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     A famous motto of Johannes Brahms was "If we cannot compose as beautifully as Mozart and Haydn, let us at least try to compose as purely."   Brahms was born in
Hamburg, the son of a double bass player.  In his early years, Johannes was known for playing in dives and bordellos.  Brahms later acknowledged that this early contact with the opposite sex contributed to his ultimately remaining a lifelong bachelor.  He most admired composers of baroque and classical epochs.  In many respects, Brahms brings the
classical-romantic continuum to an end.  He felt no kinship to "the music of the future", that was the mantle of Wagner and Liszt.  Brahms synthesized the musical language of romanticism with classical forms and Baroque counterpoint.
     In the genre of concerto, Brahms followed the classical ideas of dialogue and equality between soloists and orchestra.  This was opposite to 'romantic' concertos, where virtuoso soloists overwhelmed the orchestra, turning it into banal accompaniment.  In the summer of 1878, while vacationing in Austria, Brahms began a violin concerto for his colleague,
Joachim.  The two men had performed together for decades, and Brahms certainly knew
the impressive extent of the violinist's talent.  Joachim, being a composer himself, was
engaged in editing the violin part of Brahms' concerto for about a year.  Critics called this
composition "a concerto against the violin"; and many violinists, including Sarasate, refused to play it.  The concerto was premiered in 1879.

     Born in Nelahozeves on September 8, 1841, Antonin Dvorak was most certainly the greatest of the Czech composers.  He came from an environment of farmers and minor tradesmen.  His way up was hard - working as a private music teacher, church organist, violinist at a local theatre; and at the same time, he studied composition with Bedrich Smetana.  Government subsidies helped him keep body and soul together and feed his family.  Such was the life of the greatest Czech composer - until he met Johannes Brahms. 
Brahms decided to help Dvorak by introducing him to his publisher, Simrock, who published Dvorak's Slavonic Dances, and made him a celebrity overnight... Sounds like a Hollywood story....  At that time, Dvorak was 37 years old.
    In his compositions, Dvorak is known for fresh, lilting melodies, archaic harmonic modes, strange modulations and his skill at adapting folk tunes.  He composed in almost all genres.  Despite his fascination with opera, he lacked a natural instinct for drama.  The best artistic results were achieved in his instrumental music.

     The history of performing art knows many artists who enjoy great popularity among their
contemporaries, the musicians that made valuable contributions to the development of performance technique.  There are just a few artists whose creative activity brought a new aesthetic horizon in musical culture in general.  David Oistrakh (1908 - 1974) was that kind of musician.  The violinist's unique gift was embodied in his early musical maturity - in the vastness of his repertoire, in the range of thoughts and emotions made tangible through his violin, and in guest tours that lasted for about fifty years.  The 20th century will enter into the history of the violin performing art as the epoch of David Oistrakh.  His traditions go on in the creative activity of his best pupils.
     Upon graduating from the Moscow Conservatory in 1936, Kirill Kondrashin
(1914 - 1981) conducted opera performances in the Moscow and Leningrad theatres, from 1943 - in the USSR Bolshoi Theatre.  Kondrashin systematically conducted the leading
symphony orchestras of the Soviet Union, dedicating his life entirely to concert activity.  A
vast and versatile repertoire, marked by artistic individuality, and richness of musical interpretation brought Kirill Kondrashin wide international acclaim.

2003 Evgeni Kostitsyn

Johannes Brahms
Concerto for violin and orchestra in d major

1. Allegro non troppo                                21:41
2. Adagio                                                  9:15
3. Allegro giocoso ma non troppo vivace   7:40

Antonin Dvorak
Concerto for violin and orchestra in a minor

4. Allegro non troppo                               10:55
5. Adagio ma non troppo                          11:23
6. Finale. Allegro giocoso ma non troppo  9:30

Total Time - 70:49

David Oistrakh, violin
USSR Radio Large Symphony Orchestra
Kirill Kondrashin, conductor

cover painting "Cow and Violin" by Malevich

Recorded in 1951.  Recording was restored in 1990. Recording Engineer - Badeyan

Design by Evgeni Kostitsyn