Last month I welcomed the first of two discs containing recordings made by Heifetz for Decca in a brief period during the 1940’s when he left his partnership with RCA. I recounted how ‘lollypops’ become particularly useful in the Second World War when he entertained the troops, and though the contents of those concerts were not documented, they apparently included music from his classic repertoire. This second disc, however, goes much deeper into the world of classical cameos, and would have been the encores he used in recitals. It includes a very ‘naughty’ transcription of Debussy’s Golliwog’s Cakewalk, and virtuoso versions of two excerpts from Prokofiev’s The Love of Three Oranges and Romeo and Juliet. He whizzes through Edwin Grasse’s Waves at Play and puts on his most seductive tones for Rimsky-Korsakov’s Hymn to the Sun. Briefly into the world of contemporary music with transcription’s of two Shostakovich Preludes, the disc’s 24 tracks end with four ‘bonuses’ with orchestral accompaniments made specifically for distribution to the armed forces. Sarasate’s Zapateado is a treasure of pure virtuosity, the speed and accuracy of left-hand pizzicatos being worth the price of the disc. There came a period when Heifetz suffered adverse comments for his ‘glassy’ tone and his love of fast speeds, but this disc is a joy from beginning to end…
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