Soundpost: Letters to the Editor November 2021


A selection of letters The Strad receives each month from its readers around the world: November 2021 issue


The recent death of Igor Oistrakh (Obituaries, October 2021) prompted a reminiscence. I lived in Berlin during the 1970s and 80s, when I saw both David and Igor Oistrakh at the Philharmonie, in several recitals and concerts. The Berlin audiences absolutely loved David; the applause was always fanatical. The applause for Igor was polite – certainly not at the same level as his father’s.

A few years after David died, I saw another recital at the Philharmonie where Igor was accompanied by his amazing pianist wife, Natalia Zertsalova. She never used a page turner! The programme for that recital was somewhat heavy and leaden for my taste, and perhaps also for that of the audience. After the final selection, the audience applauded politely and Igor played an encore, again to polite applause. After he exited the stage, the applause waned quickly, but Igor didn’t waste any time backstage, and came out again for a second encore. He played The Last Rose of Summer by Ernst, and the audience went nuts! The applause lasted for about ten minutes. It was as if Igor were telling the audience not to underestimate him.

I went to one more recital of Igor’s in Berlin before returning home to the States. That recital was almost sold out, and the applause was no longer merely polite; it was fanatical, just as it had been for his father.


Millersville, MD, US

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