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Jascha Heifetz – Hora Staccato and other favourites
Grigoras DINICU (1889-1949)
Hora Staccato (1906) arranged Heifetz  [2.03]
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor Op.28 (1863) [8.42]
Havanaise in E Op.83 (1887) [9.05]
Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925)
Guitarre – arranged Sarasate Op.45 No.2 [2.59]
Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946)
Spanish Dance No,1 – La Vida Breve – arranged Kreisler (1913) [3.14]
Jota – Seven Popular Spanish Songs OP.4 arranged Kochanski (1915) [2.46]
Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908)
Zigeunerweisen Op.20 No.1 (1878) [8.33]
Antonio BAZZINI (1818-1897)
La Ronde des Lutins Op.25 (1852) [4.20]
Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880)
Polonaise Brillante No.1 in D Op.4 (1853 [4.39]
Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957)
Much Ado About Nothing – incidental music (1920); Garden Scene and Holzapfel und Schlehwein [4.06 and 2.10]
Joseph ACHRON (1886-1943)
Hebrew Melody Op.33 (1911) [5.04]
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Gavotta – Four Pieces Op.32 No.3 (1918) arranged Heifetz [1.03]
March in F minor – Ten Pieces Op.12 No.1 (1906) arranged Heifetz  [1.28]
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Daisies – Six Songs Op.38 No.3 (1916) arranged Heifetz [1.54]
Oriental Sketch in B flat (1917) arranged Heifetz [1.29]
William KROLL (1901-1980)
Banjo and Fiddle [2.33]
Georges BIZET (1838-1875) – Franz WAXMAN (1906-1967)
Carmen Fantasia (1946) on themes from Bizet’s Carmen (1875) [9.13]
Jascha Heifetz (violin)
Emanuel Bay (piano) except
Arpad Sandor (piano – Moszkowski and Korngold Holzapfel und Schlehwein)
LPO/John Barbirolli (Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso)
LSO/John Barbirolli (Zigeunerweisen, Havanaise)
RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra/Donald Voorhees (Carmen Fantasia)
Recorded 1934-1947


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Some discs should be mandatory listening. And then there are Heifetz’s discs. That old formulation, derived from the standard Heifetz line (“There are Violinists. And then there is Heifetz”) applies here as well, though much of the music is of the encore-showpiece variety. But life’s not all sonatas, as Heifetz exemplified to the end of his performing life, and a number of these arrangements are his own, as well as some by Kreisler, Sarasate and Kochanski. Since the withdrawal of the Heifetz Edition companies such as Naxos have concentrated on issuing the bigger, meatier repertoire and these sweetmeats have rather fallen through the cracks. So an album of eighteen favourites, competitively priced, is not to be ignored even though you will doubtless have a number (probably not all) on rival discs.

To begin with I dug out my old EMI Treasury gatefold double devoted to the violinist’s pre-war collaboration with Barbirolli – in the days before the conductor severed his association with Heifetz, protesting at the insolent way the Russian had addressed the well-loved oboist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Three of their joint performances overlap. There’s more surface noise on the Living Era than was the case with the EMI – Living Era were working presumably from commercial copies. To compensate it sounds as if David Lennick has boosted the solo frequencies whilst leaving the middle frequencies slightly cloudy (especially true in the Introduction and Rondo). The Sarasate sounds rather brash and glassy here – almost like one of those 1940s/1950s American Columbias – and decidedly less natural than the EMI. Of the two transfers I prefer the EMI set in all three instances, though that’s now long gone from the market place.

The repertoire is well-charted territory and incomparably played of course. His famous Dinicu, Prokofiev and Rachmaninov transcriptions and arrangements are heard in all their intense finery. His Moszkowski is aerial and slashing, though others have wrought more tang with the de Falla Spanish Dance, albeit few match Jota for expressive tensile strength and shading. No arguments with that old concert closer, the Bazzini, with immaculate left hand pizzicati (of course) and not too fast. The Korngold Garden Scene opens rather scuffily and with a deal of shellac hiss; this is more Toscha Seidel territory for me than Heifetz, the voluptuary of the former against the marble statuary of the latter. Heifetz always promoted his friend and colleague Joseph Achron, a number of whose works have come to a wider audience of late, and his vibrato usage certainly increases in the Hebrew Melody – taking on an almost nasal tone in its oscillation; there’s something of the oratorical singer’s art embedded in this performance. His Prokofiev certainly catches the acerbic insistence of the piano originals.

So, a slice of Heifetz over a thirteen-year period. These are all HMV or Victor originals – full matrix, issue and dating details are provided in a very thorough way. The aficionado will have all already but despite some problems over the transfers and the lightweight repertoire there is still plenty to delight and amaze the curious listener.

Jonathan Woolf




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