BULL STREET - The art of the Con

Fritz Kreisler - Plagarism by any other name

Fritz Kreisler, one of our greatest violinists, was a little smarter than most and realized that as a young man starting out at the turn of the 20th century, he was not going to attract a lot attention if he just played the violin and wrote a few songs.  Fritz knew there were many recognized names out there that were every bit as good as he was. Thus, he wrote new works under the names of “Vivaldi, Porpora, Dittersdorf, Martini, Couperin and other 18th century composers at a time when music was not subject to a high degree of authentication. More important, the Audiences loved what Kreisler presented.  Most important, so did the critics.”[71]

Eventually, Kreisler made his own mark as a composer and violinist. Comfortable with his position in life, he came clean on what he had done early on. While some felt that in he had been cheating the public, most of the critics felt, what he did was camp and applauded him on his astute business acumen. In this case, no one lost money because of his deception, the names of the authors that he purloined probably became a tad better publicity for the experience (by this time they were all long dead anyway) and a good time was had by all. While we do not admire his tactics, there is little question that no one was hurt by the incident, and it helped expose the man’s great talents to the musical world.



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