David Oistrakh (violin) Moscow Chamber Orchestra conducted by Rudolf Barshai and Kirill Kondrashin. Catalogue Number: ALC 1454

The late Russian violinist David Oistrakh is accompanied by the Moscow Chamber Orchestra in Mozart’s Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante K364, and in the Violin Concertos No.1 K207 and No.3 K216 in a recent ALTO release.

The lineup of seldom heard artist other than in old recordings provides a rare embarrassment of musical riches and a taste for how Mozart music was played before the ever correct performance practice took over in our lifetime.

Oistrakh’s playing is bold, muscular, unself-consciously Romantic, the sound bright and incisive, the cadenzas unselfconsciously original. The orchestral accompaniments do more than just prop up the soloist, with a string sound that is seldom heard in today’s playing of Mozart.

Oistrakh was one of several artists whom this listener heard in person during a Soviet-sponsored cultural festival that took place in Havana in 1960. The then still young Oistrakh, with Aram Khachaturian leading the Havana Philharmonic played – if memory serves this listener right – a memorable Tchaikovsky violin concerto.

On a personal level it is very moving to hear this artist once again thank to the ever-enterprising ALTO label and be reminded of what a giant he was.

Rafael de Acha © 2022

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