Single Discordant Note Marred Elman’s South American Tour
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Single Discordant Note Marred Elman’s South American Tour

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and such appreciation, I have seldom encountered,” the violin virtuoso declared.

During the tour of South America, his first in thirty years on the concert stage, Mr. Elman played in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentine, Chile and Peru. He gave eight concerts in Buenos Aires in one month, changing his program each time; crossed the Andes Mountains on mules in a snowstorm; received a gold medal for his playing; and was decorated by the President of Chile with the Order Merito.


Regarding “L’affaire Busch” Mr. Elman displayed considerable emotion. According to his story, he was asked to give a concert together with an orchestra at the Colon Theatre, a government institution in Buenos Aires. Fritz Busch, supposedly an exile from Nazi Germany, was to conduct.

“On August 2, three days before the concert was to be held,” Mr. Elman said, “the concert was cancelled because Busch declared there was not enough time to rehearse the orchestra.

“That the reason advanced by Busch is only a flimsy excuse may be judged from the fact that I was asked whether I would be willing to play if another conductor was substituted. I refused. Two days later I played at a recital in the same theatre and was accorded a very fine reception.

“The officials of the theatre were profuse in their apologies to me and Busch sent word to me through mutual friends saying ‘First and above all I am a German and my first duty is to Germany. I would like to conduct at the concert, but if I do I will never be able to return to Germany.’ “Busch’s conduct was strange in view of the fact that he was supposed to be an opponent of Hitlerism,” Mr. Elman declared. “I know for a fact that Busch was a frequent visitor at the home of the Nazi Minister to the Argentine Republic and that he was guest of honor at several receptions given by the Nazi diplomat. Isn’t that a peculiar way for an exile from Nazi Germany to act!


“I have no doubt that enormous pressure was brought to bear on Busch. The long arm of the Nazi propaganda machine reaches even to South America. But the action of the Nazi emissaries failed to stop Germany from coming to hear me play. There were many Germans in the audiences I played to. However, it is true that Nazi propaganda is very evident in South America, although it is doubtful whether Nazi ideas will make any progress there. As far as I can judge, there is very little anti-Jewish feeling in South America.

“Aside from this one incident, our experiences were most pleasant. The newspapers were very kind to me and so were the audiences.”

After one concert in New York the violinist will leave for a three-month tour of Europe. Will it include Germany? he was asked. “I will never play in Germany as long as Hitler is master there,” he replied, adding, “There is not room enough in Germany for Hitler and myself.”

Mr. Elman was accompanied on the tour by Vladimir Padwa, his pianist, and Ellis Gold, his secretary.

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