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Boris Goldstein (1922 - 1987)

Boris Goldstein was one of the extraordinary musicians to emerge from Odessa where he learnt with Stolyarsky, a teacher responsible for the initial training of a bewildering number of great Soviet violinists. In 1934 he was singled out by Heifetz as a legitimate young talent—the only Soviet student at the time to pass Heifetz’s stringent tests. He rose to further prominence at the first Ysaÿe Competition, where David Oistrakh took first prize. Always somewhat in Oistrakh’s shadow, Goldstein was left isolated by the politics of the USSR, unable to take his place on the world’s stage.

He made around forty recordings on the Russian Melodiya label, spanning the usual sonatas and concertos in the Western canon as well as contemporary Soviet compositions, but most of these are now unobtainable. A military tour in 1943 forced him to miss the conservatory’s examination in the history of the Communist Party, resulting in his expulsion from the conservatory and years of official scrutiny. In 1953 the new rector of the conservatory finally allowed him to graduate, but Goldstein’s career was still carefully contained: he made only two foreign tours in the 1950s, and a recording prohibition, covertly enforced in 1950, was only in 1961 revoked with Shostakovich’s intervention.




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