J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Heifetz Bach Concertos

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Alfred Wallenstein
Accompaniment/Orchestra:Los Angeles Philharmonic
Soloists:Jascha Heifetz
Individual Works:Concerto No. 1, BWV 1041, in A minor
Concerto No. 2, BWV 1042, in E
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Sonata K. 454 in B-Flat
Niccolò Paganini Caprices Nos. 13 & 20 (arr. Kreisler)
Tomaso Antonio Vitali Chaconne in G minor.
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:RCA Gold Seal/BMG Classics
Catalog Number:09026 61755 2
Year Released/Recorded:1953
Total Playing Time:63.31
Comments:Felix Gulsrud said:

This record is unique, in spite of some drawbacks. Heifetz gives wonderful, artless, innocent, no-nonsense, straightforward virtuoso interpretations, with tempi similar to some HIP-performances, but with none of the ? sorry! ? mannerisms that so often, but not always, kill the music performed on original instruments. In the slow movements, Heifetz is never too sweet; thus he proves that less sometimes is more. The andante of BWV 1041 has a solemn dignity; it is not sentimental but quite touching. The fast movements are played fast but firmly, i.e. not with the stressing hurry of Hilary Hahn, for instance. I think that Heifetz interprets the fast movements somehow similarly to Sigiswald Kuijken; of course Heifetz? technique on a modern violin is much better than Kuijken on his more difficult original instrument, and of course there are differences.
But perhaps this is most for collectors, after all: Especially the first movement of BWV 1041 is marred by some weak sound now and then. My experience as collector suggests that recording technique improved dramatically between 1953 and 1959. There are only two Bach concertos on the present CD; the double concerto you will find on another one. RCA should collect them on one CD, even if Sargent is the director on the double concerto and Wallenstein on these two violin concertos. If I miss some charm on these two concertos, it is perhaps due to Wallenstein?s direction, if not to the sound quality; I guess the latter. I listen regularly to these two concertos; they come very close to how I want my Bach.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Felix Gulsrud
Date First Submitted:09/30/2005