Anyone who loves the repertoire -- the best Russian violin concertos of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries -- and loves the performer -- the best Russian violinist of the twentieth century -- will have to hear this disc. Featuring performances by the great David Oistrakh recorded during two of his earliest American tours, the A minor Concerto by Shostakovich was taped in Carnegie Hall in New York City in January 1956 with Dimitri Mitropoulos leading the New York Philharmonic while the D major Concerto by Tchaikovsky was taped in the Broadwood Hotel in Philadelphia in December 1959 with Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra. Both are masterpieces of the art of violin playing. Shostakovich's concerto was dedicated to and premiered by Oistrakh, and his performance here blazes with power and commitment. Tchaikovsky's concerto had been every great Russian violinist's calling card for close to a century when Oistrakh took it up, but his performance here melts with sweetness and light. Technically, both performances are essentially flawless -- Oistrakh's virtuosity is breathtaking -- but temperamentally, the performances are even more impressive -- Oistrakh's understanding of the music and his ability to amplify it through the charisma of his playing is unsurpassed. While the monaural New York recording is a bit recessed, the stereo Philadelphia recording is sharp, crisp, and full.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 77 (published as Op. 99)|
|Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35|