New online: The Heifetz-tinted Oistrakh documentary

New online: The Heifetz-tinted Oistrakh documentary


norman lebrecht

April 17, 2021

It’s narrated by the Heifetz loyalist Erick Friedman, adding a certain tension.




  • Guest1 says:

    InFLUENced 🙂

  • Donna Pasquale says:

    Infleunced? Nice one

  • Greg Bottini says:

    “the Heifetz loyalist Erick Friedman”….
    I myself am a Heifetz loyalist, an Oistrakh loyalist, AND a Friedman loyalist! I am also a Kreisler loyalist! And a Milstein loyalist!

  • Bill says:

    “Heifetz-infleunced”? Was that when Heifetz gave Oistrakh the fleu?

  • Alexander T says:


  • NYMike says:

    I found no “tension” in Erik’s narration – simply a delineation of the branches of Auer’s pedagogical offspring. Oistrakh’s rendition of the Tchaikovsky Concerto (Auer edition) was gratifying to hear especially since everyone today plays the original without Auer’s cuts and octave higher lines in some parts.

  • Jed says:

    Oistrakh was Gene Kelly to Heifetz’s Fred Astaire.

  • esfir ross says:

    D. Oistrach was head of violin jury at 3rd Tchaikovsky competition. Eric Friedman was the best but got 6th prize. D.Oistrach pupils were winners. J. Heifetz was against EF going to Moscow competition and their relations strained. I was sitting next table to Eric and his translator in Moscow restaurant “Pekin” admiring that incredible handsome and talented man.

    • Anon says:

      Esfir, I’m not sure I agree with you here. Tretiakov, Ushioda, Kagan, and Krysa made for an extremely strong group.

      • esfir ross says:

        Eric F. was a public favorite and shined over all at winner concert. I was there.

        • Anon says:

          Tretiakov (1st) was not a student of Oistrakh. Ushioda (shared 2nd) was also not a student of Oistrakh.
          I could see why Friedman commanded so much attention. He was tall and looked like a movie star. You admired his handsomeness up close in a Moscow restaurant, yes?

  • Edgar Self says:

    I enjoyed the contributions of Friedman and Igor Oistrakh. I saw Igor in recital, but not his father to my sorrow. I didn’t know Kreisler had some lessons with Leopold Auer. And has there ever been a bad recording of Bach’s double concerto?

    As for Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire/Austerlitz, I’m glad the compaarison wasn’t to Leopold Auer’s actor-son, Mischa Auer.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      Hi Edgar….
      I never heard either of the Oistrakhs in person (much to my regret), but I knew Aaron Sten well, having played in both California Youth Symphony and Peninsula Symphony, both orchestras having been founded by Sten and conducted by him.
      There was a Peninsula Sym. rehearsal on the day that David’s death was announced. Sten, who began as a violinist (I can’t recall now whether he studied with David or was a fellow student of DO’s), came into the rehearsal in a dark mood.
      Prokofiev 7th was called; after a few minutes of starts, stops and Russian cursing, Sten slammed the score shut and announced “I can’t go on. One of my best friends died today.” Then he stormed out of the room and drove off. I’ll never forget it.


    Eric Friedman was misinformed. David Oistrakh’s only teacher in Odessa was Piotr Stolyarsky who has never been an assistant to Auer. Stolyarsky has not spent a day as a conservatory student. And yet Nathan Milstein was another of his many great students. When Oistrakh won the Ysaye Competition in Brussels in 1937, three more Stolyarsky’s students – Elizaveta Gilels, Boris Goldstein and Mikhail Fichtengolz – won top prizes in the same competition.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Ciao, Greg. I remember Aaron Sten and those orchestras, more nxmes from the past. A sobering story. Other Bay Area conductors from that time were Gregory Millar, Gerhard Samuel, Hans Leschke, and George Cleve. Good memories.

  • James Christopher Knowles says:

    Aaron Sten was my violin teacher from age 8 until well into my college years. My father was a violinist in the Peninsula Symphony, so when I showed interest in the violin, I began lessons with Aaron. In those years (c. 1953) he had recently divorced from his wife Dusty, and he had custody of the very young children Stephanie and Greg (who became a star basketball player at Gonzaga College). He used to bring them to our house with him during the lessons. They would sit quietly on a bench during my lessons. I was active in various school orchestras and joined the California Youth Symphony as a first violinist during my last two years of high school. I considered it a great privilege to have studied violin with Aaron Sten. I am sad to see that there is so little information about him on the internet (and especially sad to see there is so little information about him on the California Youth Symphony and Peninsula Symphony websites). However, I can recall some of the information about Aaron Sten that was regularly printed in the concert programs. I cannot vouch for its accuracy, but it was reported that Sten entered the Moscow conservatory at the age of 5 and performed the Mendelsohn violin concerto in public at age 8. (At some point he left Russia and moved to Europe) He gave several command performances (including to British royalty) as a child prodigy and eventually relocated to Argentina and finally to CA, where he became concert master of MGM’s principal recording orchestra until he moved to the Bay Area (initially to San Carlos). The programs also report that he “was accepted as a student by Leopold Auer. In the early years, he performed occasionally as a violin soloist with the Peninsula Symphony. Sometimes he played excerpts of what he was performing for me, which motivated me to start learning the standard concerto repertoire. He was a fine concert violinist, but of course that is a very competitive business. I hope this information is interesting to some of you.