chapter  3
12 Pages

An Empirical Overview of the Heifetz Career

Drawing on a representative sample of eleven Prelude recordings from the set of 136, this chapter examines particular aspects of interpretative approach in greater detail. The representative recordings cover many aspects of the recorded performance tradition already identified, and the list includes all four of Heifetz's recordings. Heifetz's 1950 recording is the closest of all eleven recordings to the metronomical line, closer than even Sarasate, Heermann, and Kremer. Furthermore, the other three Heifetz Prelude recordings all demonstrate relatively small fluctuations, confirming that Heifetz's way of playing the Prelude fell consistently in the moto perpetuo category, not just in terms of overall duration, but also in terms of persistent figuration. Other approaches developing in recent years include various avenues of period instrument performance and the gradual slowing of the Prelude when performed on guitar, lute, and other instruments. This cross-fertilisation of styles and the development of new styles are vividly apparent in the recorded performance history of the Prelude.