For many classical music lovers, Beethoven’s eighth violin sonata lives in the long, fiery shadow of the ninth, better known as the “Kreutzer”. This is easy to understand, as the Kreutzer is a prime example of the stormy side of Beethoven—the one many listeners see as his most exciting and revealing trait. However, just as his eighth symphony is the kinder, gentler companion to his towering, formidable ninth, the eighth violin sonata, shorter and less aggressive than the ninth, shows a more lyrical side of Beethoven.
For this release, RCA coupled the eighth sonata with the tenth, also in G Major. One of the loveliest of Beethoven’s
compositions for violin, the mood of the tenth sonata is the perfect complement to the eighth.
Although RCA would often place Heifetz alongside great pianists like Rubinstein, it was with Emanuel Bay that he found the greatest chemistry. This new Impex LP is the long-overdue 180-gram debut of the famous Heifetz/Bay team.
The two sonatas were recorded on October 16 and 17, 1952 using a single microphone. These monaural masterpieces come closer to capturing the true Heifetz tone than many concerto recordings of the stereo era and Impex’s all-analog production, featuring mastering by Kevin “Dr. Groove” Gray & Robert “Mr. Record” Pincus and pressing at Record Technology Inc., preserves the incredible dynamic range of this historic session, without the unnatural EQ of the original LP. This release will be individually numbered up to 2,000! This is sure to become a great collectable reissue from Impex Records.
The choice to reissue a 54-year-old mono recording is brave and to be commended. What this record may lack in audiophile terms, it more than compensates for in musical value and its improvement over the original. Heifetz is justifiably recognized as a master of his instrument, and this recording proves the point. What’s more special is the nearly flawless accompaniment by Emanuel Bay, a pianist I’m not familiar with, but one that has impeccable taste and sensitivity.