RIP Igor Oistrakh

September 3, 2021, 3:26 AM · Reading of Igor Oistrakh's death and thinking I needed to be reminded of his art I discovered this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcvSYf3tj0Q
Wonderful playing, but whose playing..?

Replies (15)

September 3, 2021, 3:47 AM · Maybe if I switched to a steel A I could sound like him.
September 3, 2021, 5:58 AM · King David and Prince Igor.
September 3, 2021, 8:13 AM · Just beautiful!
September 3, 2021, 8:41 AM · Perhaps the most singular thing that separates a world class legend, like Igor Oistrakh, from us violin hacks, is the astounding bow technique. The effortless running staccato, the multiple, smooth speed changes in a single stroke, the immaculate tone from the frog to the very tip.

How fortunate we are to live during a time where such mastery can be immortalized in video and sound recordings, and Igor Oistrakh can continue to enchant us with his performances well after his passing.

September 3, 2021, 4:15 PM · His recordings with his father of Mozart's various pieces for violin and viola (K.423, 424 and the Sinfonia Concertante) are wonderful and, for me, represent the apex of this repertoire.
Edited: September 3, 2021, 4:38 PM · One of my teachers had once been to Moscow on a fellowship to study with him for a year. According to her, it was some of his insight (remembered and translated) that helped her cure some of my worst bowing flaws. I don't know if it was because of him, but I did win the college's concerto competition that year.
Edited: September 4, 2021, 4:32 AM · If you watch and listen to the end of my youtube link you'll realise you're watching and listening to two different performances, presumably both by Prince Igor?
September 4, 2021, 1:01 PM · I remember a video of him playing the Recitativo and Scherzo. He was incredibly fast on the scherzo part. Very impressive.
September 4, 2021, 2:41 PM · Another terrible loss for the worldwide violin community. Thanks to the incredible world-wide recording industry and its technology, Igor Oistrakh will be remembered as being in the same exalted category as his father - one of a kind.
Edited: September 5, 2021, 7:46 AM · Wait what?
Was he still alive?

To be honest I thought he died long time ago. I don't know why but I thought, I had deep in my mind, that he died along Yehudi Menuhin (1999), Jascha Heifetz (1987), St├ęphane Grappelli (1997)... you know, like 20 years ago or so. I have never seen anything recent about him, any concert, class, article about current life... nothing. That reinforced my belief that I thought he died long time ago. I have listened to some of his work but never looked deep and investigated about him. However the little bits I heard were enough to know he was very, very good.

I'm actually kind of shocked his Wikipedia looks like he was just a professional average violinist. Look at Heifetz or Menuhin pages...

Didn't/don't people put him at the level of top violinists of all time, or am I wrong?

Edited: September 5, 2021, 8:43 AM · My reaction was the same as Paul N's. Maybe we're just rubes, or maybe not, but nowadays there is no shortage of players who can blitz the Scherzo. Probably it was very difficult to emerge from under his father's enormous technical and musical penumbra. Likely having King David for his father was more helpful than not, but I can see it creating kind of a glass ceiling too. When your dad is the best violinist ever, or certainly one of the top ten, that creates an enormous burden of expectation. I sometimes wonder whether the same effect drove Dmitry Sitkovetsky into mostly a conducting career.
Edited: September 5, 2021, 12:24 PM · Oh... I just realized we are talking about Igor, not David Oistrakh (his father). Jesus...

When I read Oistrakh I just assumed it was the famous David Oistrakh, who died in 1974, which is what I had in my mind, correctly. That's why I was so confused when I read he just died. Yeah, Heifetz, Oistrakh, Menuhin... I knew they were kind of the same generation/school/era, and all died before year 2000.

So the thing is I didn't even knew David had a son... never heard of Igor. Then, again, if your father is David Oistrakh, or Heifetz, how are you going to put your name up there if they refer to you as Oistrakh, and that name already means David by default?

It's like being Amadeus Mozart's son. People are gonna call you "Mozart", and that name is already taken so my guess is overtime there will only be one "Mozart", and only those really into classical will know there was another Mozart. Kind of the same with Strauss family, although from the beginning it is very clear there are various Strauss members, unlike Mozart or Bach, or in my opinion, Oistrakh.

September 5, 2021, 1:14 PM · There was more than one other Mozart. Wolfgang's older sister, Maria Anna, was also very talented. When she was young her father took her on the road to perform. But as she got older, she was not allowed to perform in public because she was a female.

Similarly, Ravi Shankar's brilliantly talented wife has been written out of history.

Annapurna Devi was Ravi Shankar's wife. She was, as written in their son's obituary, "a master surbahar (bass sitar) player and daughter of the legendary Indian musician Ustad Allaudin Khan."

Ustad Allaudin Khan was Ravi Shankar's teacher. He also taught his daughter, Annapurna Devi, who became Ravi Shankar's wife. By all accounts, she was a better musician than her husband but few people ever heard her perform because she stayed shut up in her home. On rare occasions she could be persuaded to teach a student who had exceptional talent but mostly she was a hermit who played only for herself.

I learned about her from an old friend who had the honor of meeting her at her home and getting a lesson from her one day.

Apologies for derailing the thread. Didn't mean to take the focus away from the wonderful Mr. Oistrakh.

September 5, 2021, 6:56 PM · Amrita thank you for sharing that background. Very interesting and important that we recognize these things.
September 9, 2021, 6:55 PM · Some time ago, I came across a Deutsche Grammophon 2-CD set of David Oistrakh playing many of the most popular concertos: Bach, Tchaikovsky, etc. He played the Bach double with Igor, so I became aware he had a son.

Speaking of Ravi Shankar, I saw him in concert a while back. He was very old, and needed help coming on stage and getting settled. But when the stagehand put his sitar into his hands, he still made magic. Most of the concert, though, was performed by his daughter Anoushka - who is no slouch on the sitar herself.


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