The episode on The Music Treasury this week features renown violinist Jascha Heifetz.
Quite the legend in his own time, the show will feature a broad range of his performances as aired on the Bell Telephone Hour—Classical, Romantic, and 20th century—including works by Mozart, Saint-Saens, Sarasate, Dvorak, and others. The show airs from 19:00 to 21:00 PDT at KZSU, and is concurrently streamed on kzsu.stanford.edu. The host for the evening show, as always, is Dr Gary Lemco.
Jascha Heifetz and the Bell Telephone Hour
Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987) The day after the 19-year-old Heifetz’s London debut, George Bernard Shaw wrote him a now legendary letter. “If you provoke a jealous God by playing with such superhuman perfection,” Shaw warned, “you will die young. I earnestly advise you to play something badly every night before going to bed, instead of saying your prayers. No mortal should presume to play so faultlessly.”
Heifetz is widely considered to be one of the most profoundly influential performing artists of all time. Born in Vilnius, Lithuania — then occupied by Russia — on February 2, 1901, he became a U.S. citizen in 1925. Fiercely patriotic to his adopted country, he gave hundreds of concerts for Allied service men and women during World War II, including tours of Central and South America, North Africa, Italy, France, and Germany, often playing from the back of a flatbed truck in dangerous conditions.
In 1928, he published the first of dozens of acclaimed violin transcriptions. Many, including his arrangements of selections from Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” are now part of the standard repertoire. Using the pseudonym Jim Hoyl, he even wrote a pop song that became a hit in 1946.
In his later years, Heifetz became a dedicated teacher and a champion of causes he believed in. He led efforts to establish “911” as an emergency phone number and crusaded for clean air. He and his students at the University of Southern California protested smog by wearing gas masks, and in 1967 he converted his Renault passenger car into an electric vehicle.
As a result of his vast recorded legacy, Heifetz’s violin playing is no less influential today than it was in his lifetime. To legions of violinists he remains, quite simply, “The King.”
The Bell Telephone Hour (also known as The Telephone Hour) was a concert series that began April 29, 1940, on NBC Radio and was heard on NBC until June 30, 1958. Sponsored by Bell Telephone as the name implies, it showcased the best in classical and Broadway music, reaching eight to nine million listeners each week. It continued on television from 1959 to 1968. Throughout the program’s run on both radio and television, the studio orchestra on the program was conducted by Donald Voorhees. [Adapted from Wikipedia]
Lionel Barrymore introduces Jascha Heifetz: Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 1
Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Violin Concerto No. 2: Second Movement
Dinicu (arr. Heifetz): Hora Staccato
Introduction to the Heifetz “Dolphin” Stradivarius:
Dvorak: Slavonic Dance Op. 72, No. 8
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 (from 1947&1949)
Sarasate: Habanera, Op. 21, No. 2
Sarasate: Zieguenerweisen, Op. 20
Sinding: Suite in A Minor, Op. 10
Mozart: Divertimento No. 17 in D Major, K. 334: Allegro
Saint-Saens: Havanaise in E Major, Op. 82
Gruenberg: Violin Concerto: Second Movement
Sarasate: Introduction and Tarantelle, Op. 43