Oscar Shumsky - Portrait of a Legendary Violinist


For three-quarters of a century the name Oscar Shumsky was one to conjure with in string-playing circles, and latterly it acquired a legendary glow. “With a vibrant sound, immaculate intonation and limitless command of the technical challenges of the violin, Oscar was a joy to hear – a joy to join in playing chamber music,” says the violinist and conductor Milton Katims.

His colleagues are adamant; Oscar Shumsky was one of the greatest violinests of the 20th Century.



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Catalogue Number

CD1 Bach

Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041 I Allegro 4.00 II Andante 6.48 III Allegro assai 4.24

Concerto for Oboe and Violin in C minor, BWV 1060 I Allegro 5.11 II Adagio 5.40 III Allegro 3.36 (Robin Miller, oboe)

Violin Concerto in E major, BWV 1042 I Allegro 5.11 II Adagio 6.24 III Allegro assai 3.08

Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043 I Vivace 3.50 II Largo ma non tanto 6.30 III Allegro 4.48 (John Tunnell, violin II)


CD2 Mozart

Violin Concerto No.4 in D, K218 I Allegro 9.46 II Andante cantabile 6.48 III Rondeau 7.22

Violin Concerto No.5 in A, K219 I Allegro Aperto 10.16 II Adagio 9.59 III Rondeau 8.50


CD3 Ysaÿe

Six Sonatas for Solo Violin, Op.27,

Sonata No.1 in G minor Grave 4.53 Fugato 4.01 Allegretto poco scherzoso 3.56 Finale con brio 2.31

Sonata No.2 in A minor Obsession Prelude 2.35 Malinconia 2.11 Danse des Ombres: Sarabande 4.06 Les Furies 2.51

Sonata No.3 in D minor 'Ballade' 6.53

Sonata No.4 in E minor Allemande 5.06 Sarabande 2.42 Finale 3.15

Sonata No.5 in G major L'Aurore 4.29 Danse Rustique 4.52

Sonata No.6 in E major 7.00


"One has only to sample the simple beauty of Shumsky's playing in the Andante of the A minor Concerto to be won over to his dedicated Bach style. He is a player of the old school. His artistry is everwhere in evidence (Ysyae) ...in the authority and naturalness of his phrasing, the sweetness of his tone and the security of his technique. It is all wonderfully musical and splendidly free as if Shumsky is improvising these pieces...strongly recommended.  Shumsky's performances (Mozart) are of the higest calibre. They are totally unaffected, spontaneous, and full of character, he has an excellent rapport with Tortelier, who secures a warm, very alive and musical response from the SCO. The recording is natural and nicely balanced."  The Penguin Guide

“In Shumsky's hands these works (Ysaye) appear to grow in stature, though it would be truer to say that their real qualities more fully emerge. With Shumsky, one feels, and not only in the slow movements, that the full meaning of each phrase is being searched out. Nimbus have given us, indeed, a CD of consistently superlative violin playing, beautifully recorded.”  Gramophone

"Shumsky is one of the few modern violinists to whom I can listen with undistracted pleasure. He plays as if it is his hobby, not his career – and that is infinitely commendable. Check it out."  Edward Moore, classical.net

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