Sonata for Violin and Piano
Moscow. Great Hall of the Conservatoire. Performed by D. Oistrakh and S. Richter.
1969, Anglo-Soviet Music Press (London, Boosey & Hawkes); 1970, “Muzyka” Publishers, Moscow.
The hand-written score in the RNMM (Stack 385). Rough drafts in the archive of the composer’s family.
Dedication: “To David Oistrakh (for his 60th birthday)”
“Shostakovich had the idea of making me a gift and writing a second concerto to coincide with my sixtieth birthday. He was a year out though. The concerto was ready by my fifty-ninth birthday. <...> Evidently, Shostakovich thought, that as he had made a mistake, it needed to be put right. That is how the Sonata for Violin and Piano came into being.... I had not expected it, although I had long dreamt that Shostakovich might write a violin sonata.
It was a wonderful gift, not just for me, of course, but to our country’s music as a whole”
Sonata for Violin and Piano
The Second Violin Concerto was finished in May 1967, while October 1968 saw the completion of the Violin Sonata. Both works were composed for David Oistrakh’s 60th birthday and dedicated to him.
Not until a month after the date the Sonata was finished (23 October 1968) did Shostakovich ask his colleagues and students, composers Boris Tchaikovsky (who played the violin part) and Mieczysław Weinberg, to play it on the piano four hands. On 17 November 1968, the composer did a recording at home on a tape recorder. Five days later, he sent this recording to Oistrakh.
The recording done in Shostakovich’s home first came out on a vinyl record, and much later was put on a compact disc in the Shostakovich Plays Shostakovich series.
The first public performance of the composition was held on 8 January 1969 at a meeting of the Board of the RSFSR Union of Composers. ‘The auditorium where the hearing was held could not hold all those wishing to hear the new composition in the magnificent performance by David Oistrakh and composer Mieczysław Weinberg,’ noted a correspondent of Sovetskaya kultura.
The first concert performances of the Sonata took place on 3 and 4 May 1969 in the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory; the violin part was played by David Oistrakh and the piano part by Svyatoslav Richter. Both performances were recorded. The recording assembled from these performances was published on a vinyl record in 1970 and 1971.
In Leningrad, the Sonata was first performed by the same musicians on 23 September 1969 in the Small Hall and on 24 September in the Grand Hall of the State Philharmonic.
Not only was this composition immediately incorporated into David Oistrakh’s active repertoire, but, on his recommendation as a member of the jury of the violin department of theThird International Tchaikovsky Competition (1970), the third movement of the Sonata was included in the violin programme of the second round as a mandatory composition.
- Brusilovsky A.Y., Godar P. 1997 // SC 53008, 1997
- Kagan O.M., Richter S.T. 1985 // GRAMZAPIS' GCD 00095, 1995
- Mints Sh., Postnikova V.V. 1991 // ERATO 2292-45804-2, 1992
- Kholodenko A., Milshtein S. 1993 // REM 311210, 1993