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Greatest Violinist?

Someone who has given me very valuable feedback on my site once mentioned how David Oistrakh, in his opinion, was the greatest violinist. Here are a few works by him.

Brahms – Sonata for violin and piano no. 3 in D minor / Adagio


How playful Beethoven can be!

Beethoven-Serenade For Flute, VIolin And Alto In D Major-I-entrata-Allegro


Debussy – Prelude ‘la Fille Aux Cheveux

Bach Violin You like solo violin?

You like solo violin?

Someone writing a review for an album on Amazon wrote:

The Bach solo string music is, of course, one of the landmarks of classical music. These are some of the greatest pieces of music ever written. They are the musical equivalent of the plays of Shakespeare.

Well … personally I’d have to say I’m not crazy about it (solo violin).  I Much prefer the addition of  piano which I feel softens what can sometimes be a grating intensity.

These few selections would have to be up there with the best of the best because afterall it is Bach,  and its Hillary Hahn playing; whom “they”  rave about!

From Bach’s violin partitas #2 and #3

08 Partita No. 2 in d, BWV 1004 – I. Allemande


09 II. Courante


Partita #3

06 VI. Bourree


15 III. Largo

Bach Great Composers pay tribute to other "Greats" Piano Rachmaninoff Violin

Rachmaninoff does Bach!

Here’s another example of how interesting it is when a composer does ‘transcriptions’ of another’s work. (*for more, see the Post titled, “Great Composers pay tribute to other Greats”)

Here are 3 movements from Bach’s Partita #3 for solo violin in E major – transcribed by Rachmaninoff for piano.

First the original violin followed by piano.  (*after the music read a more in depth analysis of Rachmaninoff’s effort)

Nobuko Imai_08_Partita No. 3, BWV 1006 I. Preludio


Idil Biret_06_01_J. S. BACH Prelude, Gavotte and Gigue Prelude


Nobuko Imai_10_Partita No. 3, BWV 1006 III. Gavotte en Rondeau


Idil Biret_06_02_J. S. BACH Prelude, Gavotte and Gigue Gavotte


Nobuko Imai_13_Partita No. 3, BWV 1006 VI. Gigue


Idil Biret_06_03_J. S. BACH Prelude, Gavotte and Gigue Gigue


With a few exceptions, Rachmaninov was generally quite faithful to the source music of his transcriptions. In this Bach effort, however, he added contrapuntal parts and harmonies because the original was written for solo violin. Yet the music has a mostly Bachian flavor and some have surmised that Bach himself would have made very similar modifications had he fashioned a keyboard version. That said, there are more than a few snippets of Rachmaninov’s voice in this effort, especially in the opening prelude where there are echoes in the contrapuntal writing of some of the Etudes-Tableaux and the first movement of a work to come in 1940, the Symphonic Dances. The prelude is lively and light, busy with typical joyous Bachian contrapuntal activity. The ensuing Gavotte is even lighter and playful — gracefully dainty, actually — just the kind of music not expected for Rachmaninov to have a hand in. The closing Gigue is also light, but Rachmaninov gives it a little muscle in his bass harmonies. He also makes it quite a colorful affair, all of its nearly two minutes brimming with an infectious joy.

Better Brahms! Brahms Violin

“Better Brahms”

I was satisfied with the first version of this piece. (Brahms violin concerto in D major/allegro giocoso) It moved me – until I received this comment from someone who “knows”!

Taneyev commented: I think that the violinist nor the conductor understand what “allegro giocoso” means. The tempo is too slow and to me, boring.

All that time I was listening to, and satisfied with, a rendition that is slow and boring. It was a great lesson in carefully picking the right soloist, orchestra and conductor. So I searched until I found what this piece probably should sound like. The second version (03_) is violinist David Oistrakh with the USSR Radio Large Symphony Orchestra. What a difference! NOTE: This crummy version originally appeared in a post titled, “My Mommy’s Favourite” which I’ve since deleted … because it wasn’t actually her favourite piece of music! See the Post: “Correction to my Mommy’s Favourite”

Brahms violin concerto in D major / allegro giocoso


03_Third Movement Allegro giocoso ma non troppo vivace