Tuesday 15 December 2020

Ida Haendel

 The legendary violinist and teacher Ida Haendel would have been 92 today, had she not sadly died in July. She had a quite extraordinary career, giving a prize-winning performance of the Beethoven concerto at the age of five, and at seven competing on equal terms with the likes of David Oistrakh. She studied in Paris under Carl Flesch and George Enescu, played in Myra Hess's wartime National Gallery concerts, and became a much-loved fixture at the Proms. She made her recording debut in 1940 and went on to record all the great Romantic concertos, as well as, late in her career, the Bach sonatas and partitas. 
This delightful footage shows her in her mid-seventies, on stage with her dog Decca, performing the great Bach chaconne. She is past her peak, and it's far from a great performance, but it does the heart good to see her – and the Chaconne is an inexhaustibly wonderful piece of music...


  1. What a pleasing coincidence: I read this post while also making my way through The Ionian Mission by Patrick O'Brian, in which Bach's chaconne makes a not insignificant appearance. And now I get to hear it. Beautiful!

  2. A pleasing coincidence indeed. If it's whetted your appetite for the Chaconne, try Hilary Hahn's recording (there are many many others of course)...