David Oistrakh was a giant among 20th-century musicians, a violinist whose calm, unruffled demeanour belied both his genius as a performer and the particular circumstances of his life and career as a Soviet artist. With the warm, powerful tone that he obtained from the instrument, and the contained virtuosity of his playing he represented a peak of the Russian violin school, and he was an inspiration to numerous contemporary Soviet composers, including Prokofiev and Khachaturian. At his New York début in 1951 he gave the first US performance of Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto, and he played two movements from Prokofiev’s Second Violin Sonata at the composer’s funeral in 1953.
Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Kirill Kondrashin