Time magazine

TIME, 5 January 1942.

back to literature >

Return of Hubermann

The last time Bronislaw Hubermann appeared in Manhattan’s Carnegie Hall, someone stole his Stradivarius. It was never recovered. Finally Lloyd’s of London, who had insured the fiddle, bought Huberman another Stradivarius. With his Lloyded fiddle he appeared again last week at Carnegie Hall. Nobody stole anything.

Violinist Hubermann, 59-year-old Polish Jew, has often been rated on of Europe’s greatest, but in the U.S. and London he has never been such big box office as mellow Fritz Kreisler, brilliant Jascha Heifetz, musicianly Joseph Szigeti. Hubermann is finicky, fussy on the platform. Once he noticed that his audience included a dog, on a woman’s lap. He stopped playing, demanded: “Madam, has your little dog paid for his ticket?”, waited while woman and dog were hustled out.

Violinist Hubermann was the first musician of renown to refuse to play in Hitler’s Germany. He has written two books on plans for a United States of Europe. A onetime resident of Vienna, he believes that Germany and Austria should be separated. In an interview after his recent arrival in Manhattan, he danced a Viennese waltz to demonstrate his conviction that Poles and Russians play Viennese music without the “beery heaviness” of the Germans.

Since he last was in the U.S., Bronislaw Hubermann’s chief interest has not been fiddling but building a Jewish orchestra – the Palestine Symphony of Tel Aviv, whose players were exiled from some of Europe’s finest orchestras. Close as the war has been to it, the Palestine Symphony has been less affected than any in the old world. Hubermann got Arturo Toscanini to conduct the symphony in 1937, at considerable personal risk and expense.

Fortnight ago the symphony invited swart-tempered Spaniard José Iturbi to conduct next spring, offered him passage in an R.A.F. bomber and an acoustically perfect air-raid shelter. Last week Iturbi was still thinking it over.

* at Tel Aviv.

back to literature >