S0726. DAVID OISTRAKH, w. Skrowaczewski Cond. Minnesota Orch.: Violin Concerto #1 in D (Beethoven), Live Performance, 3 Dec.., 1965; w. Mehta Cond. Los Angeles Phil.: Violin Concerto #1 in D (Prokofiev), Live Performance, 12 March, 1970. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-721. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"David Oistrakh is considered the premiere violinist of the mid-twentieth century from the Soviet Union. His recorded legacy includes nearly the entire standard violin repertory up to and including Prokofiev and Bartok. In 1937 the Soviet government sent him to Brussels to compete in the International Ysaye Competition, where he took home first prize. With his victory in Brussels, Soviet composers began to take notice of their young compatriot, enabling Oistrakh to work closely with Miaskovsky and Khachaturian on their concerti in 1939 and 1940, respectively. In addition, his close friendship with Shostakovich led the composer to write two concerti for the instrument (the first of which Oistrakh played at his, and its, triumphant American premiere in 1955). During the 1940s Oistrakh's active performing schedule took him across the Soviet Union but his international career had to wait until the 1950s, when the political climate had cooled enough for Soviet artists to be welcomed in the capitals of the West.
Throughout his career David Oistrakh was known for his honest, warm personality; he developed close friendships with many of the leading musicians of the day. His violin technique was virtually flawless, though he never allowed purely physical matters to dominate his musical performances. He always demanded of himself (and his students) that musical proficiency, intelligence, and emotion be in balance, regardless of the particular style. Oistrakh felt that a violinist's essence was communicated through clever and subtle use of the bow, and not through overly expressive use of vibrato. To this end he developed a remarkably relaxed, flexible right arm technique, capable of producing the most delicate expressive nuances, but equally capable of generating great volume and projection."
- Blair Johnston, allmusic..com
"Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, a conductor who defected from his native Poland in 1960 to take charge of the Minnesota Orchestra for the next 19 years, led orchestras in Europe and Asia after he stepped down from the Minnesota Orchestra, but he returned to it annually as its conductor laureate. He conducted what turned out to be his final concerts there in October, 2016, choosing Anton Bruckner’s majestic and intense Eighth Symphony. Bruckner’s music had transfixed him since he was a boy.
Throughout his career, Mr. Skrowaczewski balanced conducting and composing, twin passions that came to him early. Mr. Skrowaczewski often recalled, rhapsodically, that as a boy he would sit beneath the piano at home and imagine that he was hearing an organ play."
- Richard Sandomir, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 26 Feb., 2017
“Conductor Zubin Mehta, son of Mehli Mehta, a violinist who was the founder and conductor of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra, was born in Bombay on April 29, 1936. At the age of 18, after considering a career in medicine, Zubin entered the Vienna Academy of Music, learned to play the double bass in order to join the Academy's orchestra, and took conducting lessons from Hans Swarowsky. He graduated from the Academy in 1957 and made his professional debut in Vienna, guest conducting the Tonkünstler Orchestra. A victory in the first international conductors' competition organized by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra led to a one-year appointment as their assistant conductor. After completing his year-long tenure, Mehta was engaged to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and made another important and successful guest conducting position with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Guest appearances with the Montréal and Los Angeles symphonies both led to permanent positions; in 1960 he became music director in Montréal and associate conductor in Los Angeles. Thus Mehta became one of the first of a new breed of conductors sometimes called the ‘jet set’, who are able to maintain two (or even more) principal conductorships of major orchestras by means of frequently flying between the cities involved.
Mehta's accomplishments in Los Angeles, where he became musical director in 1962, were particularly striking. In just a few years he was able to turn the lackluster ensemble into one of the nation's finest orchestras, and, still under 30 years of age when he was appointed, he became the youngest music director of any ‘major’ U.S. orchestra. An exuberant, extroverted performer and person, he possessed a genuine star quality; soon, he conducted the Orchestra on a notable series of excellent recordings for London (Decca) Records. Mehta made his operatic debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York on December 29, 1965, and in 1967 he resigned his position in Montréal, and forged a new relationship with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, eventually becoming its chief music adviser in 1970.
In 1978 he resigned his Los Angeles post to succeed Pierre Boulez as music director of the New York Philharmonic. After the rather ascetic, ultra-modern Boulez, Mehta's interest in lush Romanticism, and a more traditional repertoire made for a favorable impression, and a long and successful relationship with the Orchestra. However, by the time of his resignation in 1991, a little of the bloom had faded from his relationship with the critics, some of whom seemed to be put off by the more ‘Hollywood’ aspects of his style and personality.
Between 1998 and 2006, Mehta was music director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. He made several tours and kept up a busy schedule of guest conducting appearances. He has continued to serve as Music Director for Life of the Israel Philharmonic.”
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com
“Although Mehta never had difficulty pleasing the casual concertgoer, he did not always make a minority of hard-core aficionados ecstatic. They recognized his penchant for the superficial effect, his willingness to cheapen a subtle impulse, his tendency to exaggerate, his weakness (or is it strength?) for bombast and disinclination for subtle introspection.”
- Martin Bernheimer, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 2 Oct, 2019