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Pauline Lerner

David Oistrakh and the Flu

November 18, 2008 at 8:59 AM

The flu is strictly mine. David Oistrakh is beyond that. I’ve got the flu. Last night I felt absolutely awful. I couldn’t even name my symptoms. I just felt awful all over. I decided to do something unusual to relax. I spread out my favorite warm, soft blanket on the sofa, picked up some light reading (“The Haunted Mesa” by Louis L’Amour), and one of my music DVDs, which I seldom watch. I chose David Oistrakh, EMI Classics, which has been discontinued by the manufacturer, so I’m lucky to have it. My plan was to read while listening to music. I thought that I didn’t need to watch the DVD, just listen to it. I certainly was wrong.

The DVD has seven pieces, and I decided to start with the Sibelius Concerto. This piece of music is a new found love for me, and I have listened to recordings of it by both Hilary Hahn and Joshua Bell over and over. The excitement begins with the very first note the violin plays. It reminds me of a thin wire stretched until it is absolutely taut. Oistrakh’s playing fit this description in part, but it had an extra richness not present in the other two recordings. Once I heard this note, I seem to be connected to the performance by a taut wire. Oistrakh’s playing of this concerto was unlike any I had heard before. It was exciting. It held me spellbound to every note. I violated my own intention and watched it closely, too. The first movement alone traversed a wide range of emotions. I looked at the program notes and saw “Allegro moderato – Molto moderato e tranquillo – Allegro molto – Moderato assai – Allegro moderato,” all for the first movement. The second movement took me by surprise. It was so beautifully sweet. I had not heard it played this way before. I had to stop the DVD, go back and listen to the second movement again. The third movement made a distinct impression on me for a completely different reason: the orchestral part. It was strongly rhythmic, almost bouncing, but retaining the taut quality of the piece. Wow! I felt like I had heard a completely new piece of music. I went back to the beginning and listened to the whole piece all over again. This time I watched Oistrakh more carefully. His long, straight bow strokes and the quality of his vibrato, especially in the higher positions, were striking.

After listening to the Sibelius Concerto twice, I looked out the window. The sky was getting light in the east. I thought that I should really get some sleep, but my discomfort had gotten stronger. Reluctantly, I took some medication. Then I settled down on the sofa, wrapped in my blanket, and set the DVD to the Tchaikovsky Concerto. My painkiller started working quickly, and I drifted off to sleep almost immediately. I never got to watch the Tchaikovsky Concerto or the other pieces on the DVD. I will watch that DVD soon. I won’t wait for the flu to push me into it again.

From Paul G.
Posted via on November 18, 2008 at 1:12 PM

Get well soon!
And to see some of Oistrakh's amazing playing, search for "clair de lune- violin" on youtube and watch the version of david Oistrakh. It's simply amaziing and I find it to be the best rendition I've ever heard. Even over the piano and orchestra versions.

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted via on November 18, 2008 at 8:48 PM

I agree!  Oistrakh's sound is wonderful and efficient when you are sick or not top shape.  You recover imidiately in order to listen more or to get up and practice yourself!!!  Truly an artist like not many exists...


From Ray Randall
Posted via on November 18, 2008 at 9:52 PM

That should make the flu fly.

From Drew Lecher
Posted via on November 19, 2008 at 4:40 AM

 So well written…

Get well soon:-)

From Pauline Lerner
Posted via on November 19, 2008 at 6:17 AM

Thank you all for your get well wishes.  Drew, thanks for your praise of my writing.  Paul G, I found three recordings of David Oistrakh playing Clair de Lune on youtube.  (They may be duplicates or triplicates.)  They are so beautiful.  They just melted me down into a state of deep relaxation.  David Oistrakh is a miracle wroker.  His style is distinctly his own.  It is much richer than contemporary violinists.  I love to listen to his recordings.

From Jim Glasson
Posted via on November 19, 2008 at 12:19 PM

There is nothing worse than the flu or feeling that under the weather in general.

Feel better soon!

From carlos majlis
Posted via on November 19, 2008 at 2:07 PM

Agree,Pauline. I'm a big fan of King David. Have nearly 90 CDs by him, including rare recordings of guys like Taktakishvilii, Medtner,Vladiguerov, Rakov or Gliere. He has a relaxing effect on listeners. The only other one that I can think of with a similar quality was Kreisler. If you are nervous,angry or sad, listen to Kreisler playing any short piece and wou'll feel calm and in peace.

From Pauline Lerner
Posted via on November 19, 2008 at 2:31 PM

Carlos, I don't understand what you mean.  You say that you have 90 CDs by King David, including some with relatively unknown violinists.  Do the recordings have both Oistrakh and another violinist(s)on them?  90 CDs!  That must be an awesome collection.

From carlos majlis
Posted via on November 19, 2008 at 2:52 PM

No No, no violinists; composers. All the named were composers. And you shouldn't be surprised for the number of recordings I've. He recorded a lot for more than 30 years, since 1939. Go to "" and you'll see two partial list of his recordings.

From Pauline Lerner
Posted via on November 19, 2008 at 3:14 PM

I just checked  They have the DVD I wrote about in stock., although says that they are no longer available.  They also have a myriad of David Oistrakh's CDs and DVDs.  Most of the CDs cost less than $10!  They also have a series of CDs called Legendary Treasures -- David Oistrakh.  Do you have some of the latter, Carlos?  I will check the site you recommended.

From carlos majlis
Posted via on November 19, 2008 at 4:56 PM

Well, I've 7 of the 11 published by Doremi. The sound on some is bad, but the works and the playing are slendid, and they hadn't be published on other labels. Higly recommended

From Pauline Lerner
Posted via on November 19, 2008 at 5:53 PM

Thanks, Carlos.  I'll check into them.

From Paul G.
Posted via on November 19, 2008 at 11:32 PM

That is the link for anyone interested in seeing the beautiful piece Clair de Lune played by a true master. I don't think there is anyone else who has ever challenged the beauty David Oistrakh played the piece as.

From Pauline Lerner
Posted via on November 20, 2008 at 8:02 AM

Thanks for all your get well wishes, everyone.

Paul G, I just listened to that clip on youtube (Oistrakh playing Clair de Lune).  I agree with you.  No one else can play it so well.  As soon as he started playing, I could fell the stress begin to flow out of my body.  He is incredible.

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