- Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear
A harum-scarum springboard
Violin Sonata in C major KV 296 [13:03]
Violin Sonata in B flat major KV 378 [17:43]
Violin Sonata in B flat major KV 454 [20:27]
Duo in B flat major for violin and viola K424 [17:09] Ļ
William Primrose (viola) Ļ
Emanuel Bay (piano)
rec.1936-47 IDIS 6521 [68:26]
is the Heifetz Edition going to be repackaged and reissued?
Such a thought came to mind when pondering how companies
such as IDIS are scouring his legacy and compiling selections
on their own labels. There have been other releases in this
series and this is indeed the second volume of their Heifetz-Mozart
reissues. This gives us three sonatas and the Duo, all performed
between 1936 and 1947.
Heifetzís Mozart tended
to be over-balanced towards the masculine. This was fine
when it come to the outer movements, which are given with
propulsive incision and rhythmic dynamism. Emanuel Bay was
at all times a pliant if attentive partner. But problems
soon emerged when it came to the over-perfumed expression
Heifetz lavished with such frequency in the slow movements.
This has nothing to do with anachronistic views of period
practice. Rather itís to do with the consonance of expression
between movements and the feeling that Heifetz routinely
breaches expressive boundaries in his quest to promote a
succulent and richly individualised, if externalised, expression.
This applies in all three slow movements in all three sonatas.
sounds beautifully and ornately over-perfumed with the extensive
array of Heifetzian finger position changes. The succulence
is dangerously indulged. Similarly in K378 we can observe
this lack of discrimination between the demands of external
and internal projection Ė if Mozart chamber playing represents
an exchange between male and female elements then Heifetzís
masculinity admits of little light and shade. The result
is an intrinsic lack of expressive balance. The temptations
of romantic effusiveness are perhaps best exemplified in
K454, which is played with magnificent allure, richness,
ripeness and brilliance. The corollary is that it represents
a fatally compromised torso of awareness Ė glittering but
misplaced. The Duo with Primrose is a magnificent piece of
fiddling but as with their Sinfonia concertante recording
I canít warm to the playing.
was on Biddulph LAB 012 in a transfer by Jon Samuels, which
was a touch noisy but bright and focused. Itís much preferable
to this treble-starved and noise-suppressed effort. Similarly
K454 was in that same Biddulph release but here honours are
more even. IDISís work however is here more open and brighter
at the top. The Duo is on Biddulph LAB 074 Ė not much between
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