They Shall Have (All) His Recordings – The Music of Jascha Heifetz

Lithuanian violinist Jascha Heifetz around 1920.(Photo: wikimedia commons)
Lithuanian violinist Jascha Heifetz around 1920.(Photo: wikimedia commons)

Sony Classical releases Jascha Heifetz – The Complete Album Collection, available March 22, 2011, a box set of legendary Lithuanian violinist Jascha Heifetz’s recordings. It is, to date, the largest box set of recordings by a single classical artist ever put together.

The set of 103 compact discs includes recordings from Heifetz’s 1917 Carnegie Hall debut to his last public recital in 1972. All his great concertos are in there — some, multiple times — as well as Heifetz’s chamber music and his own transcriptions.

Heifetz, probably the most famous violinist of the last century, was described by Itzhak Perlman as “the God” of all violinists; and Issac Stern described him as “the single most powerful violinistic influence in the twentieth century.”

Since I started listening to classical music, he was the violinist everyone else was compared to in terms of technique, tonal purity and rhythmic control. The intensity of his playing was undeniable, but some found it at times lacking in emotional warmth.

This album offers an opportunity for those committed enough to this great artist to explore his work in unprecedented depth and breadth.

Jascha Heifetz was so famous during his lifetime, he even appeared in a Hollywood movie as himself. They Shall Have Music from 1939, is about a young runaway who finds his purpose in life after hearing Heifetz play. The plot involves a music school that is in danger of closing due to lack of funding (so what else is new?) and Heifetz saves the day at the end.

Here is the scene from the end of the film in which he plays the finale of the Mendelssohn concerto with the school orchestra:

Indeed! They have music, and we shall have all the music from this great artist gathered together in one box, a true musical treasure.