The David Oistrakh Cycle (I/III)

A portrait in 3 episodes

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David Oistrakh — Violinist

Frida Bauer — Pianist

Berlin Radio Orchestra

Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra

Hermann Abendroth — Conductor

Gennady Rozhdestvensky — Conductor

Program notes

The great director, violinist, and writer Bruno Monsaingeon—whose incredible documentaries you can discover on—takes an admiring look back on one of the most significant violinists of the 20th century, David Oistrakh, through priceless archival footage from Soviet television, painstakingly rediscovered and restored. The career of the virtuoso, born in Odessa in 1908, is inextricable from the tumultuous political climate of his time, marked by the October Revolution; it wasn't until his victory in the first Queen Elisabeth Competition (then named for Eugène Ysaÿe) in 1937, not long before his 30th birthday, that he won renown on a global scale, becoming "a paragon of patience and stubbornness."

An excerpt from Beethoven's Violin Concerto, recorded during a 1952 concert with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra under Hermann Abendroth, opens the first chapter of this documentary. "But don't worry," Bruno Monsaingeon assures us—following this first taste of Oistrakh's genius, we will be treated to complete works of music. Here for your viewing and listening pleasure: Brahms's Violin Concerto with Oistrakh and the Moscow Philharmonic under Gennady Rozhdestvensky, as well as Schubert's Valse-Caprice No. 6 alongside pianist Frida Bauer, arranged for violin and piano by Oistrakh himself.

A closer look: featured composers

Further listening: featured works

More info