Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Violin Concerto (1878) [40.46]
Violin Sonata No. 3 (1888) [24.09]
David Oistrakh (violin)
Cleveland Orchestra/George Szell
Vladimir Yampolsky (piano)
rec. 13, 16 May 1969 Severance Hall, Cleveland, stereo (concerto); 19 May 1955, Salle Colonialle, Brussels, mono (sonata) ADD
Great Recordings of the Century series
EMI CLASSICS 7243 5 67973 2 1 [65.05]


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Only a few things to say about this entirely apt, not to say indispensable, addition to the GROC series. The concerto is well known to long-standing collectors and can without hesitation be selected the sole version in your library if you need to ration yourself. The tonal range of David Oistrakh (30 September 1908 - 23 October 1974) is wide indeed and splendid in its radiance, accentuated virtuosity and glowering power. He conspires with Szell in a performance about which not once do you have cause to feel that this is in sleep-mode. The performance is of astounding orchestral unanimity (listen to the end of the first movement) as you would expect from the ferocious Szell. Ferocity, yes, but listen also to the plaintive vulnerable oboe at the start of the slow movement. Be reassured that Szell could cozen poetry from his furnace-drilled orchestra when required.

Vladimir (Volodya) Yampolsky (1905-1965) accompanies Oistrakh in the Brahms Op. 108 sonata. Yampolsky worked with Oistrakh from 1946 until 1961. If you know the name Yampolsky it is probably because his son Victor, the conductor, has made several recordings for Naxos. Oistrakh scales everything down for the sonata which proceeds briskly and temperately by comparison with the furies that grip the Oistrakh version on the Concerto.

Oistrakh was born David Kolker in Odessa and took the name 'Oistrakh' from his musician stepfather. In the 1930s he made his debuts outside the USSR - Budapest, Vienna and Prague. The war and political conditions restricted his and our chances to hear him but the early 1950s liberated him to travel to the USA and UK. His reputation preceded him as did that of Rostropovich and to a lesser extent Daniil Shafran. Soon he was making many recordings both sides of what was, in those days, known as the 'Iron Curtain'.

Rewarding, freshly produced notes by Tully Potter in which he has taken real trouble to make this a true marriage of information on Oistrakh and Brahms.

This is Oistrakh in full flow and caught in the splendour of his long-sustained high noon.

Rob Barnett

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