A Right Royal Tribute

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BY AUSTIN BAER

a, ‘if tJl/ e is the king,” savs Pinciias Z n k e r m a n , and who would disagree? In the words of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the name of the stonefaced Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987) is “synonymous with violinistic perfection.” Not that he was universally loved.

1 leifetz made no appeal to sentiment (though he did record “White Christmas”), and there were listeners who found him cold. But none denied the grandeur of his conceptions or the mesmerizing beauty of his tone. Ilis recordings, beginning in 1917 and reaching clear to 1972, encompass virtually the entire

Jascha Heifetz

standard repertoire, including significant additions to the literature commissioned by Heifetz himself. The list of major works he might have played but did not is short: the concerti of Berg and Schoenberg (the scores of which he repeatedly bought, studied, and discarded) and Bartok (for which he expressed admiration). This month BMC Classics/RCA Victor Gold Seal releases state-of-the-art transfers of the entire recorded legacy on sixty-five remastered compact discs. The full set, fit for a king, is being marketed as Jascha Heifetz — The Complete Collection, and comes with a commemorative medal.