S0787. DAVID OISTRAKH, w.Evgeny Mravinsky Cond. Leningrad Phil.: 'Turkish' Violin Concerto #5 in A, K.219 (Mozart), Live Performance, 21 June, 1956; Violin Concerto #1 in a (Played by the dedicatée) (Shostakovitch), Live Performance, 23 June, 1956 (both Musikverein, Vienna). (Austria) Orfeo C 736 081. Final Sealed Copy! - 4011790736129
"In 1956 the Vienna Festival marked the bicentenary of Mozart’s birth by focusing largely, if not exclusively, on works by Salzburg’s most famous son. Among the leading European orchestras that appeared on this occasion was the Leningrad Philharmonic, which gave two concerts under its principal conductor, Evgeny Mravinsky. But it was the soloist at these two concerts who received even more attention than either Mravinsky himself or his orchestra, for all that the latter was appearing in Vienna for the very first time. Although David Oistrakh had made his Viennese début soon after the end of the Second World War, the concert had passed largely unnoticed. He was now returning to the city as one of the world’s leading virtuosos, and his appearances were followed with particular interest by public and press alike, who were unanimous in their acclaim of him. In his native Soviet Union, Oistrakh had long been one of the most distinguished instrumentalists of his generation not only as a concert violinist but also as a chamber musician. In 1956 his versatility in different periods and different styles aroused both astonishment and admiration on the part of his Viennese audiences. His performance of Mozart’s Violin Concerto in A major K 219 was as authoritative, as brilliant and as perfectly shaped as his playing of Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto in a minor, a work dedicated to him by its composer. In particular, Oistrakh was able to bring out the lyrical melancholy and impulsiveness of Shostakovich’s work, his performance of the piece’s cadenza providing a dazzling transition to the final movement – an exceptionally effective burlesque with which Oistrakh caused a sensation wherever he played it, whether in New York in the work’s first American performance under Dimitri Mitropoulos in 1955 or in London, Paris and Tokyo. Particularly noteworthy about the Vienna performance enshrined in the present release is the fact that it documents the forces involved in the world première in 1955, namely, Oistrakh and the Leningrad Philharmonic under Mravinsky. But what makes this live recording altogether exceptional as a model of authenticity is the ability of both soloist and orchestral players to make music with the insight born of the long experience of performing together."
“From 1961 Yevgeny Mravinsky abandoned the studio as he no longer considered it a guarantee of quality, especially with Melodiya in those days. As a perfectionist he wasn’t prepared to take risks. His other grumble regarded fees. The highest fees were paid to Moscow-based ensembles, whereas Leningrad artists had to settle for less. The conductor’s substantial discography consists mainly of live concert performances.
The Shostakovitch Concerto, a year before this performance, Oistrakh, as the concerto’s dedicatee, premiered it with Mravinsky and the Leningrad orchestra. From then on it became firmly established in his repertoire. The pair performed it together on several occasions, and three of these are listed in the violinist’s discography. One emanates from Vienna with the Leningrad Philharmonic, dated 21 June 1956, and has been released on Orfeo 736 081.”
- Stephen Greenbank, MusicWebInternational
“David Oistrakh is considered the premiere violinist of the mid-twentieth century Soviet Union. His recorded legacy includes nearly the entire standard violin repertory up to and including Prokofiev and Bartók. In 1937 the Soviet government sent him to Brussels to compete in the International Ysaÿe 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