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  Living Stereo
  Beethoven & Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos - Heifetz/Munch
  Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D, Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor

Jascha Heifetz (violin)
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Charles Munch (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 13 show all

Reviews: 12 show all

Review by Cellophile November 6, 2004 (10 of 12 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
These reissues are undoubtedly amongst the most treasured recordings of these fine pieces. There must be 50 or more interpretations of the Beethoven currently available, but you must hear Heifetz. No schmaltz. He articulates Beethoven as Beethoven wrote the concerto. The emotion is the music. No extra added flourishes are needed. In fact, they can easily be a negative, so well constructed is this work. The Mendelssohn is also spectacular. Listening to Heifetz makes one wish he were alive in his heyday. It makes you wonder what Paganini really sounded like! The tempi are fast, yet it doesn't sound rushed at all. Heifetz articulates every note; his technique is incomparable.

As a child, I wore out the grooves on this recording.

The recording quality is remarkable. The Beethoven is in 2ch, even on SACD "multi", because the original recording was stereo. But the Mendelssohn master is 3ch, and is thus presented. The center channel stabilizes the position of the violin. No "sweet spot" sounds good from any part of the couch! The clarity is surprisingly good considering a 50+ year old tape. Current recording engineers could learn a thing or two from these old gems. The SACD rendering truly gives you the feel of analog, the warmth of the violin, while adding dynamic range and soundstage. The CD layer is also quite good, just a little restricted...only in comparison to the SACD.

After this purchase, I am seriously thinking of buying all the rest of the "Living Stereo" series. And I hope that all those legendary performances get their tapes dusted off, and made into SACDs

I don't care how many versions of these concerti you have...If you don't have a Heifetz recording you are missing out, and this SACD is the one to have. Go buy it now.

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Review by thepilot October 18, 2004 (9 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Rumour has it that many recording engineers have lost their sleep, after the living presence and living stereo reissues. It is not a small thing after all, to have recordings that sound much better than many modern super-duper DSD multichannel recordings, and we are talking about 3 channel analoque recordings that are 50 years old!. This living stereo combines definitive performances by two of the giants of the gramophone and modern classical music and sound quality that has to be heard to be believed. Smooth, velvety strings that glide and soar like the wind, luscious wind that enthrall the listener and a sound stage dimensionality that makes most of the currrent 5ch SACD's sound flat and lifeless. Indispensable!

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Review by madisonears September 30, 2007 (8 of 13 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Heifetz seems as though he can hardly wait to get these performances over with. I guess a lot of people believe that fast playing is great playing, but I find them rushed to the point of spoiling this great music. Sure, Heifetz is technically marvelous, articulating all the notes perfectly, but he plays them so quickly that I just say "So what?". Of all the versions of these pieces that I've owned over the years, these are my least favorite. The cadenza chosen for the Beethoven is not nearly as good as the Kreisler version.

The recording is merely acceptable for this vintage, with the violin too prominent. There are many, many better sounding modern recordings of both works on CD, and the Pentatone SACD of the Beethoven with Grumiaux is far superior in every respect.

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Works: 2  

Ludwig van Beethoven - Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy - Violin Concerto in E minor, MWV O 14 Op. 64