One of the most grown-up review sites around

52,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free

we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

absolutely thrilling

immediacy and spontaneity

Schumann Lieder

24 Preludes
one of the finest piano discs

‘Box of Delights.’

J S Bach A New Angle
Organ fans form an orderly queue

a most welcome issue

I enjoyed it tremendously

the finest traditions of the house

music for theorbo
old and new

John Luther Adams
Become Desert
concealing a terrifying message

ground-breaking, winning release

screams quality

Surprise of the month

English Coronation, 1902-1953
magnificent achievement

Plain text for smartphones & printers

We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35 [35:16]
Sérénade Mélancolique in B flat minor, op.26 [9:57]
Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936)
Violin Concerto in A minor Op. 82 [21:07]
David Oistrakh (violin)
USSR Symphony Orchestra/Kirill Kondrashin
rec. 1945-57, locations not specified
MELODIYA MELCD1002261 [66:24]

The catalogue is awash with David Oistrakh performances of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. The violinist recorded it in the studio on six occasions and the discography is generously supplemented with countless live airings. More than any other work in his repertoire, this perennial war-horse became his calling card. As I haven’t found any striking interpretive divergence between the many readings I’ve heard, what determines my preference for one particular performance over another is usually quality of sound.

Oistrakh’s Op. 35 is compelling and of tremendous stature. Listening to his account, one can only marvel at his flawless technique. With Heifetz there’s more forward momentum, in the sense of faster tempi, and the constant feeling of him forging ahead. The overall impression is of icy detachment. Oistrakh opts for broader speeds, and the approach is more relaxed. He luxuriates in the music, savouring the moment, yet never sentimentalising it. Whilst Tchaikovsky demands of the player virtuosity of the highest order, there are many lyrical moments, and these are eloquently realised in this recording. The tone he coaxes from the fiddle is rich, voluptuous and rounded.

The sound quality in the Concerto is first rate, and the balance between soloist and orchestra ideal. The same cannot be said for the 1945 recording of the composer’s Sérénade Mélancolique, again with the same forces and Kirill Kondrashin. Here the aural image is sonically compromised, with the orchestra dimly ensconced in the background. The woodwinds are insipid and lustreless and, at times, astringent. Despite the forwardly projected sinewy violin timbre, Oistrakh’s performance is invested with a true Russian flavour, and informed with sincerity and humanity.

Once again, I couldn’t help comparing Oistrakh’s Glazunov with that of Heifetz. I felt that the latter’s recording has more of a sense of structure, with Oistrakh’s performance tending to meander and conveying less sense of direction. The recording is, however, in very decent shape for 1948.

Overall, what we have here is a very mixed bag, in terms of quality. Yet, the Tchaikovsky Concerto alone should make this a worthwhile purchase.

Stephen Greenbank