Happy Birthday, Jascha Heifetz

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The violinist Jascha Heifetz would have turned 110 today. In recognition, we want to know which violin concerto he played best: was it the Brahms, the Tchaikovsky, or the Mendelssohn Concerto? You told us it was the Mendelssohn and we played it at noon.

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Compare the performances below.

Brahms

Tchaikovsky

Mendelssohn

Comments [43]

guest from NYC

.. any work recorded by Heifetz is superlatively played- but- imho, the definitive concerto recording of his is of Bruch's Scottish Fantasy. wow.

Apr. 27 2012 06:45 PM
Jan Schwartz from Vacaville, CA

What a great showdown! From the look of the pie chart it was a very close race.... Am enjoying the Mendelssohn as I write, but would love to hear the other two soon...
Hope you're doing something special for Kreisler's birthday tomorrow!

Feb. 02 2011 12:21 PM
Norma Prescott from Jersey

I got cheated out of the chance to vote in the showdown at high noon. I wanted to vote for the Tchaikovsky but was told I had already voted. I hadn't. Truth is, I have to agree with Jacob R.; it would be wonderful to hear all three.

Feb. 02 2011 11:54 AM
JEFF SENZER from Manhattan

When I was young I read, on the back of my monaural recording of the Tchaikovsky recording that it was considered "unplayable" until Heifetz did it.
I can hear it again, please.

Feb. 02 2011 11:49 AM
sandy from cedarhurst,ny

would love to hear the Tchaikovsky today
to give some color against the gray skies and wintry mix
even if it loses maybe you can squeeze it in
thanks

Feb. 02 2011 11:48 AM
Jan Schwartz from Vacaville, California

MENDELSSOHN, please. It was a very difficult choice to make, as Heifetz is wonderful in all three. As many of my fellow listeners are doing, I'm voting for the piece, rather than the performance in this instance.
It was great to have a vote from PandaViolinGirl.... so heartening to hear young people are listening and learning!
Also, I loved seeing Heifetz acting (with MGM stalwart Marsha Hunt). These showdowns are great! Thanks!

Feb. 02 2011 11:47 AM
Helen from USA

Not heard often enough, my favorite!!

Feb. 02 2011 11:44 AM
Norman Dee from Manhasset

Brahms! His Tchaikovsky is amazing but the soul and virtuosity of his Brahms is serene.

Feb. 02 2011 11:44 AM
NYMike from New York

Though I love all three and have heard him play them all live, I have to choose the Brahms as probably the greater piece.

Feb. 02 2011 11:42 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

Although I also like the Brahms and the Mendelssohn, I've always loved the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. It would be great to hear it today after chiseling the ice off my car this morning! I really enjoy the "Showdown at High Noon" and look forward to it every week. Thanks!

Feb. 02 2011 11:39 AM
Jerry from Jackson, NJ

Brahms all the way, it would be the highlight of my afternoon in my cold, icy winter-scape here in Jackson NJ :)

Feb. 02 2011 11:37 AM
Jacob Ruppert from Many, LA ("MAN-nee")

Pssst. Hey, Midge...just announce that it was a three-way tie and play ALL of them! No one needs to know. Just do it and no one needs to get hurt...

:-)
Jacob
New Yorker now living in Louisiana.

Feb. 02 2011 11:36 AM
Freya Goldstein from NYC

The Brahms, please

Feb. 02 2011 11:36 AM
Mary Sue Price from Vermont, frequently NYC

Brahms.
Also, the T McK interview re NIC was fabulous and the reason I bought a ticket.

Feb. 02 2011 11:35 AM
C. Giro

Brahms.

Feb. 02 2011 11:32 AM
sarahe from nyc

The Mendelssohn concerto melts my heart!

Feb. 02 2011 11:29 AM
Tom & Elaine

All of the concertos are fabulous, and it's hard to choose. And, of course, Heifetz playing them is wonderful. We voted for Tchaikovski's, today. Maybe you could play all of them, through the afternoon.

Feb. 02 2011 11:27 AM
Karen from Bayonne, NJ

The Mendelssohn is more beautifully played by Heifetz than anyone else I have heard....but I want most most to hear him play Tchaikovsky again. So theTchaikovsky piece has my vote.

Thank you very much.

Feb. 02 2011 11:22 AM
Counce from CT

Brahms,please.

Feb. 02 2011 11:18 AM
Peg from Larchmont

This is a difficult choice. However, I echo Michael Meltzer. We don't hear enough of the Mendelsshon.

I really enjoy this "Showdown" feature. Thanks a lot.

Feb. 02 2011 11:17 AM
Lon Keith Klein MD from NYC

My choice would have been Sibelius' V-C. PIT's Concerto will do very nicely. It's perhaps one of the two or three greatest ever recorded...tmwot.

Feb. 02 2011 11:16 AM
Stan Greenfield from Redding, CT

Each is a gem with its own unique color and shape, but today I'd love to hear
the Mendelssohn.

Feb. 02 2011 11:15 AM
Antonia Szilagi from Great Neck, NY

Tchaikovsky is my favorite...but which ever you play is fine...
I'm just so greatful this beautiful music is still on the air!

Feb. 02 2011 11:14 AM
Mike Storms from Howard Beach, NY

I love all three, but I've heard the Tchaikovsky and the Brahms on WQXR in recent weeks, so my vote will be for the Mendelssohn. Keep up the great work!

Feb. 02 2011 11:13 AM
Elliot Richman

Heifetz defines perfection. All three are equally magnificent. I voted for the Tchaikovsky because of its white-hot laser-like intensity.

Feb. 02 2011 11:12 AM
Michael Meltzer

The Mendelssohn Concerto all-time best performance is by Yehudi Menuhin, and you never play it at all! Ever!

Feb. 02 2011 11:00 AM
Sandy from Indianapolis

Tough choices but for me it's hard to resist the Tchaikovsky. I particularly love the way Tchaikovsky built up the listener's anticipation every time what I think of as the fanfare theme comes in during the first movement. But, I'll be happy with any of the choices.

BTW, we had your storm yesterday.

Feb. 02 2011 10:54 AM

Great suggestion, Leonard. Happy Birthday to both Kreisler and Heifetz!

Feb. 02 2011 10:54 AM
Norman from Rockville Centre

The Tchaikovsky with the incomparable Reiner and Chicago, a fiery and flamboyant account as only Heifetz can deliver.

Feb. 02 2011 10:51 AM
Leonard Gampel from New York

Please play the Kreisler/ Brahms, and the Heifetz/Tchaikovsky

Feb. 02 2011 10:40 AM
Elisabetta Gallo from Quee3ns

Brhams, please!

Feb. 02 2011 10:39 AM
Francisca Sabadie

well, i vote for the Tchaikovsky because it was the first Heifetz recording of a violin concerto i heard and it so impressed me at a tender age that i went out and bought it - my first record purchase - not cassette, not CD but an LP which i still have!

Feb. 02 2011 10:38 AM
lois pertsemlidis

The Brahms please.
You might look into the birthdays of Kreisler and Morini. One is today and one tomorrow, I believe. One birthday and so many fine violinists.

Feb. 02 2011 10:36 AM
Sandra Frank

Very hard choices, each beautiful in its own way, but for me the youthful joy of Mendelsohn wins out. Thank you, I enjoy these noon showdowns.

Feb. 02 2011 10:32 AM
PandaViolinGirl from Floral Park, NY

I love all three but please play the Brahms! I hope you talk about Kreisler today, too. He was a great violinist and composer who wrote his own cadenzas, and he should definitely be acknowledged on his birthday. I'm 11 and I'm working on his Tambourin Chinois. It is a really fun piece!!! Happy Birthday to Heifetz and Kreisler!!!

Feb. 02 2011 10:23 AM
Jonathan Rossi

I love all three choices. Heifetz (love him or hate him) plays like NO one else. He will never be surpassed.
You should also play his Sinding Suite. It's perfection in every way. Thank God for Heifetz and all of the wonderful recordings we will have of him forever.

Feb. 02 2011 10:23 AM
Ruth Shoenthal


Brahms please

Feb. 02 2011 10:15 AM
concetta nardone from Elmont, NY

The very first lp I purchased many years ago was a sampler that had pieces of different classical music. Among them was the Brahms Violin Concerto as well as Fingals Cave Overture, First movement of Eroica. Naturally I scrounged around for some moolah and went out and purchased three lps. These were the first lp recordings I purchased. Memories, Memories. He certainly could play the fiddle.

Feb. 02 2011 10:00 AM
daniel from mexico city

Nobody played the Mendelssohn like Heifetz, but i'd rather hear the Brahms

Feb. 02 2011 09:51 AM
wendy roberts

Brahms please and thank you

Feb. 02 2011 09:50 AM
Paula Whitney Best from NYC

Good morning. Please play the Brahms. I have never heard Heifetz play it before.
Have a nice day.

Feb. 02 2011 09:33 AM
J Cynthia Weber from NYC

Don't know where to put this but..
The map that appears when yahoo-ing WQXR still has you uptown. You might want to inform them (who ever) of your new location.

Feb. 02 2011 06:26 AM
Michael Meltzer

Um, I think your calculator needs some warranty service. Heifetz was born in 1901, that would make him 110 today.
At the same time, Fritz Kreisler, who shares the Feb. 2 birthday, would be 136.
Sorry about that.

Feb. 02 2011 01:28 AM

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