Remenyi, Eduard


This famous Hungarian violinist was born at Heves, Hungary. From 1842 to 1845 he was a violin pupil of Bohm at the Vienna Conservatory. His active participation in the revolution of 1848 led to his exile; it is said that he was pressed into service as a player of patriotic airs to stimulate the soldiers, and so well did he succeed in this that "the government issued an edict forbidding him to play on penalty of death." He came to America as a steerage passenger, and for several years traveled in concert. In 1853 he returned to Europe and enlisted the interest of Liszt at Weimar; the next year he became solo violinist to Queen Victoria in London. Securing an amnesty in I860 he took a similar place at the Austrian Court, and in 1865 resumed his public career, appearing first in Paris, where he met with dazzling success. After ten years spent in travel in Germany, Holland and Belgium he returned to Paris for a year or two. In 1877 he repeated his triumphs in London, and the next year came a second time to this country, where he spent several years in concert work in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In 1886 he gave concerts in China, Japan and other Asiatic countries and in South Africa. In 1897 and 1898 he toured America for the third time, dying of apoplexy in San Francisco in the latter year. Liszt held a very high opinion of him, as the following extracts from his letters will show: "Of all the violinists I know, I could scarcely name three who could equal him as regards effect. . . . For, both as a soloist and as a quartet player, his accomplishments are extraordinary. , . . He has delighted and captivated everyone here, and this is verily no small matter, for in Weimar we are accustomed to the most distinguished violin-virtuosos." Liszt also pronounced him the " sole surviving possessor of the esoteric spirit in gipsy music." He played works from all schools, and was an enthusiastic admirer of Bach; his nationality, however, made it but natural that he should best interpret the Magyar melodies. He has been called an " incorrigible globe-trotter," and it is said that he played one day on top of the Pyramid of Cheops and predicted that he would " die fiddling," which he did, just as he had commenced a solo at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco. He collected rare violins and other curios. Although somewhat eccentric in manner he was popular, kind-hearted, intelligent, simple in his habits, of a sociable disposition, and met in his extended travels many of the most noted people. Remenyi left a wife and two children.