Month 11:5, Week 1:4 (Revee/Shavu'ot), Year 5935:292 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 28 January 2012
Austrian Maestro Who Imitated Messiah
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) was perhaps one the world's greatest violinists. Born in Vienna, Austria, of a Jewish father and German mother, he was known for his sweet tone, elegance, romantic touch, beauty and expresive phrasing. Not only a performer, but a composer of great versatility - his piece, Liebesfreud ('Love's Joy'), is a work of great vitality and sensitivity combined and utterly mesmerising for a fan of classical music like myself. In all, he wrote four operettas, thirteen vocal pieces, three pieces for piano, a string quartet, for pieces for 'cello and piano, two solo violin pieces, numerous cadenzas, and one violin concerto.
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matt.6:19-21, NKJV).
If his musical abilities impress you then perhaps, like me, you will be equally impressed by some of his attitudes toward life and others. He once said:
Speaking for his wife as well as himself, he said:
"I never look upon the money I earn as my own. It is public money. It is only a fund entrusted to my care for proper dibursement."
What an elightened attitude to wealth that reminds us of the challenge Yah'shua (Jesus) gave His talmidim (disciples) - including us - to voluntarily leave the ivory palaces of glory, from One who had no place He could call His home here on earth. Are we as concerned as Fritz Kreisler was about people who are hungry and homeless, enough to adjust our lifestyle into one of simplicity, unpretentiousness, and modesty? Do we really care about people who need the lechem chayim or Bread of Life - those who will have no eternal home unless they hear and believe the Besorah (Gospel)? How much are we willing to make sacrifices of personal comforts and glory in order to effect that commandment of the Master?
"I feel morally guilty if I order a costly meal, for it deprives someone else of a slice of bread - some child perhaps of a bottle of milk ... In all these years of my so-called success in music, we have not built a home for ourselves. Between it and us stand all the homeless in the world!"
Kreisler also served honourably in the Austrian Army on the Russian front in the First World War until discharged following a shoulder wound. He witnessed the ripping up and near total destruction of his beloved homeland by the infamous Treaty of St.Germain which, like the equally unfair Treaty of Versailles, gave pretexts for a future dictator to wage war. He eventually fled Europe for the United States on the eve of the Second World War where he spent the remainder of his days.
Kreisler was one of those people who cared enough about others to make personal sacrifices while beautifying and inspiring others' lives with his wonderful music. May he be an inspiration for you too.