Jascha Heifetz came back to New York yesterday with twenty-eight pieces of baggage, the quarter-size fiddle which had been bought for him thirty years ago when he was a child of three in Russian and a fresh new laurel on his brow.
As he stood amid his baggage at the pier against which the Conte di Savoia had docked, wearing a light felt hat, no laurel, fresh or otherwise, was visible, but it was clear, from his report of his Russian tour, that if Russia wasn’t music-mad, it certainly was Heifetz-mad.
“To hear me some came from distant cities, even from Siberia,” he told reporters. “For every concert the house was sold out immediately and I heard of workmen who pawned heirlooms to attend and paid what would amount to $10 in American money.”
Audiences in the chief cities of Russia where Heifetz played seemed to be making up for something like a fifteen-year famine of music. They didn’t know when to go home and they refused to take No for an answer to their demand for encores, or whatever the Russian use for the same idea.
“We had to turn the lights out on them and push our way through streets filled with cheering throngs to reach the hotel afterwards. Flowers were thrown in the streets and gifts presented.”
Incidentally, Heifetz went on tour with a valet in attendance and appeared at evening concerts in evening dress. This bourgeois touch seems not to have alienated his audiences. He landed in New York merely to play for half an hour over the radio Sunday evening, after which he sets sail again, this time on a South American concert tour.
FINDS LITTLE VIOLIN
More thrilling, however, than even any one of the receptions he was accorded during his Russian tour, he told reporters, was his re-discovery of the little violin on which he had first learned to play almost as an infant.
When he arrived in Moscow April 10, he was met by an uncle, Naum Heifetz, who told him that he had managed to get hold of the little fiddle. A peg was missing, but one of the original strings seemed not even frayed. Heifetz said today that he would restore the instrument and keep it as his most precious possession. It will remain in the original black case which first went with it.