Lydia Mordkovitch

Lydia Mordkovitch Pays Tribute to David Oistrakh

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It's a bit disingenuous to label this compilation of performances a "tribute to David Oistrakh," for they weren't recorded as such. Instead this album gathers performances by Russian-British violinist Lydia Mordkovitch, Oistrakh's student when she was in her twenties, of repertory associated with her teacher. The music was recorded between 1986 and 2008, with various accomapanists, and if there's a genuine tribute to be made here it's to the Chandos engineering team, for there may be no other label at which recordings made 22 years apart would sound so sonically coherent. All this said, the collection makes interesting sense for Oistrakh fans, and there are ways in which the more general kind of tribute that occurs every time a student plays works learned specifically from a teacher is preferable here. The arrangements of Locatelli by Eugène Ysaÿe at the beginning of the program are not mere reproductions of Oistrakh's style in Baroque (or Baroque-derived) music; Mordkovitch tones down the vibrato a bit and is, in a sense, true to what Oistrakh might have wished he achieved with these pieces. Elsewhere she does follow Oistrakh closely; the Chausson Poème is a great example of Oistrakh's mixture of lyricism and steely control, and Mordkovitch also joins her teacher as a talented interpreter of Shostakovich, catching the melancholy beneath the various public forms employed in the Violin Sonata, Op. 134. Oistrakh's influence can be heard in the playing of various younger violinists, Russian and otherwise, and for his fans this will be a nice reminder of the days when he was a fixture of concert stages across Europe.

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