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Heifetz Archives - Fedora Strings Sheet Music for Sale

A string duo arrangement of Widor's Toccata!

By | fedora strings, fedora strings performance, planning your wedding, tour dates | 9 Comments

Roger has just completed a string duo arrangement of the euphoric Widor Toccata. This famous composition was originally written for the organ and, by exemplifying all of that instrument’s specialist characteristics, it creates a mood of grandeur, emotion and manic energy. It’s often used as wedding ceremony music for the couple’s exit. Making it work for string ensemble is going to be a challenge, and as usual it’s technically demanding, but I can’t wait to try it at our next rehearsal.

Over the last few weeks I have finally worked out how to use Finale Print myself and have now completed four duo arrangements – Gabriel’s Oboe, Time of My Life, Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair and When I Make Love To You (Don’t Make Believe) – a 1950s pop song written by Heifetz under the name of Jim Hoyl, which I love because it’s so sentimental.

This means our repertoire is expanding faster than ever before which is ideal for customers and a joy for us. Have you ever wondered how many marvellous pieces of music there are in the world? There must be  as many as the stars…



The Most Beautiful String Playing in the World

By | fedora strings, fedora strings performance, planning your wedding, tour dates | 6 Comments

This week we’re performing eight new arrangements of music for weddings at the weekend so it’s quite a busy time. But while driving to a rehearsal in Peterborough today I was completely inspired by the most marvellous recording of  Heifetz  playing encore pieces. So far my favourite tracks are Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair, Gweedore Brae and Deep River – all of which are full of the most intensely passionate slides I have ever heard  and the sound quality is far, far better than You Tube. The cds even include Heifetz’s arrangement of White Christmas – the first time I have ever liked this song – and a recording of him playing one of his own 1950s pop songs – When I Make Love To You  – on the piano. It’s touching to realise that, despite the lack of  expression on his face when playing , Heifetz obviously had the most sincere empathy with sentimental love tunes; and when you hear him perform you know that, somehow, somewhere, there must be a heaven.

  • Heifetz – It Ain’t Necessarily So  (Deutsche Grammophon) can be purchased from www.amazon.co.uk or www.jaschaheifetz.com

Alexander Technique and Performance

By | fedora strings, fedora strings performance, string teaching | No Comments

Last year I had some problems with repetitive strain injury and to help resolve this I took lessons in Alexander Technique. Although it’s not an instant solution I found the lessons extremely helpful, and they have definitely improved my playing and given me a greater feeling of security and trust than I ever had before. One of the things that especially appeals to me is that the technique is not just about learning to be as effectively co-ordinated as possible, but  also about how your personality and feelings affect the way you move.The duo parts that we play so often at weddings and concerts with Fedora Strings are quite demanding technically, and have lots of beautiful cello tunes, so there are plenty of opportunities to test new approaches out under pressure.











To see perfect co-ordination in practice you only have to watch Heifetz,Rubinstein or Piatagorsky playing their respective instruments on You Tube, or, even easier, observe your cat or dog. Ideal co-ordination is rare for humans but  the norm for animals. There are so many ways in which we as a species, despite our many admirable qualities, have got things wrong.


How Do String Players Approach Performance?

By | fedora strings performance, string teaching | 3 Comments

Oh, differently. You only have to listen to great soloists to hear there is something clearly or subtly different in each of their performances. Joanna rightly praised Heifetz … which serious musician does not? To listen to Heifetz at his best is to have no desire to (attempt to) improve upon such playing. It is superb. I am silent with wonder, not restless to get there and play it myself – as I sometimes feel. Yet not all his performances are going to be one’s choice performance for any particular piece. Why is this, if he is universally considered the greatest violinist of the twentieth century?

Music is not always beautiful. Music is real. It is alive. Music is something from the soul and any copy will not have the same vitality as an original idea.  When Jo and I rehearse  (a trio or quartet rehearsal is even more exciting, but our website shows videos of our duo, so it’s easier to illustrate)  we are thrown into a drama. Do we agree? Do we argue? Do we fight? Well, let’s get this straight: arguare is the Latin for to make clear. This would therefore seem a good idea! Just as scepio (from which we get scepticism) means not to doubt but to observe. You will see this in the drama in La Cumparsita on our website video. First we argued, yes. Was it sexy? Was it sad? Well, we took opposite corners in this and fought it out; not with words, but in the performance.

Following the violinists improvised opening there’s a powerful claim on the senses from the cello … how can the violinist follow this? How to overmaster such a passionate cry? The violinist moved into the character then, not of the overbearing pride of the man – determined to assert himself at all costs – but as if seeing into the sorrow of excess and exposure that the tango also depicts as the sad, haunted world of such a dancer. It was here that I found the soul of the music dwelt; always to be matched and occasionally mastered by the sensuous cello playing. RS

In Praise of Heifetz

By | fedora strings performance, string teaching | 10 Comments

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