Jascha Heifetz plays Mendelssohn and Nathan Milstein plays Bach, Paganini, and Milstein

Two legends of the 20th century violin

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Jascha Heifetz — Violinist

Bell Telephone Orchestra

Donald Vorhees — Conductor

Nathan Milstein — Violinist

Ernest Lush — Pianist

Program notes

“Virtuosity”—the conjunction of several virtues—shines in this rare archive material with legendary violinists Nathan Milstein and Jascha Heifetz with historic performances featuring unsurpassed technique and profound musicality.

These two musical titans were born at the turn of the twentieth century, at the extremes of what was once Imperial Russia (today, Lithuania and Ukraine) and both are shining stars of what’s often been dubbed the Golden Age of violin playing—a period which saw an explosion of Eastern European performers of uncanny technical mastery, many of whom are still considered today to be among the greatest performers the instrument has ever known. 

And while Jascha Heifetz takes the “allegro appassionato” indication at Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto to the letter with a performance charged with fire, Nathan Milstein’s violin sings, almost whispering, in Manuel de Falla’s Asturiana: a moving, melancholic moment. Also on the program, again in the hands of Milstein: a master class without words on Bach’s monumental Chaconne; and impressive pyrotechnics in a couple of Paganini’s most demanding solo pieces… With a composition by Milstein himself, inspired by the Italian legend, featuring the most devilish traits among all violin literature!


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