It is time to talk Heifetz I think. You need to understand the shirts! I want to try to explain why his playing has appealed to me almost endlessly, since I was 12 years old...

Listen first to the Vitali Chaconne- the first notes he played in his Carnegie debut, that changed the world of violin playing forever: It's not just about technique- it's about the burning intensity, energy that grabs you as a listener and compels you, because it is always a controlled burn. You never feel he is giving you everything he has, and yet it makes it so much more powerful than people who go out and "chew the scenery" Listen also to the clarity and evenness of his strokes and how it contributes to that feeling of inevitability and draws you forward.

There are players today who play as cleanly, or maybe more cleanly, than Heifetz. That's not the point. My admiration is based on his musicianship. Heifetz found way to add more colors, more changes of mood and momentum, more colors than any musician I know of. always moving forward and backwards with rubato, up and down in dynamics, varying the intensity of vibrato, using slides- ones that increase in intensity, and those that fade away. Listen to the details of this... how many moods, how many colors? To me this is what music should be...

Heifetz had the reputation for being "cold" because he didn't make faces or move on the concert platform. Some people would rather experience music with their eyes and mirror neurons to "feel" the emotions of the performer playing the music, rather than experiencing the emotion of the music first hand through their ears. Heifetz was not a cold player- he is perhaps the "hottest" player emotionally that I know of. But you can understand perhaps if you watch this:

and then compare it to this:
You can see how somehow who know nothing might feel more with their eyes from the from the latter, and to me- sorry- lesser performance.

As I mentioned in the last class, I've spent a lot of time recently trying to understand something of where it comes from. What I understand now better after my time with Ayke Agus is that for Heifetz, nothing happened by accident- he kept trying and experimenting with different ways, different ideas, to see what was the most moving, the most beautiful, the most expressive.. And that for Heifetz, the starting point was always from emotion. Whatever coldness he showed in his personal life, music, and the range of emotions it expressed, meant everything to him. Here is a piece he made all his students play because he wanted them to experiment with different ways to express the sadness, loss and grief: