Milstein or Heifetz?

July 23, 2007 at 07:11 PM · Which of these two legendary violinists do you prefer and why?

Replies (100)

July 23, 2007 at 12:40 AM · I definately prefer Milstein. Gorgeous tone combined with the highest intellect.

July 23, 2007 at 09:54 PM · It'd be Milstein for me too. I think the Strad once called him "the musician's musician", and that sums it up as well as anything. He was the consummate professional.

July 23, 2007 at 10:15 PM · milstein

July 23, 2007 at 10:18 PM · From: Skowronski: Classical Recordings

To: The Membership!

Oh, oh..........! Here we go AGAIN.

Some say to-MAE-to,....some say to-MAH-to!

And the engine in the Ford makes the wheels go 'round!

Best to all.

July 23, 2007 at 10:57 PM · For most things, Heifetz. I'm more compelled by his style, panache, intensity, colorfulness, incandescence and excitement. I am one of those people who feels that for many things, H. is in a class by himself - an opinion shared by Oistrakh, Stern, Szerying, Rosand, Laredo, Perlman, Zuckerman, etc., etc. Yet for me, it also really depends on the repertoire - and that goes for most comparisons between and among top flight players. Even even though I've been responding lately to some of these sorts of questions, I'm a little troubled, as well. While I have certain favorites, I don't like to be too reductionist. Different greats, with their respective sounds, interpretation, etc., bring out different facets of a work. It can be interesting for our own articulation to sharpen our critical pencils. Yet ultimately, art, as Bartok said, is not a horse race.

Milstein himself, related this story: he was chatting with Kreisler's wife. "My Fritzy" said she "may not have the technique of Heifetz, or you. But he knew HOW to play. Am I right?" Milstein had to agree.

July 23, 2007 at 10:56 PM · Ms. Gerety asserts that this is the most fervently she has ever agreed with Mr. Skowronski. Here we go AGAIN, indeed. Might as well ask (to paraphrase Sándor Petõfi) "which do you prefer, love or freedom?" ;-)

July 23, 2007 at 11:13 PM · I don't prefer. It would be boring if only one had existed.

July 23, 2007 at 11:39 PM · When Bartok said it wasn't a horse race he must have been behind by a few lengths.

Or he could have been in the lead and just feeling his oats.

July 23, 2007 at 11:27 PM · Pinot noir or zinfandel? I can't...decide...

July 24, 2007 at 12:37 AM · i prefer listening to Milstein, i'd rather play like milstein, i'd rather drink pinot noir.

to-may-to. toilet paper edge over top of roll (overhand).

July 24, 2007 at 12:44 AM · you can combine all the above into one glorious activity. but i wouldn't recommend it. prunes work better than to-may-toes.

July 24, 2007 at 01:06 AM · I'll tolerate a Milstein preference - but I must draw the line at over-the top! I'm an under-handed sort of guy!

July 24, 2007 at 01:30 AM · Definitely over the top.

July 24, 2007 at 04:49 AM · Ohh, this is a tough one. I employ a single criterion to answer this question. Given the choice, I would rather play like Milstein than Heifetz.

July 24, 2007 at 05:23 PM · Milstein, it sounds like you have an unfair advantage over the rest of us! I'm changing my name to "Jascha"! Nah, it wouldn't help me.

Back to being serious again for a moment...

In many works, Heifetz just grabs me by the the throat and doesn't let me go, with his visceral intensity, drama, wide palette of colors, the subtlty of his phrasings and nuances, his siganture portamentos, and his blow-torch-like fire. I'm thinking off-hand of the Conus, the Sinding Suite, the Korngold, the Vitali Chaconne, the Sibelius, the Scottish Fantasy, the Vieuxtemps #5, etc., etc. Also, for me, Heifetz had a cool way with jazzy things and other American idioms far and above any classical violinist I can think of. If you don't have his Decca recordings of this repertoire, recently re-issued on two CD's titled "It Ain't Necessarily So", run, don't walk, to your nearest record store! Then he'll just melt my heart with something as "simple" as the Tchaikovsky-Auer "Lensky's Aria" (on the CD, "Heifetz Rediscovered"). Btw, anyone have the sheet music for that?

But again, it depends on the repertoire. No one can be 'all things to all men' or relate to all the vast repertoire out there. As I recall, Mlstein didn't much care for the Sibelius, and said "that one belongs to Jascha." H. was once asked if he'd like to record the Saint-Saens #3. "Not for me", he said. (And many of us know the story of H. and the Schoenberg concerto.)

One man's meat, etc....Oscar Shumsky said H. amazed him the way a great magician would. How did he keep pulling those violinistic rabits from the hat? But a while after a H. concert, he wouldn't be left with much, as opposed to the warm glow of a Kreisler concert. But I feel that more with Milstein. It's not that he leaves me cold. He doesn't. But Heifetz often leaves me devastated.

Which one would I rather play like? To have the technical ability of either one would be "a consumation devoutly to be wished". But then, I'd want to continue to more or less sound, and certainly interpret like myself.

BTW, I never heard Heifetz in person, but I did hear Milstein live once at the Met Museum in NY, in an all unacompanied Bach recital. I still have the autographed program!

July 24, 2007 at 01:40 PM · Admire Heifetz; admire Milstein - but play like yourself. I think at the rarified atmosphere of Heifetz and Milstein, the differences between them are monumental but golden. They each have a very different "voice" and concept of what they are trying to do. And they each have qualities I absolutely love. Aren't we lucky to have had both?

July 24, 2007 at 02:24 PM · frankly, i'd aspire to play like shaham or hahn.

July 24, 2007 at 02:35 PM · really?

July 24, 2007 at 03:01 PM · Actually, Raphael's post reminded me about the great Oskar Shumsky!!!

He's certainly one of the most underappreciated violinists ever, and had oodles of technique and passion to hold his own against Heifetz, Milstein, or anyone else.

And Jim, I don't think you should aspire to play as the next Gil Shaham or Hilary Hahn, rather, you should aspire to be the first Jim Tsai.



July 24, 2007 at 03:16 PM · Hi,

Milstein and Heifetz were both great musicians, though very different violinists. The one thing they share in common is that they are at the service of great music.

In relation to what Sander said... Like my teacher once said to me (when I said I wish I could play like him and his response «You never will»): «The object is to play at the highest level violinistically and musically but to be yourself. You cannot sound like someone else, nor should you try. And if you try to be like someone else you have no way of acheiving the goal in the first place, because you are no longer seeking it.»


July 24, 2007 at 04:51 PM · For a short time, weren`t Heifetz and Milstein present in the same Auer class in St.Pet.?

July 24, 2007 at 05:10 PM · I second the Oscar Shumsky. Amazing violinist. From Philly too! There is a great story about him about his meeting with Fritz Kriesler, who was his idol. Young Shumsky went hear Kreisler with the philly orch playing Beethoven. At the time, the cadenza he played was unpublished and after only two hearings, young Shumsky was able to play by memory the cadenza for Kreisler!

I have an amazing recording of him playing the first movement of Beethoven with the Curtis Symphony and Fritz Reiner...great stuff...

July 24, 2007 at 05:26 PM · Christian said:

"Milstein and Heifetz were both great musicians, though very different violinists. The one thing they share in common is that they are at the service of great music."

That pretty well sums it up for me.

July 24, 2007 at 05:30 PM · Edwin - yes.

Adam - yes, Shumsky's been called 'a violinist's violinist'. One of my teachers, Regis Iandiorio, studied with him. I was thinking of bringing up his name on the thread of lesser-known violinists. It's a bit of a judgement call as to who is pretty obscure even to many violin fanciers, and who is better known by violinists and violin lovers, but not recognized/appreciated widely enough.

July 25, 2007 at 12:01 AM · adam,

thanks for the advice, but probably more appropriate for a conservatory student. at this stage of the game i don't harbor any illusions i can even achieve one-tenth the ability of a Hahn or Shaham - or any of the soloists on the concert circuit. i'm not giving up my day job anytime soon.

btw, anyone know where i can get a recording of shaham playing the Tchaikovsky Valse Scherzo? it's the best version i've ever heard, caught it on the radio while driving.

July 25, 2007 at 04:07 AM · My fav of Tchiak Valse is Milstein.

July 25, 2007 at 07:42 AM · MILSTEIN

he was a giant of violin and especially

autoironic humble, sarcastic person

He especially was a self-made violinist who did not consider himself a prodige as he was young

he was GREAT!!

July 25, 2007 at 10:03 AM · I love Milstein's Bach. And Heifetz's showpieces are unbeatable. Don't think it's possible to prefer one or the other entirely, guess it depends on the repertoire!

July 25, 2007 at 10:26 AM · Milstein was also much less skinny than Heifetz.

I bet 10.000$ on M.

July 25, 2007 at 11:52 AM · Now we're getting into the heart of the matter: H vs M in an ultimate fighting style showdown. Both were in good shape. Both liked to play tennis. H. had more grace, a height advantage, and cat-like moves. But M. was very solid and tough. This could be a classic match-up, like Ali vs Frazier. I'm not sure who would win, but I'd definitely like to sit ringside for that one!

July 25, 2007 at 01:36 PM · wow, I expected this discussion to be almost entirely pro-heifetz... Looks like Nate Robinson hasn't posted yet

July 25, 2007 at 06:51 PM · Again it's a matter of taste and what interpretation moves you when comparing to greats like Milstein and Heifetz. Think about it, name a piece that Heifetz could play that Milstein couldn't play or vice versa. However, I prefer Heifetzs' playing in contrast to Milstein. To me, Heifetz had the more identifiable tone and style, that's not to say Heifetz was the better violinist. Waiting for Nate's comment!

July 25, 2007 at 07:19 PM ·

July 25, 2007 at 07:30 PM · Repertoire is key. I don't think there is any one violinist that I can say "I like how he/she plays everything." Ultimately, I may prefer H. because I have more recordings of his. But M's Bruch and several other works I find much more appealing. H's Vitali Chaconne is beyond comparison.

My teacher studied with Milstien - If I recall correctly, M didn't have access to scale and etude books when he was young. What he did have access to was a collection of Chopin piano works, and he used those to study violin. That's a heck of a way start!

July 25, 2007 at 08:32 PM · I sense another wrasslin match coming on...

July 25, 2007 at 09:29 PM · "heifetz was a great musician and a great violinist. milstein was a great violinist."

Wanna fight?

July 25, 2007 at 10:44 PM ·

July 25, 2007 at 11:56 PM ·

July 26, 2007 at 12:55 AM · I agree completely with that thing about pianists getting to worry more about musicality, violinists having to spend all their energy on technique. (You can't even be out of tune on the piano, for crying out loud.) However, you should have seen the irate reaction of a pianist friend of mine when I told her about this simple truth!! ;-)

July 26, 2007 at 01:30 AM ·

July 26, 2007 at 02:07 AM · I know that--I'm a pianist too, not a very good one but I certainly have some grasp of what the difficulties specific to the piano are. I wasn't even too vehement about it, it was just the very concept that ticked off my pianist friend. ;-) I thought it was funny, anyway.

July 26, 2007 at 02:19 AM · oh for sure...ive gotten the same thing. its ok..they're trying to protect their sacredness :)

July 26, 2007 at 02:19 AM · oh for sure...ive gotten the same thing. its ok..they're trying to protect their sacredness :)

July 26, 2007 at 04:53 AM · After watching both, I'm so green I still would not form an opinion beyond this:

For the time being, Milstein is one of my favorite violinists, followed by Oistrakh, then Hahn and then Heifetz. Of course this shows my naivety, but I can do that because I'm so green.

But even so, the image of Milstein doing first mvmt, partita 3, was really a peak though not revolutionary experience for me. Then Hahn, hammered that fluid beautiful controlled image into the middle of my belly and heart. I feel as if some of the improvements I've made recently are because of those two images plus some more I'll probably blog about.

A lot of the times the onliest image that will come to my mind is making love to a note, but I'm a Scorpio. This perfectly balanced not only instrument but equally important mastery of becoming one with the forming of a note and phrase is responsible for creating another image I refuse to share in mixed company. I truly am shy.

I feel Milstein does this. And having watched Hahn form notes, control planes of attack, oh'm'gosh.... And so subtly and fluidly. Breathless. Truly. But actually it was someone else less notable but still very good that I learned attack of note in a staccato spirit by watching her too.

Maybe I'm a chamber kind'a guy. I love that intimate smallness yet greatness--if not brilliance of playing perfectly fluidly. Again, Milstein does this for me. I truly don't care about filling the hall--I'll yell if I have to do that. I care about the richness of the tonality and the silkiness yet effectiveness of both the white space as well as the intense moments.

Though I've said several times I'm a football player learning ballet with this stuff, it would have to be in a Milstein-like way, because he creates all those qualities I just discussed. A complete, perfect perfect mousse! . This is what I'm looking for in violin. This is how I feel about Milstein.

How could Heifetz compete with that. ;).

July 26, 2007 at 05:34 AM ·

July 26, 2007 at 05:47 AM · Milstein > Menuhin > Heifetz for me.

Milstein...was just so... elegant? Excellent bowing. His playing/posture/position was so relaxed and fluid, beautiful. His physical movements really added to the performances.

July 26, 2007 at 06:04 AM · I wonder if people actually go back and read what they say... whenever it's a comparison between 2 violinists (which is pretty retarded in and of itself), it ceases to be about appreciating both for their tremendous artistry, but one overshadowing the other. So here we have Nathan Milstein who is one of the greatest ever, with technique in bucket fulls, now being said to be vastly inferior to Heifetz... yes, he might not be as clean as Heifetz, but like I said before, we're comparing two runners in a race where one MIGHT be winning by a nose hair.

If you seriously think that Heifetz is far and away better than Milstein, then you clearly don't know how to play the violin, nor do you know anything about it. Both left us ample examples of technically dumbfounding performances. It's quite possible that Heifetz left more, but that doesn't mean he's far superior. The differences at that level are tiny. It would make a lot more sense to me to say that you find the playing of Heifetz to be more accurate on average and that you prefer his playing. Getting caught up in a discussion that closely mimmicks that of 3rd graders comparing quarterbacks or whose dad is the toughest is moronic to a hilarious degree.

These seem to be popular discussions and Heifetz always has his little throng of (often spectacularly misinformed) zealots, some of whom insist on extolling Heifetz and degrading the other player being discussed. This is a situation in which the comparisson lives purely in the world of the discussion, because people will get so caught up in trying to make sure "their guy" wins that they end up talking much like the 3rd graders I talked about. If anyone tries to tell you that anyone like Oistrakh or Milstein are "far" inferior to anyone but perhaps god, then laugh at them and thank your parents for not passing on the imbicile gene.

July 26, 2007 at 06:07 AM · I completely agree Daniel. Some people on here cannot discern or seem to know what the objective qualities let alone subjective qualities are. Take a look at the Bruch Scottish Fantasy thread as evidence.

In regard to the original question, Milstein, besides Szeryng, is the only one in my opinion to come close to the perfection of Jascha Heifetz both artistically and musically. There are pieces which Milstein owns like the Goldmark. Milstein also played till he was in his 80's at the highest level which is very rare. I don't think anything matches Heifetz at his highest peak. Take a listen to well all his recordings.

In terms of technique, Heifetz was superior to Milstein in respect to intonation. Heifetz's bow division and leggatos were a bit better as well.

July 26, 2007 at 11:36 AM · It is heartwarming to know that Milstein and Heifetz expressed respect and appreciation of one another's art to their students. When Milstein was appearing in Los Angeles, Heifetz asked his class: "Who went to the to the Milstein recital last night?" Those who replied in the negative had to pay a fine! When I played Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso at a Milstein lesson, he told me that the Heifetz recording was wonderful, and that he (Milstein) had it. At one of the other class member's lessons, he once said: "Slide up to that note like Heifetz!"

July 26, 2007 at 11:52 AM · I'll just add this for now. As I said earlier, it does trouble me a bit to get into comparing violinists with the idea of having to conclude that one is necessarily "better". (Who is "better" - Mozart or Beethoven? Rembrant or Monet?) Yet it is remarakable that so many top players, some of whom I listed above, arguably kings of the violin in their own right, have acknowledged Heifetz as the Emperor.

At any rate, when comparing two top level players, it's more interesting and meaningful for me to think about what they bring to this or that piece, and what effect they have on me. Therefore, without necessarily trying to convert you to "Heifetz-ism", Albert, or anyone else who might possibly be less familiar with the repertoire I mentioned above in which the Heifetz magic paticularly comes through - do listen and enjoy. You needen't conclude that H. is the best; just enjoy!

July 26, 2007 at 11:55 AM · Who's better? One of my old teachers used to say, "Slides going up, Heifetz, slides going down, Milstein."

July 26, 2007 at 02:44 PM · Nate Robinson said "In regard to the original question, Milstein, besides Szeryng, is the only one in my opinion to come close to the perfection of Jascha Heifetz both artistically and musically. "

how about Michael Rabin, or Leonid kogan?

July 26, 2007 at 04:36 PM · The world is big enough for both Heifetz and Milstein, and more besides.

July 26, 2007 at 04:40 PM · Amen to that!

July 26, 2007 at 04:58 PM · As I said.

July 26, 2007 at 05:01 PM · Great question Chris, I think Kogan had probably faster fingers than Heifetz actually. Rabin is one of my favorites too. To my ear however, I do not think either played quite as in tune or as consistantly over the course of the many years Heifetz did. There are a few Szeryng recordings I've heard or Milstein recordings that are pretty close to the level of Heifetz in my opinion. I couldn't imagine the Goldmark being played any better than the way Milstein played it both musically and technically.

July 26, 2007 at 05:05 PM · If Rabin did not have mental instabilities his talent could have reached JH.

July 26, 2007 at 08:57 PM · I have nothing but admiration for the heirs apparrent already mentioned. But to my ears, when I consider such factors as, technique, and a closer sound and style to Heifetz, w.o. trying too hard to be imitative, I'd cast a vote for David Nadien.

July 27, 2007 at 02:38 AM · Pieter, huge AMEN. We ought to ban these sorts of degrading horse-race "discussions" from the website outright. No, no, we shouldn't really, free speech......but still.

July 27, 2007 at 02:53 AM · I'd struggle to choose an all-out favorite. I've many recordings from many of the greats, and much of what I prefer comes down to interpretation. Regardless, I think one would have a hard time arguing against the fact that Hiefetz exhibited the most perfected technique of the lot, but musically his interpretations are not always my favorite. Generally-speaking I tend to favor Milstein's work. But, for the Tchaikovsky Heiftez is my definite favorite. When it comes to the Bach Sonatas and Partitas Milstein gets the nod. With respect to Paganini's Caprices, again Milstein wins out, but only by a nose. However, sometimes my preference follows my mood as well. Also, believe it or not, the sound of the violin itself can draw me in one direction or another.

When you get right down to it, it's not really such an easy question to answer.

July 29, 2007 at 12:58 AM · bof

July 29, 2007 at 06:46 AM · pieter, in your post you keep speaking of "clean" playing and "technique". I don't think anyone can argue about technique of players at such a high level as milstein and heifetz. But one can comment on their musicianship, which i personally find heifetz far superior in. listening to both of them recently i didn't find as much sophistication in milstein's phrases and as heifetz. milstien was always too harsh and had none of that "kreisler" kind of magic, which jascha displayed so brilliantly when he was at his peak. but thats just my opinion...

July 29, 2007 at 01:46 PM · I totally agree with you Paul. Again Milstein was a great violinist no doubt. He had perfect technique and total control over the instrument, but other violinist have moved me more. In fact, I tend to like Milsteins interpreations as he got older. Milstein's last recital for example which is now available on DVD, contained some of his most heart felt playing, and is my favorite performance by him. This could just be me, or it could be the selection he chose.

July 29, 2007 at 02:07 PM · Quote from Raphael: "Oscar Shumsky said H. amazed him the way a great magician would. How did he keep pulling those violinistic rabits from the hat? But a while after a H. concert, he wouldn't be left with much, as opposed to the warm glow of a Kreisler concert."

Thanks for that, I always thought there must be some assocation between the 2 as they both had the same teacher (Auer), but never heard of any. I think Milstein possibly meant the same as Shumsky when he reportedly asked "How does he do it?" after watching a LIVE Heifetz performance.

Quote: "Heifetz's bow division and legatos were a bit better as well."

I wouldn't agree that Milstein's legato wasn't any better than Heifetz's - he seems to be the one player with this sort of bow hold who can actually get a good legato and honour an "intellectual" approach to interpretation. (Leaving Leonidas Kavakos out of it of course.)

July 29, 2007 at 03:06 PM · one things for sure; Milstein's bach was a whole lot better than heifetz's.

July 29, 2007 at 05:23 PM ·

July 29, 2007 at 07:18 PM · Heifetz's Bach is excellent. I really don't see what's wrong with his Bach, maybe I'm missing something here. Yes, Heifetz did play these works more on the romantic side, but for good reason. We have to take into account Bach had over 20 kids -- he had to be doing something else besides composing! I'd much rather hear Heifetz play Bach than this suspect field of period performances with their 'authentic' interpretations.

Take a listen to Heifetz playing the 3rd movement of the A minor sonata. Heifetz makes it sound as if there's two violins playing. Out of all the great recordings of Bach, I have not heard this movement played quite like this.

July 29, 2007 at 09:15 PM · oh ya...bach was definitely a MAN! :) 22 kids was it?

July 29, 2007 at 09:24 PM · I prfer szeryng's la plus que lente on youtube

I also prefer szeryng's bach to milstein's...

July 29, 2007 at 11:35 PM · Heifetzs' interpretation of the Chaconne to me is one of the best, if not the best.

July 30, 2007 at 12:09 AM · Maura: "You can't even be out of tune on the piano, for crying out loud."

Slight correction, Maura: when you ARE out of tune on the piano, there's precious little you can do about it.

Tuning of the instrument aside, pianists can (and do) still suffer from intonation problems. It's just that our misintonations generally occur in discrete steps of substantial size.


July 30, 2007 at 01:21 AM · Well of course, I know that. ;-) At this very moment, my Steinway upright sounds like it has a cold (damn humidity!) and the upper two octaves are a rather excruciating eighth of a pitch off. What I meant was, intonation is out of a pianist's control and he/she can't be blamed for out-of-tune notes (as long as they hit the right keys.) ;-)

The downside to that lovely arrangement became apparent at music camp last summer: there was one day that was taken up by very summer-campy activities for which we all divided up into teams by instrument. Before the festivities and tournaments began, each team had to present a song about the relative merits of their instrument (and usually, though this wasn't in the rules, the demerits of all others.) The pianists presented their arrangement of a Bach chorale complete with mischievously re-written lyrics...and it came out completely atonal. That part was not planned, they just couldn't sing on pitch. Halfway through, one of my friends called out "Oi! That's what happens when you don't have to tune your instrument!!" And much hilarity ensued. ;-)

July 31, 2007 at 05:05 PM · Who is "better"?

ELMAN attended Oistrakh's NY debut, along with a friend. He made no comment throughout the recital. At the end, his friend asked him -

-Well, Mischa, what do you think of this Oistrakh fellow?

-He's alright, but even Jascha is better.


Who is "best"?

RICCI - "Every violin player thinks he's the greatest. If he doesn't, then forget him."

HEIFETZ - "There IS no greatest. And if someone thought he was, he would fall by the very belief in his own success."

Someone asked OISTRAKH - "How would you rate yourself among the world's great violinists?

- I'd say I'm no.2

- OK, then who is no.1?

- Oh, there are SO many!


July 31, 2007 at 06:51 PM · Some years ago I read an interesting interview to Erick Friedman, one of the few violinists who had the opportunity to study with both Heifetz and Milstein. He considered Heifetz´s way of playing more "violinistical", so Milstein explored and invented new and individual ways to work with the violin, and Heifetz followed the 'traditional' system to grow technically and musically (scales, studies, etc.).

One more thing: You forgot to mention one more master: Francescatti. In my opinion, this superb violinist should be compared to Milstein and Heifetz. Technically and musically, he was amazing too.

August 1, 2007 at 12:18 AM · ^Francescatti was great too... The only thing that I have a problem is that he was a very stiff player- He tended to concentrate more on individual notes rather than a whole phrase.

August 1, 2007 at 01:06 AM · I agree with you, Chris. When they were performing, both Francescatti and Szeryng were very concentrated in some notes, and, about Francescatti, in his sound too, so their performances seem to be so calm and reflexive. In general Milstein and Heifetz were more impulsive. To equilibrate this, it was usual to Francescatti chosing faster tempis, near Heifetz´s or Milstein´s (in the other side, Szeryng preferred slower tempis).

August 1, 2007 at 10:36 AM · The old adage about comparisons being odious applies. The only time Milstein was to play with my then orchestra the RLPO, Liverpool, was in 68 or 69 in the Festival Hall London in the Tchaik.

He was hit by a taxi and a young guy came in his place with sideburns, jeans, American drawl, looked like a hick!

The playing was from a different dimension and even the brass section were stunned.

Never experienced any thing quite like it. The effortlessness and the sound which was electrifying.

The encore was Kreisler's Intro and recit.

He was Michael Rabin.

August 1, 2007 at 10:41 AM · You're very lucky to have heard Rabin live. He is an amazing player. I love his Paganini VC 1 and St Saens Op 28 - the best amongst even very great players like Heifetz (in the St Saens Op 28).

August 1, 2007 at 12:49 PM · You are lucky edmund.

August 1, 2007 at 01:25 PM · Michael Rabin...Sometimes, in my mind, I´m wondering what would have happened if this wonderful violinist would have lived more years. Probably he was the young violinist with more maturity like a musician, plus his dominion of the instrument. I have a disc with his BTH registrations, when he was between fourteen and eighteen years old. It´s surprising how a young boy could play a Brahms or a Glazunov Concerto with that musicality, artistry, the same level as other illustrious colleagues! He was wonderful!!

August 1, 2007 at 02:25 PM · rabin's scottish fantasy > heifetz's scottish fantasy

August 1, 2007 at 02:55 PM · If we must continue these types of horse-race face-offs, can we at least eschew using the mathematical symbols for "less than" and "greater than"??

August 1, 2007 at 03:50 PM · Maura - use of the mathematical symbols makes it scientific.

August 1, 2007 at 07:54 PM · whoever drinks the most, probably has the best scotch in that case me>rabin>heifetz

August 1, 2007 at 11:24 PM · Since when is musical interpretation and expression (not to mention personal preference) scientific?! :)

August 2, 2007 at 02:26 AM · .

August 2, 2007 at 03:45 AM · The world needs to know never take an American who looks like a hick lightly.

August 2, 2007 at 12:45 PM · There is a new & wonderful Milstein Tchaikovsky VC with the BSO & Munch plus encore pieces on Naxos Historical. Anyone heard this yet?

August 5, 2007 at 03:51 AM · Nate Robinson said: "In regard to the original question, Milstein, besides Szeryng, is the only one in my opinion to come close to the perfection of Jascha Heifetz both artistically and musically."

how about christian ferras or zino francescatti?

August 5, 2007 at 02:37 PM · (*fume, grumble, simmer*) and WHY has no one mentioned SZIGETI?? (*harrumph!*)


August 11, 2007 at 11:34 AM · Szigeti was one of the great aristocrats of the violin - and one of the violiln's great intellectuals. He always had something worthwhile to say, whether on the violin, or in words. But if we're talking about some of the greatest violinistic 'machines' - and I mean that in no pejoritive sense - JS was not the super fiddler or relative natural anywhere near Heifetz, Milstein, Nadien, Rabin, etc., etc. This is no put-down. It is only one aspect of the violinistic mosaic.

February 10, 2008 at 03:42 PM · I just compared Milstein's Saint-Saens concerto with Perlman's, and I much prefered Perlman's... I just don't think Milstein played with a lot of sensitivity compared to Perlman.

February 10, 2008 at 05:24 PM · That's wrong in more ways thatn I can count, but I can't prove it! :-)

I do love Perleman when he is in tune. I heard his rendition of the Brahms double with Yo Yo Ma, yesterday, beautiful!

February 12, 2008 at 11:02 PM · Scott,

there's tons of Perlman on youtube--can you give us some examples of when he's not in tune? Or is it more a general disagreement in concept of intonation?

February 12, 2008 at 11:17 PM · scott said "That's wrong in more ways thatn I can count, but I can't prove it! :-)"

Sorry, I just prefer Perlman's tone and approach to this piece

June 7, 2010 at 02:00 AM ·

After all this time that this thread lay asleep and not quite archived, I recently came across a website about Heifetz. One page has quotes from different people about H. Here is what Milstein said:

"Nobody can play the violin like that. I can't, nobody can. Forget his recordings. What Heifetz does in live performance is just incredible".

Of course each artist brings something different, interpretively to a performance. But you can't entirely divorce interpretation from execution. And what M. said about H was quite something!









June 7, 2010 at 02:21 AM ·

Now if we can only find what H said about M ;)

My opinon on this (its probably above but I don't have the heart to go through it) is that it depends on what they were playing.  I never liked Tchaikovsky until I heard it played by H and never appreciated the Bach sonatas and preludes until I heard them by M...

June 7, 2010 at 02:44 AM ·

None of them and both of them...But Iam not so fanatic about Heifetz. Extreme virtuosity is not my cup of tea...

June 7, 2010 at 02:51 AM ·

I am surprised about that quote...never read anything similar in his book (Conversations with....) Milstein did not favor Heifetz and Kogan... He speaks about the extraordinary virtuosity of both but specifies that some do not like Heifetz virtuosity... His favorites were Kreisler and David Oistrach. Menuhin's favorite were Enescu and Oistrach... Francescatti:Kreisler. Gingold:Kreisler ect. ect.

June 7, 2010 at 05:40 AM ·

I was surprised by the quote, too, and then reminded of this thread. What did H. say about M.? I understand that H. was usually careful not to comment on colleagues. But when any prominant violinist came to town, he insisted that his students go to hear him and appreciate the fact that things can be done in other ways.

What did H. say about H.? I understand that near the end of his life he heard a recording of his and said "too fast". He also said something to the audience at the end of a recital that we could apply to all our posts: "to those who liked it, thanks. To those who didn't, perhaps we'll catch you next time."

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