Reflections on Leonid Kogan
Leonid Kogan and David Oistrakh
L.K. said that the first encounter with the playing of D.O., 16 years
his senior, in 1932 was a spur of his endavour. Later on D.O. promoted
him by supporting him to be selected as participant of the Ysaye Competition
in Brussels in 1951.
While both violinists were the greatest representatives of the Russian
School of violin playing of the 20th century, their playing and their
approach to interpretation and technique of playing was much different.
Differences on sound production, richness of sound and interpretation
can easily be detected from their recordings.
While I would describe the playing of D.O. best by the quiet flow
of a wide stream towards his destination, Leonid Kogan created the
expectation of highest tension and greatest artistic skills.
While D.O. stood on his place on stage without moving his powerful
body, L.K. bent his slim body from his hips when playing live on stage.
(He did not on his video recordings).
Their difference in sound can be described accordingly: D.O. had a
rich and powerful tone, while Kogan produced a rich tone as well,
but clean, cristal clear and classical. In that respect Kogan is nearer
to the playing of Henryk Szeryng or Jascha Heifetz, while D.O.'s tone
has always been unique.
Gustav Kuhn, after listening to the Beethoven op. 61 played by D.
Oistrakh "This was the concerto of D.O., not of Beethoven"
(Just take the cadenza of the first movement as an example).
In the case of Kogan, this would never have been an appropriate judgement.
Leonid Kogan in Vienna:
As soon as L.K. appeared n Vienna, he was highly acclaimed : No free
seats in the concert hall, highest expectations to which Kogan lived
up with no exception.
With his concert programs featuring some of his virtuoso pieces at
the end of his versatile classical selection
He cougth fullest attention of the audience (From his concert programs
shown here, he played repeatedly the Tzigane by Ravel, his virtuoso
pieces were Zapateado by Sarasate and Figaro by Castelnuovo-Tedesco.
Selected recordings: Studio, live, on video or
The legendary concert