SHOSTAKOVICH – Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 99 (Century’s recording: David Oistrakh, Evgeny Mravinsky)

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) Violin Concerto Op. 99 by David Oistrakh

Violin: David Oistrakh
Conductor: Evgeny Mravinsky
Recorded in 1956, at Leningrad
New mastering in 2021 by AB for CMRR

In December 1955, during a tour of the United States, Oistrakh performed Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 99 at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos. The press was enthusiastic: “The most beautiful violin concerto heard in New York since the last war” wrote the Times Magazine; “All the aspects of a masterpiece” noted The American Record Guide; “Oistrakh’s mastery is fully revealed in this work” wrote The Richmond Times-Dispatch…

It is because the work is superb and that Oistrakh feels completely at ease. So much so that he will return to it several times, either with Mravinsky or the author at the desk, or with his son, holding the baton for him. Thanks to his free and sure bow, the work – premiered on October 29, 1955 in Leningrad – reaches the purest summits, radiating with life, solar clarity, sovereign in every way. How nobly Oistrakh can sing in the initial Nocturne, exploiting all the registers of the violin and the double-string writing! How “evil, demonic, thorny” he can be – in his own words – in the Scherzo! If the violin part in the Passacaglia appears less prominent, the essential remaining in the dialogue with the orchestra, the solo instrument finds on the other hand all its plenitude starting from the great cadenza which is linked to the final Burlesque, a popular festival of an irresistible spirit, and which seems to be led by this great organizer of pleasures, Oistrakh! Click to activate the English subtitles for the presentation (00:00-02:41)

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