David Oistrakh, Violinist

David Oistrakh and Jascha Heifetz were both fine violinists and their playing was often compared, but they differed greatly in style.

Oistrakh was altogether different from Heifetz not only in style but in personality. He was of medium build, rather paunchy, with a slightly protruding lower lip and thinning black hair. He was a warm man and his playing reflected it. He could play all the “fireworks” too but in the slow movements he was especially noted for his smooth, singing tone and was altogether a great man and a fine musician.

If I were asked which concerto I most admired him play it would have to be the Brahms, for he really plumbed the depths of the music with his warm tone and dignified approach.

David Wise, onetime concertmaster of the London Philharmonic Orchestra told me that he often played duets and chamber music with Oistrakh, and that he had a wonderful, friendly mien.

David Oistrakh’s son, Igor was also a fine violin soloist. I played
with him once, at the Lucerne International Festival, Switzerland, but although he was a good player he wasn’t in the same league as his father.