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JASCHA HEIFETZ

Jascha Heifetz was the man who stabilised and consolidated the way most difficult of instruments was handled. He set the tone, and throughout his adult career, critics, fellow musicians and the public used him as their benchmark of good violinism. On a purely technical level, he has not been equalled, let alone surpassed. Yet even this quintessentially twentieth-century man sometimes harked back in style to an earlier age. He used certain tricks from the nineteenth century, especially little nudges of rubato and slithers of portamento, and when it came to giving a recital, he took his cue from his predecessors. He would generally schedule just one masterpiece, among a miscellany of other pieces including some of his own transcriptions, and he usually appeared with an accompanist, rather than a pianist of his own stature.

Heifetz was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 2 February 1900. His father Rubin, a competent fiddler, started him on the violin when he was three before passing him on to Ilya Malkin, a pupil of Leopold Auer. At six Jascha made his début and a year later he played the Mendelssohn Concerto in Kovno. To enable him to stay with his family when he entered Auer’s class at the St Petersburg Conservatory in 1910, his father was enrolled too. Heifetz became Auer’s favourite and made his St Petersburg début the following year; and in 1912 he performed the Tchaikovsky Concerto in Berlin under Arthur Nikisch, who promptly invited him to Leipzig. In Vienna he played under Vasily Safonov and he developed steadily through the early years of the Great War.

He missed the chaos of 1917 but caused his own October Revolution that year, making his historic New York début at Carnegie Hall. In 1920 he made his London bow with two Queen’s Hall concerts which were so successful that he returned the same year. In 1925 he took US citizenship and in 1928 he married the film star Florence Vidor (that and a second union ended in divorce). During World War II he gave many concerts for the American forces. In 1947 he reintroduced himself to London with the Beethoven and Tchaikovsky Concertos at the Royal Albert Hall, before the Queen and an audience of more than six thousand. In 1949 he offered Londoners the Elgar Concerto. When he played the sonata by Richard Strauss in Israel in 1953, riot police had to be called, and Heifetz was attacked by a fanatic with an iron bar.

In 1959 he performed for the United Nations General Assembly but in the 1960s he began to confine himself mainly to the West Coast of America; chamber music also loomed larger in his life, through the Heifetz-Piatigorsky Concerts. Having given his last concert in 1972, he grew increasingly reclusive, and he died in Los Angeles on 10 December 1987. Heifetz did some teaching at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, but his influence was mainly disseminated through his playing and his many recordings. As a player he was known not only for technical perfection but also for his liking for faster speeds. He commissioned a number of new concertos, including that by William Walton. Although he had a 1731 Stradivarius, his favourite instrument was the 1742 ‘David’ Guarnerius del Gesù.

Box Set Release Catalogue Number
RACHMANINOV Complete Piano Works Naxos 8.501005


Albums featuring this artist are available for download from ClassicsOnline.com
View by Role: Classical Artist | Classical Composer | Arranger
Role: Classical Artist 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
A TO Z OF STRING PLAYERS Naxos Educational
8.558081-84
Chamber Music
BACH, J.S.: Violin Concertos / MOZART: Violin Concerto No. 5 (Heifetz) (1946-53) Naxos Historical
8.111288
Concertos
BEETHOVEN / BRAHMS / FRANCK: Violin Sonatas (Heifetz) (1937-1951) Naxos Historical
8.110990
Chamber Music
BEETHOVEN / BRAHMS: Violin Concertos (Heifetz) (1939-1940) Naxos Historical
8.110936
Concertos
BRAHMS / GLAZUNOV: Violin Concertos (Heifetz) (1934, 1939) Naxos Historical
8.110940
Pop and Rock, Orchestral, Concertos
BRAHMS: Violin Concerto (Heifetz, Reiner) (1955) Naxos Classical Archives
9.80081
Concertos
BRUCH, M.: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 / BEETHOVEN, L. van: Romances / SPOHR, L.: Violin Concerto No. 8 (Heifetz) (1951-1954) Naxos Historical
8.111371
Concertos, Orchestral, Concertos
CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO, M.: Violin Concerto No. 2 / STRAUSS, R.: Violin Sonata (Heifetz, B. Smith, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Wallenstein) (1954) Naxos Classical Archives
9.80878
Chamber Music, Concertos
ELGAR / WALTON: Violin Concertos (Heifetz) (1941, 1949) Naxos Historical
8.110939
Concertos
GERSHWIN, George: Gershwin and Friends (1927-1951) Naxos Nostalgia
8.120664
Nostalgia
GERSHWIN: Porgy and Bess (Original Cast Recordings) (1935-1942) Naxos Historical
8.110219-20
Chamber Music
GREAT VIOLINISTS Naxos Historical
8.110980-81
Concertos, Orchestral
GREATS of the GRAMOPHONE, Vol. 1 Naxos Nostalgia
8.120569
Nostalgia
Heifetz, Jascha: Encores, Vol. 1 (1946-1956) Naxos Historical
8.112072
Chamber Music
Heifetz, Jascha: Encores, Vol. 2 (1946-1947) Naxos Historical
8.112073
Chamber Music
HEIFETZ, Jascha: God's Fiddler (Documentary, 2011) (NTSC) EuroArts
2058538
Classical Documentary
Heifetz, Jascha: Miniatures, Vol. 1 (1944-1946) Naxos Historical
8.111379
Vocal, Chamber Music, Concertos, Vocal
Heifetz, Jascha: Miniatures, Vol. 2 (1944-1948) Naxos Historical
8.111380
Chamber Music, Concertos, Orchestral, Chamber Music, Orchestral, Chamber Music, Concertos
LALO, E.: Symphonie espagnole / CHAUSSON, E.: Poeme / WIENIAWSKI, H.: Violin Concerto No. 2 (Heifetz) (1951-1954) Naxos Historical
8.111363
Orchestral, Concertos, Orchestral
MOZART / MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concertos (Heifetz) (1934-1949) Naxos Historical
8.110941
Concertos
PRIMROSE, William: Recital, Vol. 2 (1939-1952) Naxos Historical
8.111383
Chamber Music
PROKOFIEV / GRUENBERG: Violin Concertos (Heifetz) (1937, 1945) Naxos Historical
8.110942
Concertos
ROZSA / SPOHR: Violin Concertos / TCHAIKOVSKY: Serenade melancolique (Heifetz) (1954-56) Naxos Classical Archives
9.80201
Orchestral, Concertos
TCHAIKOVSKY / WIENIAWSKI / SIBELIUS: Violin Concertos (Heifetz) (1935-1937) Naxos Historical
8.110938
Concertos
TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I.: Violin Concerto / CONUS, J.: Violin Concerto / KORNGOLD, E.W.: Violin Concerto (Heifetz) (1950-1953) Naxos Historical
8.111359
Orchestral, Concertos
VIEUXTEMPS: Violin Concertos Nos. 4 and 5 (Heifetz) (1935-1947) Naxos Historical
8.110943
Orchestral, Concertos, Orchestral, Concertos, Orchestral
WALTON, W.: Violin Concerto / CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO, M.: Violin Concerto No. 2 (Heifetz) (1950-1954) Naxos Historical
8.111367
Orchestral, Concertos
WEILL: Mack The Knife - Songs of Kurt Weill (1929-1956) Naxos Nostalgia
8.120831
Chamber Music

Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 

Role: Arranger 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
ADLER, Larry: The Great Larry Adler (1934-1947) Naxos Nostalgia
8.120608
Nostalgia
BRIDE'S GUIDE TO WEDDING MUSIC (A) Naxos
8.503134
Chamber Music
Cello and Piano Recital: Feldman, Emmanuel / Cline-Phinney, Joy - GERSHWIN, G. / BARBER, S. / WALKER, G. / COPLAND, A. (Our American Roots) Delos
DE3449
Chamber Music
CLASSICAL CAFFEINE Delos
DE1628
Chamber Music
CLASSICAL WELLNESS - Musical Tonics for Mind, Body and Spirit (3-CD Box Set) Delos
DE3464
Chamber Music
FAVORITE VIOLIN ENCORES Artek
AR-0007-2
Chamber Music
GERSHWIN, George: Gershwin and Friends (1927-1951) Naxos Nostalgia
8.120664
Nostalgia
GERSHWIN: Porgy and Bess (Original Cast Recordings) (1935-1942) Naxos Historical
8.110219-20
Chamber Music
GIRLS GOTTA DANCE! - Rhythms to excite the muscles, Symmetry to stimulate the brain, Melodies to delight the heart Delos
DE1624
Chamber Music
GODOWSKY, L.: Violin and Piano Music - 12 Impressions / Avowal / Waltz Poems (Rashidova, Chadwick) Naxos
8.573058
Chamber Music
HEIFETZ, J.: Transcriptions (Aharonian, Safonova) Delos
DE3351
Chamber Music
Heifetz, Jascha: Encores, Vol. 1 (1946-1956) Naxos Historical
8.112072
Chamber Music
Heifetz, Jascha: Encores, Vol. 2 (1946-1947) Naxos Historical
8.112073
Chamber Music
Heifetz, Jascha: Miniatures, Vol. 1 (1944-1946) Naxos Historical
8.111379
Chamber Music, Concertos, Chamber Music
Heifetz, Jascha: Miniatures, Vol. 2 (1944-1948) Naxos Historical
8.111380
Chamber Music, Concertos, Chamber Music
HEIFETZ: Transcriptions for Violin and Piano Naxos
8.557670
Chamber Music
MEDTNER: Works for Violin and Piano (Complete), Vol. 1 Naxos
8.570298
Chamber Music
RACHMANINOV: Variations on a Theme of Chopin / Preludes Naxos
8.554426
Chamber Music
SCHMID, Benjamin: Concert Pieces Oehms Classics
OC309
Chamber Music
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE BAND OF THE ROCKIES: Brassfare Altissimo
75442260422
Wind Ensemble/Band Music
Violin and Piano Duo Recital: Papadopoulos, M.-C. and D. - SCHUBERT, F. / GERSHWIN, G. / DINESCU, V. / RAVEL, M. Oehms Classics
OC433
Chamber Music
Violin and Piano Recital: Eichhorn, Friedemann / Findeisen, Peer - POLYAKIN, M. / LISZT, F. / BARTOK, B. / HUBAY, J. (Encores and More) Solo Musica
SM130
Chamber Music
Violin and Piano Recital: Oldak, Maria / Baillieu, James - SZYMANOWSKI, K. / DEBUSSY, C. / KREISLER, F. / TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I. (Modern Times) CD Accord
CDAccordACD193
Chamber Music
Violin Recital: Eichhorn, Friedemann - GERSHWIN, G. / KROLL, W. / FOSTER, S. / VIEUXTEMPS, H. / KORNGOLD, E.W. (Souvenir d'Amerique) Oehms Classics
OC861
Chamber Music
Violin Recital: Gilman, Alexander - BRAHMS, J. / PROKOFIEV, S. / WIENIAWSKI, H. / FOSTER, S. Oehms Classics
OC592
Chamber Music
Violin Recital: Gluzman, Vadim - WIENIAWSKI, H. / RAVEL, M. / BLOCH, E. / CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO, M. / RIES, F. / ROTA, N. (Fireworks) BIS
BIS-SACD-1652
Chamber Music
Violin Recital: Koljonen, Elissa Lee - CHOPIN, F. / ELGAR, E. / RACHMANINOV, S. / KREISLER, F. / LISZT, F. (Heartbreak - Romantic Encores for Violin) Dorian Sono Luminus
DOR-90268
Chamber Music
Violin Recital: Korsakova, Natasha - FROLOV, I. / VIEUXTEMPS, H. / CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO, M. / DRDLA, F. / BAZZINI, A. / GERSWHIN, G. (Opera Fantasies) Solo Musica
SM101
Chamber Music
Violin Recital: Laredo, Jaime - KREISLER, F. / FAURE, G. / MASSENET, J. / DVORAK, A. / SARASATE, P. (Virtuoso - A Treasury of Favorite Violin Encores) Dorian Sono Luminus
DOR-90153
Chamber Music
Violin Recital: McDuffie, Robert - Violin Recital: McDuffie, Robert - (Kaleidoscope)GERSHWIN, G. / TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I. / NOVACEK, O. / MAR(Kaleidoscope) Dorian Sono Luminus
DSL-92126
Chamber Music





 
 
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