before he/she can attempt the great works. If there is going to be another generation of fine string players, there needs to be a tool easily used by families in the home, such as a cassette or CD, to inspire the student to play these core studies and concertinos to a fine standard of excellence.
I am sure I speak for many teachers of the violin who wish the student had this! kind of tool. Perhaps some entrepreneur will take the challenge and begin to issue once more, excellent student-oriented recordings." - Patricia Jaeger, Seattle, 2003

The pedagogues taught alternating in New York and Paris. Numerous are their travels between America and Europe. The couple finally ended up in Vienna where Theodore Pashkus taught at the Vienna Conservatory (Konservatorium Wien). In August 22, 1968, the Conservatory announced that Theodore Pashkus was to be a professor at the institute.

Ivry Gitlis - who appeared on Remington together with conductor Kurt Wöss playing Paganini - receives instruction from Alice Pashkus.
(Image Copyright and courtesy of Yorgos Manessis. Image submitted by Stéfanos Theodoridis, Greece.)

Research reveals that Theodore was born on January 11, 1905. He taught until the beginning of 1970. He died in Vienna, in May, 1970.
Alice Pashkus was born on February 21, 1911, in Germany, and arrived in the United States in 1935. Initially she studied medicine but after meeting Theodore she dedicated herself to pedagogy. Although she became a US citizen, she also went to live in Vienna where she taught until 1972. She passed away on February 3rd of that same year.

Photographs of Alice and Theodore Pashkus, and of the violinists who sought help and studied with the pedagogues, where sent to me by Stéfanos Theodoridis and are courtesy of his teacher Yorgos Manessis who knew Alice Pashkus well. Yorgos Manessis studied with her, not as a violinist, but as a pianist.

Text and research Rudolf A. Bruil - Page first published on June 10th, 2003. Last updated July 5th, 2011. All images edited by R.A.B.

 

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