David Oistrakh (1908-1974) had few peers among violinists of his generation and continues to this day to be regarded as one of the supreme musicians of the 20th century. His playing, technically impeccable and sumptuous in tone and dramatic flair, served his interpretations eloquently. Yet there was no grandstanding in an Oistrakh performance. To one observer, he played with the quiet concentration of a chess master.
The highlight of the wide-ranging program on this DVD is the world premiere performance of the Shostakovich Second Violin Concerto, composed, as was the composer's first Violin Concerto, with Oistrakh in mind. The work, described by one critic as "a troubled sound world" with its complex thematic material and jolting harmonic shifts, holds no terrors for its dedicatee who provides an assured and brilliant performance.
The sonic watercolors of Debussy's lovely G minor Sonata and a group of diverse shorter works amply demonstrate Oistrakh's versatility and mastery of style.
B&W, 60 minutes, 4:3, All regions
Debussy: Violin Sonata in G minor
Dvorak: Mazurek, Op. 49
Sibelius: Nocturne (from Belshazzar’s Feast, Suite, Op. 51)
Schubert: Waltz Caprice
Debussy: The Girl with the Flaxen Hair (Preludes Book 1, No. 8)
Frida Bauer, piano
Shostakovitch: Violin Concerto No. 2 in C-sharp minor, Op. 129
Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
Kirill Kondrashin, conductor
Live performances: 1972 (recital), 1967 (Shostakovitch)