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Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
David Oistrakh Collection, Volume 6
Piano Trio  in A minor, Op. 50a (1881/2) [46'12]; Souvenir d'un lieu cher, Op. 42 (1878) – No. 1, Méditation in D minorb [9'24]; Valse-Scherzo, Op. 34b (1877) [5'20]; Sérénade mélancholique in B minor, Op. 26c (1875) [10'00].
David Oistrakh (violin)
aSviatoslav Knushevitsky (cello); aLev Oborin, bVladimir Yampolsky (pianos)
cUSSR State Symphony Orchestra/Kyril Kondrashin.
From Melodiya aD15696/707, bD393/4, cD12982/5
rec. aMarch 1st & 4th, 1948, b1948, c1945. ADD


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A joy to encounter performances of such character as these. The meeting of Oistrakh, Knushevitsky and Oborin results in a Tchaikovsky Trio that effectively wipes out all current competition. Most recently, Berezovsky, Makhtin and Kniazev on DVD provided a youthful and powerful reading (Naïve DR2115); but there is, throughout the Doremi experience, a feeling of encountering the real thing.

The recording hails from Russia in 1948, and is fine for that period. The transfer is very good, courtesy of Jacob Harnoy. Interpretatively, there is an intimacy here that far eclipses the Berezovsky version. There is a huge amount of delicacy, real understanding of the genre and, perhaps most of all, an intensity that enables us to revel in the composer's more far-flung explorations; especially impressive are the darker sides to this composer, around 11'.

The superb, beautiful simplicity of Oborin's beginning to the second movement enables us to embark on a huge journey. The string phrasing, when the other two instrumentalists enter, is as near-miraculous as it is natural; and just listen to how Oborin avoids any sense of a twee music-box around 4'50. This is a reading that is full of life, drama and event, the doom-laden ending particularly touching.

A shame, then, that the next piece (the Méditation) comes in so quickly thereafter. The pianist is Vladimir Yampolsky, here completely outclassed by Oistrakh - the performance just rises up so many leagues on the violinist's entrance. It acquires a fair amount of intensity and note Oistrakh's spot-on attack up high. The Waltz-Scherzo - again with Yampolsky - is playful, but it is the depth of Oistrakh's tone that sticks in the memory as well as his astonishing, swaggering stopping!

Finally, Kondrashin - a worthy partner to the great Oistrakh - accompanies in a yielding, yet rather dark manner. There are also moments of real tenderness here. Some pitch flutter around 8'50 may be off-putting, but not so much as to take away a recommendation.

A fascinating release from a company whose catalogue is of major historic importance. Booklet notes are skimpy, but that aside this is a CD that should be acquired.

Colin Clarke

see also Review by Jonathan Woolf






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