Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

John France
British Classical Music: The Land of Lost Content, November 2015

…the Violin Concerto stands out as a work of very high quality… © 2015 British Classical Music: The Land of Lost Content Read complete review

Penguin Guide, January 2009

Jascha Heifetz’s unique reading of the Elgar is well transferred on Naxos in mellower sound than on previous RCA transfers. The ease of his virtuosity leads to dazzling bravura at speeds faster than usual, bringing a rare volatile quality in music that can easily seem a struggle. Ye that ease goes with a passionate warmth in Elgar’s great lyrical moments, with wide vibrato perfectly controlled, and with high harmonics ethereally pure. The great second-subject melody in the more tenderly poignant for flowing easily. Heifetz treats the slow movement as a lyrical interlude, before the brilliant display of the finale leads to a deeply reflective account of the unaccompanied cadenza. Any idea of Heifetz as a chilly interpreter is firmly rebutted. Good (1949) mono sound.

Penguin Guide, January 2009

Jascha Heifetz made the very first recording in 1941 with Eugene Goossens and the Cincinnati Orchestra, and it has never quite been matched since fro its passionate urgency as well as its brilliance. Speeds are much faster than has latterly become the norm, but the romantic warmth of the work has never been more richly conveyed. On Biddulph in an excellent CD transfer it is coupled with the early recording of the original score of Vaughan Williams’s London Symphony, plus other British music.

The alternative Naxos transfer, less bright than RCA’s original, is well balanced, making for comfortable listening. The generous Elgar coupling confirms this as in every way a winner.

Elaine Fine
American Record Guide, August 2001

"...The remastering is extraordinary. The producer, Mark Obert-Thorn, has drastically improved the sound over the 1994 RCA reissues in The Heifetz Collection.

Michael Anthony
StarTribune, May 2001

"Heifetz looms large in 2001, the centennial of his birth. An online auction house sold off a cache of Heifetz memorabilia in February, including the alligator briefcase he used to carry his music; next month, the Montreal Chamber Music Festival will devote two weeks of concerts, repertoire and films to Heifetz.

"And now in record stores on the budget-priced Naxos label are seven CDs containing many of the violinist's early concerto recordings and shorter pieces supported by some of the foremost conductors of the 20th century: Arturo Toscanini, John Barbirolli, Thomas Beecham and Pierre Monteux among them....

"The Naxos discs include almost none of the short, light works - what the critic Virgil Thomson called "silk underwear music" - that earned Heifetz some critical derision. He also was sometimes called cold and machinelike. ...

"To be sure, there's considerable charisma in the Vieuxtemps Concerto No. 4, one of the highlights of the Naxos CDs and a performance of staggering beauty. This kind of radiant playing invites the notion that Heifetz was best in light music.

"But then how does one explain Heifetz's refined, shapely reading of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, made in 1940 with Toscanini at the podium? The conductor surely was an influence, because the performance is much better structured than the violinist's later version with Charles Munch.

"Not surprisingly, Heifetz's Mozart - here it's the Concertos No. 4 and 5 - sounds dated, almost mannered. His style might have been his own, but that style was grounded in a Romantic sensibility, which isn't true of most violinists today. That's why so much of Heifetz on disc, at least when he was playing material congenial to him, is to be cherished.

"He's wonderful, for example, on the 1939 neo-Romantic concerto by William Walton, on the Sibelius violin concerto and even in the odd concerto of 1943 by Louis Gruenberg."

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group