Happy Groundheifetz Day!

All children know that February 2 is the day that the Groundheifetz emerges from his burrow, and…

Well, as I said, everybody knows that.

I had a visceral bad reaction to most of the famous RCA stereo releases—on both sound and interpretative grounds—however, some of his early mono work is actually quite relaxed, and very musical (as well as collegial). Of that era, his Glazounov Concerto with Barbirolli and the LPO stands out.

So, Happy Birthday to a cultural icon—one whose name (as is the case with Einstein’s) is also a common noun.

As in, “He’s no Heifetz.”

Click the jump link for a 1949 Pabst Blue Ribbon magazine beer ad with Heifetz as a celebrity endorser.

Personally, I find it side-splittingly funny.

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2 Replies to “Happy Groundheifetz Day!”

  1. Jonathan Angel

    John, thank you for the wonderful Heifetz ad; I’m glad I happened to stop by.

    I agree with you that most of the RCA stereo concerto remakes are inferior, even crass. (The Heifetz/Piatigorsky Concerts, however, however inferior they are as interpretations per se, are nonetheless treasures.) A part of the problem was the balance Heifetz was able to insist on: It’s instructive to hear the recordings that have been reissued on three-channel SACD, since the violin is on the center channel and it makes quite a difference to be able to turn it down.

    As you know, Heifetz did not like to play second, er, fiddle to an orchestra or conductor. I think his greatest, best-balanced concerto recording is the Sibelius with Stokowski, suppressed by Jascha during his lifetime.

    Unfortunately my sister, a violin and viola teacher, reports that these days her students have never heard of Heifetz (and only rarely of, say, Stern or Perlman), any more than they have heard of her own teacher (William Primrose). It seems these days it’s hard to be a “cultural icon” if you’re not on television or, better, Twitter or Facebook. Sad.

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