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Oleg Kagan (1946 - 1990)

Nurtured through his training by key figures of the Soviet system Boris Kuznetsov and David Oistrakh, Oleg Kagan emerged to win several important competitions in his twenties and develop a highly eclectic repertoire. His particular interests—contemporary Russian music, as well as Hindemith, Messiaen and the Berg Violin Concerto—were fortunately all documented on record before his untimely death from cancer aged just forty three. With Leonid Kogan, Tatiana Grindenko, Alfred Schnittke and others he was involved in performances of music deemed ‘un-Soviet’ by the Ministry of Culture, often in remote locations. In more mainstream repertoire Kagan’s collaborations with Sviatoslav Richter and Natalia Gutman were especially well received.

A keen exponent of Mozart, Kagan recorded a rich and thoughtful performance of the K. 378 Sonata in 1974 that also testifies to Richter’s chamber music prowess, accompanying and inter-weaving with Kagan in a consummately sensitive manner. The duo also recorded Brahms’s Op. 78 Sonata eleven years later, but this a less unified performance with a ponderous slow movement.



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