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Click the button below and we'll email you a link to generate your Tarisio password. I curbed my youthful extravagances. I shall always be grateful to Henderson.
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He jolted me out of my complacency and put me on the right path. Critics can sometimes be very helpful. He died some years ago and I will always regret that I did not meet him. He did me a great service. Vibrato was a relatively modern tool — from the s onwards it had been used as a means of adding an emotional dimension to string playing.
Indeed, were we able to hear violinists pre , we would be shocked by their lack of tone quality.
Ysaye, Kreisler and Elman embraced this new technique — and then along came Heifetz! His playing, as all that heard him agreed, was technically nigh on perfect.
His vibrato, all too often a blunt instrument used as a disguise, was for Heifetz a tool of the utmost brilliance. It was intense and focused but could also be used with the utmost delicacy. His playing is instantly recognisable — there is no mistaking him for anyone else — quite simply none can match his tone, vibrato, intensity and, I would argue, emotional input.
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His lack of warmth towards his audience — acknowledging rapturous applause with a mere nod of the head and a stony face, combined with a lack of visible emotion alienated him from some concert- goers and critics. Audiences, then as now, were used to showmanship. Facial expressions to convey emotion, moving and swaying about, heavy breathing and the general appearance of performers having to work hard and endure unimaginable suffering for their art sells tickets!
He made everything look too easy! Another criticism levelled at him and no doubt related to the accusations of emotional coldness was that his musicianship was somehow superficial — all gloss and no substance. If ever I heard luxury expressed in music it was there. His famous silken tone, his equally famous double stops, his well known way of hitting the true pitch squarely in the middle, his justly remunerated mastery of the musical marshmallow, were like so many cushions of damask and down to the musical ear.
First-class plays got in her way; she seldom appeared in one after thirty. No destination, no musical or emotional significance is implied.
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Of his Mozart, the less said the better. Four-starred super luxury hotels are a legitimate commerce. The fact remains, however, that there is about their machine- tooled finish and empty elegance something more than a trifle vulgar. To counteract this wave of unfavourable press, Heifetz was persuaded to employ a PR guru in the guise of a Mrs Constance Hope.
He has been doing just that and quite convincingly with his own two hands and a fiddle since he was seven. Heifetz walks on stage like a killer; he believes that out of the listeners, 1, of them came to listen to him playing one false note…. Although aware of his alleged cold public persona, Heifetz was a product of his abnormal upbringing and as such was unable to change, even had he wanted to.
For many years, he employed a man called Sam Epstein as a page turner. Rabinoff suggested that perhaps Epstein should tell Heifetz himself — which he duly did. Much has also been written about his failings at personal relationships. In , he had married the Hollywood starlet Florence Vidor and together they had two children, Josepha and Robert. Florence and Jascha divorced in and he remarried a year later and had another son.
But this marriage too, was doomed to fail and he divorced for a second time after sixteen years. His relationships with other musicians were also, at times, strained. However, when other violinists talk of Heifetz they agree as to his unequalled standing amongst them. He was all three in one. Later in his career, Heifetz started to perform and record more and more chamber music.
He did not see eye to eye with Rubinstein either on a personal level or musically. He begged me to leave…. The viola player, William Primrose worked closely with Heifetz on many projects and recordings, but later in his career, Primrose began to go deaf and it was feared at one point that he would lose his hearing altogether. He refused to allow the release of the recording and a devastated Primrose left California. Now this can be interpreted on two levels — either Heifetz was protecting his own artistic integrity or he was protecting Primrose — the release would have left Primrose open to criticism and would maybe have finished his career for good.
However, Heifetz did have a sense of the ridiculous and was able to laugh at himself. The pity is, I will have to play it eight more times! As a teacher, Heifetz never achieved the success that he craved. He felt that his reputation as a teacher had suffered because of a lack of good students, but it was more likely that his dictatorial manner drove students away. He was a hard task master and he never allowed his students to be individual. It was his way or nothing. Erick Friedman made a recording of the Bach Double with Heifetz.
He expects the pupils to conform to his extraordinary standards and it is up to the pupil to make the best of the situation……Naturally, with a person of his self assurance and authority, there were occasional moments of difficulty.