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Victor Pikaizen

Son of a Kiev Opera violinist who gave him his first lessons, Victor Pikaizen performed the (Pyotr) Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in Moscow at the age of thirteen in front of none other than David Oistrakh who immediately took him as a pupil, teaching him for fourteen years. Being a protégé of this illustrious figure must have brought advantages in carving a successful career, but Pikaizen became known in his own right as an eminent performer of the solo works of Bach, Paganini and Ysaÿe, being one of relatively few to play all twenty-four Paganini Caprices in concert (around seventy times, in fact).

Comparison between Pikaizen and his beloved teacher is inevitable and in this Pikaizen fares well. His playing is clearly modelled on Oistrakh’s, with commanding directness and fiery intent offset by great depth of tone. In some respects he is even Oistrakh’s superior, as in a very fine 1969 recording of the Mendelssohn E minor Violin Concerto which is lighter and more humorous in the finale than Oistrakh’s 1955 recording. In the Paganini Caprices Pikaizen is one of the few who can combine the agility needed to play these supremely difficult and intricate works with a tonal richness and musical consideration that elevates them beyond mere virtuosity. The first movement of Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1 (recorded in the 1950s), as revised heavily by Wilhelmj, is equally committed.




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