Favorite Oistrakh and Heifetz CDs?

November 2, 2004 at 06:13 AM · I'm going to be adding in a small way to my CD collection soon. Shockingly, I don't own any music by either Oistrakh or Heifetz ( I've bought a lot of Milstein, and we also have some Perlman and Menuhin). So, a question for you all: if you could buy only one CD by Oistrakh and one by Heifetz, which would you buy?

Replies (40)

November 2, 2004 at 06:26 AM · Greetings,


Heifetz- Beethoven/Toscanini



November 2, 2004 at 07:00 AM · My choice would also be Oistrakh with Ormandy playing the Sibelius, but you should definitely get a recording of Oistrakh playing the Brahms concerto as well - he was the king of that. He recorded it several times, but the recordings with Ormandy or Konwitschny/Staatskapelle Dresden are very good.

For Heifetz, I would get the Tchaikovsky concerto with Reiner. It's an absolutely unbelievable recording. Oistrakh is also very good in Tchaikovsky (again with Ormandy!).

I've never been too crazy about Heifetz in Beethoven/Mozart/Brahms, but I guess that's just personal taste, and I love his Bruch/Vieuxtemps concerti recording. As far as smaller pieces go, there's an excellent CD called The Legendary Jascha Heifetz on EMI, which includes some of the best stuff from the 'encore' range.

Personally, I love Oistrakh's Lalo Symphonie Espagnole, but it doesn't seem to be considered a classic. If you're into Shostakovich, Oistrakh made probably the best recordings of the concerti.


November 2, 2004 at 08:59 AM · I reckon you can't go wrong with Oistrakh playing the Khachaturian, Glazunov, Kabelevsky and Shostokovich concertos either. Plus I think his Beethoven Sonata cycle with Lev Oborin is still the best recorded performance of these sonatas bar none.

There has also been an excellent recent EMI reissue of David Oistrakh playing various showpieces. These are recordings I had never heard until this CD came out. A great CD:


November 2, 2004 at 10:25 AM · Greetings,

yes, the sonatas are one of the greatest cd sets of all time . Astonishing.



November 2, 2004 at 12:16 PM · Hi,

Lots of choice for these two great artists.


Walton and Elgar Violin Concertos (RCA Victor)

Sibelius, Prokofiev #2 and Glazunov Violin Concertos (RCA Red Seal)

Beethoven and Brahms (RCA)

Bruch #1, Scottish Fantasy and Vieuxtemps #5 Violin Concertos (RCA)

Heifetz Showpieces: in my mind the greatest single example of violin playing ever recorded (RCA Victor)


Beethoven Sonatas with Lev Oborin (Phillips): amongst the best sets ever.

Tchaikovsky and Sibelius Violin Concertos (CBS Masterworks)

Brahms Violin Concerto (EMI)

Ravel and Debussy Sonatas, Prokofiev-5 Melodies and Ysaye Sonata #3 (Philips)

November 2, 2004 at 01:08 PM · Considering these violinist are two of my favorites, You should try to get all their CD's eventually, it's worth the money.

November 2, 2004 at 04:08 PM · One Heifetz recording I would recommend is the Castelnuovo Concerto No. II 'I profeti'...This is Heifetz at his best!

November 2, 2004 at 04:23 PM · Heifetz/Steinberg Bruch Scottish Fantasy. (He recorded it three times; the one with Steinberg/RCA Orch. is by far my favorite.)

Heifetz/Munch Beethoven Cto.

Heifetz/Beecham Mozart #4 (a very different performance than his later recording of Mozart #4).

November 2, 2004 at 06:10 PM · Heifetz Vieuxtemps #5/Bruch Concerto #1/Scottish Fantasy is a great intro to Heifetz, showcasing his virtuosity and sensitiveness.

Oistrakh Tchaikovsky Concerto with Samosud or the Mendelssohn concerto with Ormandy.

These are just to get started, but both artists put incredible quality in most of their recordings.

November 2, 2004 at 07:49 PM · It's all been said in the others' responses. However, to me the works that characterise Heifetz are: the Brahms, Mendelssohn and Beethoven Concerti, Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, Saint Saens' Introdiuction and Rondo Capriccioso and Havanaise, and Ave Maria by Schubert. Of course, much more than these! The Korngold, Conus, Wieniawski, Vieuxtemps and the Spohr 8 are 'must haves'.

What characterises Oistrakh? The Tchaikovsky, Brahms and the Dvorak.

November 3, 2004 at 04:58 AM · Oistrakh recorded Mendelssohn with Ormandy?

November 3, 2004 at 05:40 AM · Yes, in 1955

November 3, 2004 at 07:33 AM · I've never been able to find a recording of Oistrakh playing the Mendelssohn, so if someone knows where one exists, I'd much appreciate it if they let me know!


November 3, 2004 at 08:11 AM · Here you go Carl, on Classic D'Ora


November 3, 2004 at 10:01 PM · A follow-up question: I was pricing Beethoven sonatas by Oistrakh at Arkiv and found something weird: two complete sets, both by Oistrakh and Oborin, both recorded in Paris in 1962, yet one set (Philips) is $29.99 and the other (Doremi) is $56.03. Does this make any sense to anyone?

November 4, 2004 at 08:27 PM · Oistrakh: Brahms/Tchaikovsky/Bach Conertos double cd

Heifetz: Conus (hard to find) is my fave other than that any Winiawski I like by him

(There are many other recordings by both I admitre but those are my faves)

November 4, 2004 at 08:53 PM · Molly,

Doremi would appear to be a "high quality" label that emphasises the quality of their transfers and recordings. So I imagine the sonic quality of the recordings would be very good indeed.

However, I note that Philips have reissued the Oistrakh / Oborin set several times since the advent of CD. I actually bought the first reissue back in the mid 1980s and the sound quality was terrible compared to their recent transfers.

The set I have now I received as a birthday present last year and is the latest transfer made in 2001.

The quality of this 2001 is absolutely superb and given the age of the recordings I couldn't really want for anything better.

So I would say unless you are a rich audiofile, get the 2001 boxed set from Philips (catalogue number 468 406-2).

November 4, 2004 at 09:40 PM · Naxos puts out a very good set of the Heifetz that is inexpensive. I am not a great fan of his, but the CD with Bruch's Scottish Fantasy (apparently his favorite one to play), the Glazunov, and the Brahms Double with Feuermann is outstanding.

Besides the Oistrakh recommended, the CD (I think it is a Deutsche Grammophone one) with his Bach concertos is very good.

November 5, 2004 at 03:04 PM · Oistrakh also did a CD (maybe DG?) with Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante where he plays viola and his son plays violin. It is also excellent.

November 5, 2004 at 04:15 PM · My Lp of the two Oistrakhs doing the Sinfonia concertante with Kondrashin is on a London Decca.

November 5, 2004 at 06:37 PM · My CD of the Oistrakhs playing the Sinfonia Concertante is on EMI

Studio. David O. conducts the Berlin Phil.

November 6, 2004 at 07:04 PM · I have a recording of Heifitz on Tchaikovsky, Wieniawski No.2, and Sibelius, with John Barbirolli and the London Phil. It's excellent, and it was *very* reasonably priced on Amazon (It's under the Naxos Historical label).

November 6, 2004 at 08:05 PM · hey i have that too

February 8, 2005 at 01:00 AM · Note one vote for Oistrakh's recording with Igor on Deutsche Grammophon of Bach's Double Violin Concerto? Yikes.

February 8, 2005 at 01:15 AM · I voted for that elsewhere. You are not alone.

March 21, 2005 at 03:43 AM · Everyone here mentions the Heifetz recordings of the difficult, showy concertos. There's another side of him that you can hear in some of his chamber music recordings--his ability to turn a melodic phrase in a way that's really inimitable. Here are two examples: in the Souvenir de Florence recording made in the 1960's, he plays the gorgeous melody in the second movt in a way I can't describe. It's so moving. At the end of the Dumky Trio, the same thing--one of Dvorak's slavic melodies played with such depth of emotion and mourning that it makes you really sit up and take notice.

March 21, 2005 at 03:58 AM · A lot of you will think this is cheesy, but I used to have a cassete (like 15 years ago) of Heifetz playing a lot of small encore type pieces - mainly transcriptions of American stuff like Gershwin. Heifetz had an unusually good sense for Jazz inspired stuff...there was a suite called jitteropeda (sp?) that was tremendous. And here's the sappy part: I am only 34, but I was always a huge Bing Crosby fan. I think I learned almost as much about timing, phrasing, and tone from him as anyone. At the end of the tape of Heifetz were two duets with Bing Crosby and Heifetz. The one I loved especially was called "Where my Caravan Has Rested." It went something like this:

Where my caravan has rested,

Flowers are blooming on the grass...

All the flowers of love and memory,

You will find them when you pass.

It made me cry almost every time I listened to it. Needless to say I grew up in a VERY sentimental family.

Heifetz was trained in Russia, but I think he was so popular in America because he could communicate to Americans.

March 21, 2005 at 06:30 AM · Benjamin, Russians and their music are reknown for their sentimentality. I think he was just playing to Americans with the same feelings, just different notes.

March 21, 2005 at 06:58 AM · $8.99

March 21, 2005 at 07:26 AM · What was the name of the ensamble were Heifetz played Souvenir de Florence?

I looked for it on tower Records but couldnĀ“t find Heifetz name and Souvenir de Florence on the same title.

March 21, 2005 at 07:41 AM · Jim,

Thanks! I had been looking for this on Barnes & Noble with no success. I don't like Jasha for some things, but I tell you, he shines on these recordings. Deep River is just awesome. He rips my heart out!


March 21, 2005 at 02:20 PM · Look for Tchaikowsky, string sextet, also called souvenir de Florence: Heifetz, Piatigorky, Primrose, Lesser among others..Another Heifetz treasurable recording is Wieniavsky's 2nd concerto.

As far as Oistrakh is concerned, his Beethoven concerto live with Abendroth (Tahra) is one of my favorites.

The Doremi set of the sonatas is different from the Philips, the recordings were made for the french radio, and I like the performances a lot more.

March 21, 2005 at 03:24 PM · Among the Oistrakh essentials are recordings of Prokofiev's violin music. You can currently get a great EMI reissue of both violin concerti plus the D major sonata by Oistrakh, highly recommended. Also, don't miss the F minor sonata, recorded live with Richter and available on Orfeo D'or.

March 21, 2005 at 04:26 PM · Is there a recording with both sonatas on the same CD?

March 21, 2005 at 04:36 PM · David Oistrakh The Romatic Violin CD on Monitor Label. Oistrakh's tone and recognizable sound is at it's best here on this CD!!. Brahms Lullaby could never be played better,Wagner's Album Leaf the best, The Fountain of Arethusa by Sztmanowski, breath taking. Definitely get this CD for your collection.

March 21, 2005 at 05:08 PM · Heifetz's Tchaikovsky in my opinion will never be equalled!! My recording is the one from the 'heifetz the supreme' reissue set, I didnt even like that concerto until I heard this recording.

March 21, 2005 at 08:39 PM · As far as I know, you can't get both Prokofiev sonatas by Oistrakh on one CD. But they're worth a CD purchase each.

March 21, 2005 at 08:45 PM · I just bought a the Oistrakh Ravel/Debussy/Ysaye "ballade" album on record at a used books and music store last weekend. I was blow away by his Ysaye! Without a doubt the cleanest and most perfect performance I've ever heard! I can't describe how good it was!!

I still have yet to listen to the Ravel and Debussy.

March 21, 2005 at 11:44 PM · im heifetz' biggest fan...but some of his concerti are way to fast...

the ones i can love are his prokofiev no.2, korngold, glazunov, lalo, mendelssohn 3rd movement, sibelius

March 21, 2005 at 11:53 PM · Oistrakh playing Mozart 4 &5 (and an Adagio and Rondo) with the Berlin Philharmonic... amazing!

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