Bruch & Mozart / Violin Concertos / Heifetz

This is a very old review, probably from the early 2010s, so take it for what it’s worth. I suspect we could find a much better sounding copy of the album today than we could back then, before we had the cleaning systems and playback equipment we do now.

Both sides of this Shaded Dog pressing of Heifetz and the New Symphony Orchestra of London have sound that earned the quite respectable sonic grades of A+ to A++.

Side one is tonally correct and lively, but suffers from a bit of the all-too-common tube smear, no doubt from the mastering chains and record presses that were in use at the time. (Most modern mastering chains and record presses are, to our ears, even worse, so this is not to denigrate the engineers at RCA in any way. It’s simply to say that with Tubey Magic you often get tubey smear.)

Side two, as is almost always the case with vintage classical vinyl, is quite different in regard to its strengths and weaknesses. It starts out with the orchestra being quite dynamic, but some shrillness and smear make it less than ideal. Fortunately, by the second movement the sound is dramatically improved, with a relatively unsmeared solo violin taking center stage. From here on out there is a lovely balance of sweetness, richness and timbral detail. It starts out at about A+ and soon enough sounds like A++, so A+ to A++ seems right for the grade.

Heavy Vinyl

Classic did this title on heavy vinyl back in the day, which is only fitting since it is one of the better recordings of Heifetz’s work. Classic’s version was not as awful as some of the others we’ve played over the years (1903, 2435) but it was not very good either. If you have the Classic, do your own shootout. We guarantee this pressing will murder theirs.