Magazine article Gramophone

Autumnal Heifetz

Magazine article Gramophone

Autumnal Heifetz

Article excerpt

It seems there's no end to the number of times that Sony/RCA are willing to recycle its Jascha Heifetz material, but in the case of the curiously named 'Favourite Recital Pieces & Encores' there appears to be a focused method: these are prime samplings of 'late' Heifetz, and quite wonderful they are too. Sonatas by Franck and Richard Strauss, as well as part of Bach's E major Solo Partita and various 'encores' (including Bloch's Nigun, a Heifetz 'first' on disc at the time), are from October 1972, a live recital at LA's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. All the magic is still there, even though the odd abrasive edge may trouble some; but the subtle gradations of tone (disarmingly sweet for much of the time), the heightened dynamics, wistful phrasing and occasionally grating attack--and more--are intact. Some may find Heifetz and Brooks Smith lacking in charm in parts of Schubert's great C major Fantasy but I've always adored this performance from 1968, these players being among the few who really do perform the first movement as an allegro molto. And the transition from the last variation into the allegro vivace finale is positively uplifting. To say that Heifetz in older age gained in musical wisdom--just as Horowitz did --might seem patronising but I think it's true nonetheless. …

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