Here’s a sampling. As with everything else on the site, I’ll be adding to these in the weeks and months to come.
As you’ll see below, male critics often couldn’t write a review without mentioning her looks — and in the most patronizing manner. The many offenders included her future husband, NY World-Telegram critic Louis Biancolli. (I’ve not yet dug up and posted his reviews. I will.)
NYT review of 1947 Town Hall debut. “Playing with commendable clarity and accuracy, she moved her audience to enthusiastic applause. . . . Milhaud’s “Ipanema,” a highly effective, atmospheric work, was rendered with enthusiasm and aplomb. Miss Mitchell contrasted her seductive soft tones with with gutty louder ones and precise pizzicatos. ”
N YT review of 1949 Lewisohn Stadium debut. “The pretty Miss Mitchell, who made her recital debut a year and a half ago, is a performer whose musical grace and sympathy show through even in second-rate compositions. In the (Viewtemps Fourth Violin) concerto she could apparently do no wrong where an elegant turn of phrase or a neatly timed rubato could make communication out of a commonplace phrase.”
NYT review of 1950 Carnegie Hall recital. “Jeanne Mitchell’s career has been following an upward curve. . . . With her pretty face, attractive brown hair and and lavender-colored party dress, she looked at first as if she might be arriving for a senior prom. But when she started Vitali’s Ciaccona, it was plain that she was right there where she belongs — up on that big stage playing the violin. Miss Mitchell already is a flawless instrumentalist.”
NYT review of 1951 Fourth of July Lewisohn Stadium concert. “With fireworks cracking in the neighborhood streets and rain dabbing the unsheltered listeners, performing conditions were hardly propitious. But Miss Mitchell proved she was a good trouper, besides demonstrating afresh that she is near the top of the country’s up and coming violinists.”
NYT review of 1952 recital. “It was in a lyric, frequently impassioned reading of the Brahms Sonata that Jeanne Mitchell last night really showed her mettle. … The important things are that she makes music with conviction, and that she has the technical equipment to back up her ideas with authority. Her left hand is exceedingly accurate, her bow arm generally responsive, and she is able to draw a voluminous quantity of tone without dragging the strings off the bridge.”
NYT review of 1953 performance of the Beethoven concerto with the New York Philharmonic. “Miss Mitchell, one of the most talented of the violinists of her generation, displayed an exceptionally large tone and a good deal of musical steadiness. Her intonation was first-class and, barring a few dropped notes, her technique was easily up to the demands of the music.”
NYT review of 1958 Carnegie Hall recital. “Jeanne Mitchell has established an enviable reputation for herself as one of the most promising of the younger generation of American violinists. . . . In the Franck Sonata. . . she sounded spontaneous, warm and confident. And she obviously enjoyed the music. Her phrasing grew supple; her tone responsive to the fluctuations of passion, yearning, dreaming, and she made the violin sing.”
New York Times obituary. (The obit refers to Mitchell’s “daughter,” singular. She raised two, Amy and Lucy. Lucy predeceased her by two years.)
“My Mother’s Bach,” tribute on figuringshitout.net.