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Jascha Heifetz: The Decca Masters, Vol. 2 - Gershwin Foster Weill Berlin
Jascha Heifetz
Jascha Heifetz: The Decca Masters, Vol. 2 - Gershwin Foster Weill Berlin
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Folk, Special Interest, New Age, Pop, Classical
 

      
   
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Jascha in Broadway
Discophage | France | 04/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"For the circumstances of these recordings, made on 78rmps between 1944 and 1946 and one of Heifetz' infidelities to Victor (later Rca, now a label of Bmg), see my review of the companion disc, vol. 1 (Jascha Heifetz - The Decca Masters Volume 1). Nothing substantial here, all short pieces, entertaining trifles, encores, the kind of which the 78rmp era was fond of. But what makes the particular worth of volume 2 is that you don't get the expected Heifetz: rather than the "Viennese bonbons" and other sentimental morsels and virtuoso showpieces as in volume 1, he tackles here Broadway, Jazz, Negro Spirituals and the Folk Song. That must be the epitome of the "genuine" American artist: born in Lithuania, trained in Russia, emigrated to the United States and become the standard bearer of popular American culture. Yes, one Weill arrangement (the Mack the Knife song from the Threepenny Opera), and one by Irving Berlin, Arthur Benjamin's famous Jamaican Rumba, Robert Russell Bennett's Hexapoda - another name for the study of bugs and their jitter, also subtitled "Five Studies in Jitteroptera", and lots of Gershwin (six arrangements from Porgy and Bess, the Three Preludes). Track 25 is Berlin's White Christmas with (uncredited) orchestral accompaniment conducted by Salvador Camarata. And tracks 26 and 27 feature a starry guest, the one and only Bing Crosby, with an orchestra conducted by Victor Young. The deep caressing voice. Incredibly schmaltzy.

Nothing substantial again, but entertaining, and hello 'forties nostalgia. The transfers are fine, with good instrumental definition, subservient piano and minimal surface noise. I don't believe this material was published on Bmg/Rca's now defunct Heifetz Collection, but the complete contents of this CD and of its companion volume 1 have been reissued on a 2-CD set by DG (Heifetz: It Ain't Necessarily So) (with the addition of one item), but as I write it is more expensive than the addition of the two MCA releases.

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