world from before World War I, andrneven before the turn of the century. Hisrnupbringing in Vienna marked him forrnlife, and something of Viennese grace alwaysrnstamped his playing as well as him.rnAs a child, Kreisler knew Herr DoktorrnFreud, who dropped over for chamberrnmusic sessions at home. He studied withrnAnton Bruckner and consulted with JohannesrnBrahms. Kreisler came to embodyrnthe myth of Old Vienna as much asrnany modem artist did, with the possiblernexception of Richard Tauber. Biancollirnhas taken on Kreisler’s cultural background,rnthe context of violin playing inrnhis youth, and the continuous vibratornthat was his distinctive contribution torntechnique. She has attacked boldly andrnwith humor the idiosyncrasies ofrnKreisler’s personality—his laziness andrnhis weaknesses, his marriage for over 60rnyears to a woman few could abide, hisrnoutrageous tall tales, and his “politics.”rnKreisler, as a good Austrian, served in thernGreat War, and was later reviled for it inrnAmerica. He lived in Berlin from 1924rnuntil 1939 and denied his Jewish backgroundrnall his life, so imbued was hernwith the Viennese image that informedrnthe self he had assimilated. But afterrnWorld War II, he never went back to Europe.rnBiancolli implies that the “Kreislerrnproblem” is bigger than all this; that it is,rnactually, a musical problem. Her analysisrnof Jascha Heifetz’s approach to the instrumentrnand to music, in great contrastrnto Kreisler’s, is a bold one, suggesting, asrnI understand it, that the lack is on thernside of reductive modernism. Heifetzrnblew away the Gemiitlichkeit from the violinrnrepertoire; he was the enemy of allrnindulgence. Kreisler admired Heifetz’srnmastery, but he probably liked Milsteinrnand Francescatti considerably more. Hisrnfavorite of the younger players was Oistrakh,rnof whom he declared, “He doesrnnot play too fast. This is very unusual today.rnWe are living in the time of money,rnand power, and violence, and, above all,rnspeed.” In this statement, we see howrnmusical issues are related to broader culturalrnand political ones as matters of stylernand value. We can also see that Kreislerrnthought that the younger generation wasrnon the wrong side, and we cannot sayrnthat things have gotten any better sincernthen.rnWorld War I, industrialism, modernism:rnThey killed Kreisler’s values, butrnthere was a cultural lag. His sentimentalrncompositions still pleased those who rememberedrnthem: Liebesleid, Liebesfreud,rnSchon Rosemarin, Caprice Viennois,rnand all the rest. And what a touchrnhe had in playing them! Kreisler was arnhero, a pop idol, in the 1930’s, yet Biancollirnindicates that she has written aboutrnKreisler because today he is in danger ofrnbeing forgotten. In doing so, she has accomplishedrnmuch to prevent such a lossrnof memory and of musical standards.rnFor that, as for quoting Oscar Shumsky’srnjudgment (“I think Heifetz was a destructiverninfluence in a very great sense”)rnand suggesting that a return to the romanticrnmysticism of Kreisler is long overdue,rnshe is much to be commended.rnAppended to Biancolli’s biography is arnscholarly discography by Eric Wen.rnKreisler’s recorded output is mostly availablerntoday on compact discs produced byrnEMI, BMG, Pearl, and Biddulph.rnNeedless to say, Kreisler’s own performancesrnof his encore pieces are nonpareil.rnBut perhaps it does need sayingrnthat his performances of standard repertoirernare far from being obsolete, in spiternof the steady march of technology, technique,rnand duplication. Kreisler’s firstrnrecordings of the Beethoven, Mendelssohn,rnand Brahms concerti remain as fascinatingrntoday as they were when hernmade them in Berlin in 1926-27. If yournthink —not unreasonably—that hisrnminiaturism, rubati, portamenti, and regressivernfiddling tendencies renderedrnhim hoTS de combat in such pieces, yournwill nevertheless be impressed and evenrncharmed by Kreisler’s warm lyricism, relaxedrnapproach, and colorful point-making.rnTo know the possibilities of thoserngreatest of violin concerti, listening tornKreisler is mandatory.rnKreisler’s Beethoven sonatas are alsornindispensable, as are the three sonatas hernrecorded with Sergei Rachmaninoff.rnSuch playing set a standard not only forrnthe violin but for communication itselfrnBom of change and technology, yesterday’srnlatest thing is today’s quaint souvenir,rnyet it is more than that. Kreislerrnmay have been sentimental, but he wasrnhuman and a humanist. As we proceedrnin a technological nightmare of whichrnhe was a part, Kreisler will be rememberedrnas a man as well an instmmentalistrn—as an image of the projection of refinedrnemotion. He made the violin thernvehicle of a unique fusion of feeling andrnthought. As much as any performingrnartist in the 20th century, he put the musicalrnstatement (whether popular or exalted)rntogether, dramatized it, projectedrnso it could be apprehended, and personifiedrnit. He stands as a reproach today torna dehumanized world, and to musicrnwithout soul.rn].0. Tate is a professor of English atrnDowling College on Long Island.rnFilling a God-sizernHolernby George McCartneyrnHeavy Water and Other Storiesrnby Martin AmisrnNew York: Harmony Books;rn208 pp., $21.00rnDuring a BBC interview in 1984,rnMartin Amis (son of Kingsley) casuallyrnmentioned that he wished herncould believe in God. “Do you reallyrnmean that?” his chat host asked, tossingrnhis well-coifed locks in a show of secularrnamazement. With a sigh. Amis explainedrnhimself Without belief, whatrnwas there after all? One day’s prettyrnmuch the same as the last, isn’t it? Yournwork, you drink, you talk with friends,rnand, sooner or later, it ends badly.rnAs an evocation of life without faith,rnthis was admirably spare. No angst. Nornpining for Godot. Just a testament to thernflat boredom that can overtake us withoutrnfaith in a purpose larger than ourrnown puny aspirations. In spite of theirrnwell-known disagreements on other mattersrn(Kingsley turned rightward afterrnmaking his pile, while Martin remains arngood deal left of center), the youngerrnAmis seems to stand forlornly shoulder tornshoulder with his father in matters theological.rnIn 1990, he told Rolling Stone hernfelt a “God-size hole” in his life. Hernwished it could be filled, but he concluded,rnGod is “not available anymore.”rnYou would not expect someone asrnseemingly au courant as Amis to admit tornsuch nostalgia for absolutes. That herndoes makes him, I think, far more interestingrnthan many other novelists of hisrngeneration. Like his father, his strugglernwith nihilism has made him a devotee ofrnthe cankered muse of satire. He is onlyrntoo happy to find the world a sty of unremittingrnhustling and selfishness, buf-rn34/CHRONICLESrnrnrn