Jascha Heifetz

Jascha Heifetz Fireworks

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This 2008 Idis disc, entitled Jascha Heifetz Fireworks, is a poorly remastered collection of French or French-by-association violin showpieces recorded for RCA in the early '50s by the great Russian-American violinist. The selection is marvelous. From Lalo's in all but name concerto called Symphonie espagnole through Chausson's supremely sensual Poème to Ravel's wildly virtuosic Tzigane, this disc contains the highlights of this particularly end-of-the-violin repertoire. And, it goes without saying, the performances are spectacular. With his lean tone, tight vibrato, linear intensity, and impervious technique, Heifetz sails through the stormiest passages here with impeccable ease and impossible brilliance. Although the conducting by William Steinberg, Izler Solomon, and Alfred Wallenstein ranges from the adequate to the perfunctory and the playing by the RCA-Victor Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic ranges from the adequate to the mediocre, this is Heifetz's show from start to finish and he carries it off with panache. The original monaural sound is faded and distant; the sound here is also gray and washed out.

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