Ernst in Company

Another off-putting title. ‘A Freak on the Violin’ is a long and detailed discussion, by the music critic of the Athenaeum, Henry Chorley, of the style and compositions of five great violinists whose concerts he had personally attended – Paganini, Spohr, de Bériot, Ernst and Molique. His discussion of Ernst is particularly detailed and discerning (if harsh in places – no other critic places quite so much emphasis on Ernst’s unevenness and occasionally faulty intonation), but the whole piece is well worth reading: Chorley had a professional’s knowledge of music, and he writes particularly well (his account, for example, of Spohr’s charmlessness is a joy).

The article draws on Chorley’s 1865 obituary of Ernst, and was printed in at least six journals in 1866. Here is a link to one reprint which can be read online:

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