Violinists: Second Fiddle, con Brio

Violinist Alexander Schneider is no dazzling virtuoso. "After I first heard Heifetz, I cried for a week," he says. Nor, when he conducts an orchestra, is he a prima donna of the podium. Frequently, in fact, he is not even on the podium, preferring to lead unobtrusively from within the ranks with a toss of his head and a wave of his bow. Nor, as an intermittent member of the Budapest Quartet for more than 35 years, has he ever sawed away on anything but the No. 2 violin part. In short, he has made a career of playing...

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