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Decca Phase 4
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Violin Concerto in D minor (1903) [28:07]
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Violin Concerto in D (1878) [31:37]
Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936)
Violin Concerto in A minor (1904) [20:10]
Jascha Heifetz (violin)
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Thomas Beecham (Sibelius); Sir John Barbirolli
rec. November 1935 (Sibelius); March 1937 (Tchaikovsky); March 1934, Abbey Road,
London (Glazunov); digitally re-mastered, 2006
GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 3 61590 2 [80:13]
was born in 1900 in Vilnius, Lithuania and thus was in his
mid-thirties at the time of these recordings and arguably
at the peak of his career. He had played the Tchaikovsky
Concerto in Berlin under Nikisch in 1912, after entering
the St Petersburg Conservatory, aged just 10!
Tully Potter remarks, “Jascha Heifetz was the violinist’s
violinist, acknowledged by his peers for his tonal brilliance,
sensual cantilena and exceptional technical polish. At best,
he played the concerto and sonata repertoire with a strong
command of structure, coupled with minute attention to detail.
He held the violin high and flat, and kept his right elbow
particularly high, which enabled him to exert maximum bow
had actually recorded the Sibelius Concerto with Leopold
Stokowski in Philadelphia but there was a lack of chemistry
between conductor and soloist and the result was a disappointment.
In late 1935, Heifetz’s second attempt with the much more
committed and sympathetic Sibelian conductor, Sir Thomas
Beecham, was received with delight by fans of the composer
around the world. Indeed this recording is still held in
the utmost esteem, some pundits even going so far as to claim
it has never been surpassed. Certainly, hearing it today
one is bowled over by its glorious sonorities, warmth and
tenderness and flawless intonation and its dramatic intensity.
The engineered sound, impressive for its day, has been cleanly
digitally refurbished for enhanced clarity with the soloist
virtuoso reading of the technically taxing Tchaikovsky Concerto
is tremendously exciting and emotionally charged - how beautifully
tender is the Andante - and he receives fine support from
fellow string player, the former cellist, Sir John Barbirolli.
The orchestral sound is not quite so well focussed but the
ear soon adjusts.
Heifetz’s fellow Auer pupil, Nathan Milstein, had a closer
connection with Glazunov, he was recognised as the other
great interpreter of this lovely work. Heifetz’s effortless,
silken virtuosity fills a reading that fully realises the
Glazunov Concerto’s sweet nostalgia and gentle regret, its
passions and the robust joys of its Finale.
classic readings by virtuoso Heifetz at the height of his
powers. A bargain not to be missed.
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