welcome news that RCA Red Seal has got around to present
Heifetzís 1961-62 concerto haul with Malcolm Sargent on SACD.
Iíve forgotten now quite how many times Iíve reviewed his
Scottish Fantasy Ė but the last time was in the context of
BMGís Heifetz in Performance
DVD and CD set
Iíve always been partial to the Perlman recording
of this for the sumptuous soloist and for the sympathetic
but in my experience the conductor who gets the most out
of the orchestral part is Kurt Masur for Accardo Ė his is
a stunning example of warmth and clarity (see review
certainly gets more out of it than Sargent, who is by no
who cedes ground at most important points. Steinberg was
the conductor in Heifetzís only other commercial recording
of the work (now on Naxos - see review
a decade earlier. I happen to prefer the later one with Sargent.
made two recordings of the Bruch G minor with Heifetz, a
decade apart. By 1962 the trademark Heifetz devices were
firmly in place and little that he does will surprise admirers.
That said whilst this is glamorous and succulent playing
there are times when some of his rubati, especially in the
opening movement, do sound a touch forced. Overall he seems
more temperamentally suited to the Fantasy. The third recording
is the note-spinning but very enjoyable Vieuxtemps A minor.
This is one the most lop sided concertos in the violin book
with a twelve minute opening movement and a finale that takes,
here, barely a minute. . Admittedly the finale was tacked
on ... but still. Sargent and Heifetz had originally recorded
it on 78s back in 1947. Refined elegance is the watchword Ė the
Gallic care for line and elegance ensure that we donít get
unnecessary fireworks even in the first movement cadenza.
Heifetzís sustenance of legato in the Adagio is a wondrous
has been some tape deterioration, a feature Iíve noticed
on a number of these revivified SACDs of classic Red Seals.
Little blips on the master tape are noticeable at high level,
as is a degree of hiss. However those who failed to collect
the Heifetz Edition have now gradually had the opportunity
to add things courtesy of a number of companies and this
is just such an opportunity. The same line up of concertos
was also issued on a 1990 BMG cheapie and it had the same