on 20 January 2011
In my early twenties I collected a lot of David Oistrakh's recordings, circa 25 cds. My favourites included (and still do) the Brahms concerto conducted by Konwitschny, the Franck sonata with Oborin -and with Richter as well, and the Ravel trio. However, most of them are simply and undisputably great. Oistrakh's vast discography includes lots and lots of multiple recordings of many pieces. Finding a bad performance, if possible, must be extremely difficult. Choosing one DO recording of several of a piece will usually be a question of quality of recorded sound or that of his co-musicians.
I was familiar with the 1953 Kondrashin recording of Prokofiev's first concerto with David Oistrakh, very well played indeed but with quite poor sound. This 1954 recording, with the LSO conducted by Lovro von Matacic, then is a revelation, with Oistrakh in absolute top shape, in very beautiful reproduced sound. Here he reaches in my ears microscopically close to the very peak of instrumental playing. Since my later twenties I have, honestly, been more fascinated with Heifetz, Gitlis, Enescu and Thibaud. When I hear this performance I am fully reminded of DO's greatness. What undescribably gorgeous, creamy sound he produces! What cat-like, smooth phrasing, taking the first movement at a relatively slow tempo that beautifully allows the music to bloom, while there surely is more than enough of exquisite sparkling energy in the more rythmically charged passages. I hear a performance where a perfect technique is musically integrated, to a degree that is very rare even among the greatest musicians.
For me personally, this cd is worth the money for the first concerto only, due to my odd taste, in that I adore that particular piece but have some problems with both the second concerto and the second sonata. I just find the spring-like first concerto so irresistably attractive, while the two other pieces for me remain difficult. This is, of course, my problem only, very clearly so regarding the solid popularity they enjoy. (Jascha Heifetz recorded Prokofiev's second concerto but not the first. What a pity, I say!) Oistrakh's performances, however, are just superb throughout the programme on this cd. Sound quality: excellent for the period.
This is a welcome reissue of the monumental recordings of Prokofiev's violin concertos beautifully remastered with vivid sound. These awesome performances by David Oistrakh are in many ways a touchstone for all the violinists in the world, and very few of them can match the sheer beauty of his tone, his technical refinement and artistry. His mind never seems to falter or lose perspective, whether in the fiendishly difficult passages or in the most lyrical moment. One can always sense the music is coming from his innermost being, and that gives the noble beauty to the warm and deeply expressive tone he draws from the instrument. Violin sonata No.2 is played also with the same focus, poetic imagination and the rich tone.
Violin Concerto No.1 (1955 Mono)
Violin Concerto No.2 (1959 Stereo)
Violin Sonata No.2 (1956 Mono)
on 21 July 2014
A lyrical and now historic rendition by a maestro who died prematurely but left us with this interpretation (and other) as a benchmark for such 20th Century works. Doubtless time and the advance of recording and reproduction techniques will contrive to date this eminently acceptable particular recording but, hopefully, some of the new [and as yet unknown] recording techniques could be used to further enhance Oistrakh's brilliant interpretations.