I found this recording of Jascha Heifitez in my RSS reader yesterday, from this article. As a kid, I remember that a lot of other kids who played the violin had Heifetz videos to watch. It was kind of a stage-parent thing to do, buying your kid a Heifetz video on VHS, and there were rumors of kids getting repetitive stress injuries from trying to emulate the posture that came so naturally to Heifetz, especially in his left hand.
Seriously, watch that man’s left hand.
I never had a Heifetz video growing up, and it hadn’t occurred to me that I could watch him play on the internet. I popped the video out into a little window, and had a tiny Heifetz playing one of my favorite pieces for solo violin, like a little homunculus in the corner of my computer screen while I worked yesterday. It was one of those moments when techology feels like a miracle- I would have had to ask around after such a video as a kid, ask a friend if I could borrow it, go home and pop it in the VCR after making sure that my parents didn’t want to watch Jeopardy or something- and now here it was, on my desktop, at my whim.
After about ten minutes, I noticed that my coworkers were sitting and watching him play over my shoulder, entranced. They could hear him bleeding through my headphones a little; I asked whether I was disturbing them, and they just said that it was beautiful.
It was beautiful. I should have a little Heifetz more often.
Incidentally, I have attempted to learn the piece in that video, and I can tell you that he makes it look easy. Of course, Heifetz makes everything look easy.