David Oistrakh

Concertos by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart & Prokofiev

(CD - EMI Classics #81487)

Review by

As a précis of everything that was great about violinist David Oistrakh, this two-disc set of four concertos recorded for EMI in 1956 with the Philharmonia Orchestra can't be bettered. Start at the end with his Prokofiev Second Violin Concerto with Alceo Galliera on the podium and attend Oistrakh's long, lyrical lines and infallible intonation. Then try his Brahms Double Concerto with cellist Pierre Fournier and Galliera again on the podium and concentrate on his tight, strong tone and his effortless interplay with Fournier. Then try his Beethoven Triple Concerto with cellist Lev Oborin and pianist Sviatoslav Knushevitzky and Malcolm Sargent on the podium and focus on his clean, clear technique and his brilliant partnership with Oborin and Knushevitzky. Finally, as the pièce de resistance, try Oistrakh all by himself playing and conducting Mozart's G major Violin Concerto and relax into his elegant and soulful interpretation in a dual role. Captured in vivid early stereo by producers Walter Legge and Walter Jellinek, these recordings sound as fresh and vital in this 2007 reissue as they did half a century earlier.

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