Tuesday, September 18, 2007

David Oistrakh

I've seen alot of posts on here showing off the music of Russia's most celebrated composer (Tchaikovsky, of course) which is all good and dandy (as I am myself a great fan of good ol' Пётр ). However, Tchaikovsky's music, by and large, was never of an entirely Russian nature, something Russian critics made sure to point out.

When it comes to Tchaikovsky's compositional style and technique, he was more of a cosmopolitan composer, drawing his influence from abroad as well as within his country (and his own genius). However, one of the most "Russian" sounding of his compositions has got to be the Violin Concerto, which is (and by no mere coincidence) one of my favorite compositions.

One of the greatest interpreters of the piece (in my and many other people's opinions) is actually related to me through my violin teacher (Professor Routa Kroumovitch) here at Stetson who was a student (and great friend) of his.
The violinist in question is David Oistrakh, a Jewish-Russian (malrooskee, I think is the term?) musician who is considered to have been one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century.
Born in Odessa (which is now in modern Ukraine), he started playing violin at age 5, playing his first concert at age 6.

The Russians have a very proud violin tradition and Oistrakh is very solidly at the center of it among other such Jewish-Russian musicians as Ilya Kaller, Leonid Kogan, and (most famous of all) Ivan Galamian.
A great friend of both Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich (the two most famous and important of 20th century Russian composers and among the most famous and important of all composers), Oistrakh was the dedicatee of numerous works, including both of Shostakovich's violin concerti and his violin sonata, various sonatas of Prokofiev's, and still more works by other Soviet composers.

You're about to see him play Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, the 3rd movement in what I'm guessing is the Great Hall at Moscow Conservatory (where he taughtfor many years).
Enjoy my teacher's teacher!


Scrufftar said...

Something I didn't notice was that they showed a quick clip of the audience after he was done, and right there with the thick round glasses was Dmitri Shostakovich himself.

Dr. Michael A. Denner said...

Ма́лая Русь/Ма́лая Росси́я/Малоро́ссия are all terms referring to what is now Ukraine. Those terms fell out of use during the 2oth century. Many Ukrainians feel them to be indicative of Russia's imperial pretensions.

There are plenty of ways that Russians refer to Jews... but the only proper way is еврей/ка.