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Igor Oistrakh (b1931)

It is sometimes said that Igor Oistrakh’s playing is weaker than his father’s and his artistic approach more objective. Conversely there were sometimes disagreements when Igor was soloist under David’s baton, Igor seeking a more emotive approach than his father. Whatever the differences, their twenty-seven years of collaboration produced some fascinating and compelling performances.

Oistrakh speaks of his determined haste, after a lazy start to his studies, to catch up with his fellow students at the Moscow Conservatory in a culture that prized precociousness. This he holds to be an advantage ultimately, giving him a formidable grasp of technique.

Perhaps because of his father’s connections Igor was able to work closely with the foremost senior Soviet composers such as Kabalevsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich. He considers the recording process both a boon and a nuisance, but aims to ‘recreate enthusiasm and freshness, artificially’. Indeed, he has been a prolific recording artist in a career that also encompasses teaching and judging prestigious competitions.

On record and on film he is a cool, disciplined artist. Comparison with his father is not always totally favourable for Igor—in a 1957 Bach Double Concerto, for example, he sounds appreciably the more distant, with a leaner tone and less compelling contact with the string. Their 1972 Mozart Sinfonia concertante, however, in which David plays the viola and directs, is evenly weighted with power and delicacy in equal measure.



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