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Classical 101

The Worst Performance Jascha Heifetz Ever Gave

He has been called "God's Fiddler" and "a nonpareil of violinists." Even as a child, his playing prompted the virtuoso violinist Fritz Kreisler to remark, "We might as well take our fiddles and smash them across our knees." Jascha Heifetz will forever remain in the collective memory one of the great  violinists of the twentieth century. Fluid yet arrestingly precise, expressive within the bounds of impeccable taste, Heifetz's controlled playing even today sets a standard for aspiring violinists. But even with his legendary musical discipline, Heifetz still knew how to let loose. In the video above, he mugs for what appears to be a room full of students by mocking the screeches and scratches of a bad audition. Even when playing badly, Heifetz was great.