Lipinski, Karl Joseph


One of the greatest of violin virtuosos. Was born at Radzyn, in Poland. His father was an amateur on the violin and gave him some instruction. At ten years of age he taught himself to play the violoncello, and this practise gave him much strength and helped him with his violin playing. In 1810 he became first violin at the Lemberg Theatre, two years later becoming conductor. In 1814 he gave up his position and spent three years studying the theory of composition. At the end of this time he went to Italy to benefit himself from hearing Paganini. They became acquainted and met daily to play, also appearing together in public, which greatly added to Lipinski's fame. Upon his return in 1818 he stopped at Trieste to see Dr. Mazzurana, former pupil of Tartini, to learn something of the latter's method. Mazzurana was ninety years old, and could not play the violin himself, but criticized Lipinski's performance of one of Tartini's sonatas. He had him read a poem which explained the motif, thus getting the master's idea. Lipinski ever after tried to use this method, and to it he owes much of his success in rendering Beethoven's compositions. He had the means to travel, and visited Germany, and, later, Russia. In 1829 he met Paganini again, this time in Warsaw; but it was as rivals, not as friends, for both gave concerts, and each had his own faction. He spent the years from 1835 to 1839 in travel, touring Germany, England, France, Austria, and again Russia. In Leipsic he made the acquaintance of Schumann. In England he played his military concerto at a Philharmonic concert. In 1839 he became concertmaster at the Royal Opera in Dresden, where he remained for many years. He retired with a pension in 1861, and died the same year at his estate, Urlow, near Lemberg. His playing was wonderful; he overcame technical difficulties with ease, and produced a powerful as well as beautiful tone. In later years he preferred Beethoven's great quartets and Bach's solos above everything else. His compositions include concertos, variations, and fantasias for the violin; but his works are nearly forgotten, with the exception of his once extremely popular military concerto.