Bach, J S - Violin Concertos - Oistrakh, David

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Born in 1908 in Odessa, David Oistrakh was one of the most important musicians of the 20th century. With his flawless technique and compelling musicality the violinist set new standards both in the concert hall and in his gramophone recordings. Many of his interpretations have made recording history and even today after over 50 years they have lost nothing of their significance or allure. With Oistrakh’s clear victory in the 1937 Ysaÿe competition in Brussels, and after his first international tours had been such a success, his name had already become legendary in musical circles. The Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War interrupted his international career, however, and as a result Oistrakh was for almost two decades known only by those few Western music lovers with insider knowledge. Until 1949, Soviet cultural officials had prevented Oistrakh from visiting the West on concert tours, only sporadically approving one-off concerts. Oistrakh made his DDR (East German) debut in 1952 with performances in East Berlin, Leipzig and Dresden. David Oistrakh felt himself strongly connected to these musical centres and their top-class orchestras, and returned to play over 50 concerts during the years which were to follow. 1954 finally saw Oistrakh’s long-awaited international breakthrough with performances in London, South America and West Germany. In the same year he played again in the DDR. The renowned Deutsche Grammophon label took this opportunity to sign David Oistrakh for recordings with the Dresden Staatskapelle and Franz Konwitschny, who was held in particularly high esteem by Oistrakh. Although this production was not the star artist’s first recording outside the Soviet Union, given that EMI had in 1953 already recorded Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata in Paris, it was nonetheless a rare opportunity for Oistrakh to sign to the famous yellow label. However, the Soviet authorities soon blocked further recordings with Western labels, and so a production in the DDR with, for example, the young East German label Eterna, seemed for the time being the only avenue for David Oistrakh, who would later work on collaborative recordings with his son. Deutsche Grammophon boss Elsa Schiller had the initiative to cleverly weave the agent Constantin Metaxas (who was production manager at the end of the 40s for Amiga and following his dismissal, and after the foundation of a small record label of his own, soon led the West Berlin branch of Deutsche Grammophon) into a deal with Oistrakh, Eterna and the Soviet leaders. As a “fixer” who travelled with ease between the West and the countries behind the Iron Curtain, Metaxas pulled strings in the background and initiated complex recording deals between the Eastern Block and Western record labels, eventually acting as a free agent as before. The existing recordings of Vivaldi’s Concerto Grosso in A minor op. 3/8 and Bach’s Concerto for two violins in D minor BWV 1043 came into being in April 1957 with equipment provided by Deutsche Grammophon at Leipzig’s Kongresshalle. Since their joint debut in 1947, the Bach Double Concerto was the central work in the joint repertoire of David and Igor Oistrakh, which they performed in numerous concerts before David’s death in 1974. Alongside further joint productions with his son, David Oistrakh also recorded J.S. Bach’s six Violin Sonatas with the harpsichordist Hans Pischner between 1960 and 1966, as well as the Violin Concerto by the DDR composer Ernst-Hermann Meyer (1965), which had been dedicated to him. Although Eterna boss Dieter-Gerhardt Worm did his best to talk David Oistrakh into doing more recordings for the label, during this high point of his international recording career at least, the soloist could not be swayed. With the foreign currency earned from the Deutsche Grammophon deal for recordings with David and Igor Oistrakh, Eterna built an entire studio with the newest Western stereo technology and continued the cooperation between the respective parties with great success. However, the Soviet State label Melodiya saw these coproductions with David and Igor Oistrakh in the following decades as an outrageous affront. Following this, until the reunification of Germany, all Soviet artists were banned from recording in the DDR. All further coproductions with the big Western labels were procured by Melodiya themselves, whilst all such recordings were made available to Eterna and the DDR only for an appropriate fee. Worm reminisces about the joint productions with David and Igor Oistrakh with great pleasure. “David Oistrakh was a very kind and approachable person. You can hear this in his recordings. His playing is so unbelievably accomplished yet nevertheless so humanly accessible. He was seized with the ambition to be at least as good as Menuhin, whose Bachian style he greatly admired. During the recording of the Bach Violin Sonatas in Dresden’s Lukaskirche, he constantly disappeared from the studio with his little tape recorder in order to listen to excerpts of Menuhin’s recording. And yet he had a much better technique, in fact the recordings with Oistrakh moved along very quickly. With him, only a few corrections were required, so we could usually record larger takes or entire movements. Igor Oistrakh, however, was much moodier than his father. Although he is an excellent musician, studio work was more difficult with him and depended on his form on the day. Especially in joint productions, Igor quarrelled with his wife passionately about artistic beliefs.” (Interviews with Dieter-Gerhardt Worm, May 2013 to July 2016)Ringo Gruchenberg (English text: JMB Translations)
Artikelnummer 0300841BC
Streckkod 0885470008417
Utgivningsdatum 2017-02-24
Kategori Klassiskt
Skivbolag Berlin Classics
Enhet CD
Antal enheter 1
Artister Oistrakh, David
Dirigenter Konwitschny, Franz
Kompositörer Bach, J S
Franck, César
Vivaldi, Antonio
Orkestrar Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
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