Why is it that some musicians become famous and others are merely admired, even though they may be similarly gifted? Carl Flesch, a distinguished violin teacher who also had a solid but unspectacular career as a soloist, was intrigued by this question, about which he wrote at length in his posthumously published Memoirs (1957). After a lifetime of closely observing his better-known colleagues, Flesch concluded that the best ones were those who played with the “inner participation” of their personalities, and the ones who became most enduringly successful were those whose personalities were the most interesting.
About the Author
Terry Teachout is COMMENTARY’s critic-at-large and the drama critic of the Wall Street Journal. Satchmo at the Waldorf, his first play, runs through November 4 at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.