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Is this really Albert Einstein playing a Mozart sonata?

We know he could do it. The great physicist gave a famous recital of the Mozart sonatas in 1911 at Charles University in Prague, with the writer Max Brod at the piano. Einstein was a passionate and accomplished violinist who would take out his instrument at almost any excuse.

But is this newly ‘rediscovered’ recording really him? ¬†We have no proof. Some allege it is Carl Flesch. But who is the pianist? All enlightenment gratefully received.



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  1. Dominic Stafford Uglow says:

    I’m so glad now he didn’t give up the day job. I’m also simultaneously glad in the past and in the present.

  2. If it were real, there would be some public announcement of it; some release of it other than a YouTube account of an unknown. It would be aired on the BBC, on NPR, and so on. As it is, the uploader can’t even be bothered to capitalize anything or spell correctly. Plus it was uploaded on March 31 and many of the comments indicate it’s an April Fool’s joke — the word FOOLS is even in the uploader’s description. The uploader never explains the provenance, nor how he managed to obtain it, much less how he transfered the recording to MP3 or whatever this file is. Far too many holes in the story, although it is a nice thought. The playing is superb — too superb for an amateur like Einstein.

  3. To elaborate further on what I wrote: The item description includes both the words APRIL and FOOLS. “APRIL is a time of spring and rebirth, and i am proud to share the only known recording of albert einstein today.
    FOOLS might overlook this wonderful piece of art, but i can only stand in awe.”

  4. As far as who is really playing, here are the guesses so far in the comments:

    - Carl Flesch

    - Szigeti

    - Kreisler

    - Menuhin

    From the start of the upload, it’s clear that even the sound is inauthentic. Which leads me to strongly suspect this is not actually a scratchy old recording, but a modern recording that has been artificially distressed by overlaying the crackles and pops. Heck, it could even be the uploader playing: violinist Daniel Kurganov.

  5. OK, I’m calling it: It’s Daniel himself. Very comparable playing here:

    I’m gonna post my thoughts now in the YouTube comments as well.

  6. I take it all back. It’s Carl Flesch. How do we know? The uploader gives it away by the capitalized words in his item description. The words in initial caps which start the beginnings of the lines spell out:

    The Violinist
    Carl Flesch

    Specifically, it’s Carl Flesch with pianist Felix Dyck.

    Here’s the album, with samples of that movement (Andante sostenuto e cantabile from K 378):

    Here’s the studio listing:

  7. Thank you, Norman, for posting the clip and query. Bravo to Aanel for cracking the April Fool’s joke code. My husband and I were pretty certain it was Flesch all along. We definitely ruled out Einstein based on documented comments about his weak playing skills, particularly in the area of tone. You brought us all closure.

  8. Yes, thanks so much Norman for posting this! These sorts of puzzles are so much fun!! A very clever joke indeed.

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