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09-08-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,544
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 1
Post ID: 5264
Reply to: 5264
Oistrakh(s) on Monitor MC 2009 (1957)
David O. and his son, Igor, open with JS Bach's Concierto in D minor for 2 violins and orchestra, with violinist Rudolf Barshai doing a bang-up job conducting  "the orchestra".  Of course the Oistrakhs are wonderful, but the "orchestra" is also beautifully voiced for a change of pace where Bach is concerned, and the whole manages to be greater than the sum of the parts without taking anything away from the soloists.

Next, father, son and David's old friend, accompanist Vladimir Yampolsky, add some uncharacteristic Russian schmaltz - but only a little tiny bit - to Sarasate's "Navarra", with delightful results.

The disc also includes another great secular piece by JS Bach, the Sonata #6 in G Major for violin and piano, with Yampolsky accompanying.  Naturally, it's terrific.

To close, David and Vladimir shift gears to play Hindemith's Sonata in E Flat Major for violin and piano.  How many times have you heard Hindemith ruined by either no sense of the whole or anticipation, where the isolated tones are not allowed to develop?  Well, here is Hindemith at his best, IMO, as good as any of Hindemith's own stints as a conductor.

OK, I am a sucker for David Oistrakh, but I am not kidding when I say this is a nice LP, indeed.  It even has good (mono)recording and good vinyl.

You hardly drop the needle before the side is over.

If anyone knows which "orchestra" this is, I would sure like to know.  Sometimes it seems like any rag-tag group of  Russian commies could just sit down and make music that put the "free world" to shame.

Paul S
09-09-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat

Boston, MA
Posts 10,043
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 5266
Reply to: 5264
The Bach's Double Concerto
I know that performance of Bach's Double Concerto by Oistrakhs. It was with Moscow Chamber Orchestra. It is a very good band and BTW some of their even later recordings are very good as well. I am not a huge fun of the Oistrakhs performance generally. I do not remember why already… it was for while… If you wish, you might look for my favorite rendition of the piece – the Heifetz/Friedman play with New Symphony Orchestra of London lead by Malcolm Sargent. It was recorded in 1956 and was dubbed in mono and stereo – I like the stereo version much better. Stay away for the Heifetz’s own recording of the Double Concerto, right after the War, when he played both of the lead violins…

Rgs, Romy the Cat

"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
09-09-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,544
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 3
Post ID: 5268
Reply to: 5266
Compared to Perlman/Stern/Mehta/NYP
I will certainly look for the Heifetz you mention, Romy.  I gave away the later "vanity" issue!

Digging through my still largely un-racked LPs I did find another Bach "Double Violin" with Perlman and Stern "under" Mehta, with the New York Philharmonic.  I have the 1983 "Dolby" re-mastered stereo, which is actually good enough to where that is not the issue.  Just the usual artifically large "stage spread" (who can resist; after all, it's STEREO?!?)

Here, Mehta extends every professional courtesy to his stars while at the same time making sure this is his piece.

Meta has the short strings swirling around with the fugues and rondos, with the longs strings assigned to plunk along with the most infernal harpsichord.  The result is somehow liturgical despite the distinctly secular nature (to me, at least)of the piece.

I am being flip here, because the playing is actually good, I suppose, and I would not really rate the overall performance "bad", by any means.

But I just can't abide that high-pitched voicing for Bach, which seemed to sweep over us in the 60s, only to be replaced by Hogwood, etc., in the 80's, and I can't stand the measures just pounded out on the pumped-up harpsichord.

Another time I might take more kindly to this performance, but this morning I put the Oistrakh (above) on right after just to calm my nerves.

I am reminded to say that other things being equal I would opt for stereo every time, "stage spread" notwithstanding!

Best regards,
Paul S
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