In Praise of Heifetz


As well as playing wedding quartets and wedding music, all members of Fedora Strings give concerts and recitals and are enthusiastic teachers. One of the most inspiring ways to enhance your own playing is listening to the interpretations the best players; and You Tube is wonderful in that it offers almost endless free opportunities to hear and watch the greatest instrumentalists in the world. Observe the perfect posture of Heifetz, Rubinstein and Piatigorsky in their vibrant performance of Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in D minor, see the sensitivity and imagination projected by the Hagen Quartet, swoon at the characterisation in Hvorostovsky’s singing of Bizet’s Toreador Song or admire the wonderfully humorous expressions of Fats Waller in his rendition of Ain’t Misbehavin’.

For me, though, there is nothing quite so beautiful as the recording of Heifetz playing his own arrangement of Gershwin’s Bess, You Is My Woman Now. Just thinking about the sound he makes is thrilling: the fast vibrato, intensely expressive slides, white hot passion and perfect technique. “The arts are a window into God’s world,” I remember being told by one of the laity at Peterborough Cathedral. Listen to Heifetz and you’ll need no convincing. JB

 

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