King David in the King of Concertos, the King of Brahms.
Between the violinist and the conductor, a close friendship had developed over the years. Gennadi Rozhdestvensky had directed David Oistrakh many times, and he had wonderful memories of the moments spent with "King David."
It was love at first sight for David, the child, when he saw his first violin, a toy his father gave him when he was three. The little prince was born in Odessa in 1908 and started to work on the violin with Piotr Stoliarski, who also taught Nathan Milstein and later Oistrakh's own son Igor. In 1937 he won the First Prize at the Eugène Ysaÿe Competition in Belgium.
Then begins a splendid career which was confined to the USSR for a long time. He was a hostage to the regime and was authorized to travel abroad only after the death of Stalin. Oistrakh, like his friend Shostakovich, will remain his entire life in Russia. Yet the rumor of his genius stretches beyond the borders and he becomes a legend in the West.
We see him filmed in the sixties at the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow three times, accompanied by Rozhdestvensky. To start, a Major work from the repertoire, the Brahms Violin Concerto in which he is able to deploy all the facets of his playing style which reconciles the irreconcilable: Dionysian and Apollonian, firmly rooted in the ground and as light as air, virtuoso without exhibition…
A few months later, in the same concert hall, Oistrakh joins Rozhdestvensky to record the Sibelius concerto with the Radio-Symphonic Orchestra of the capital. As an encore, Oïstrakh, instead of performing the usual virtuoso piece, plays with the whole orchestra the Romance in G Major, op. 40 by Beethoven of which he expresses the infinite poetry.
Lastly, a surprise, Rozhdestvensky's birthday gift for the sixtieth birthday of his friend Oistrakh: an orchestration especially made for him of the Twenty-Third Caprice from the Opus No. 3 by Locatelli with the mysterious title of, Il Labirinto armonico. Grace.
Edinburgh Festival 1964