While many Russian musicians emigrated to the West, the violinist David Oistrakh remained loyal to the Soviet state. "I owe the state everything," he once said. "It would be disloyal of me to live elsewhere."

Born in Odessa into a poor family, he was not a prodigy and his talent ripened slowly.

He was nearly 30 when he won a prestigious prize awarded by Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians. Soon afterwards, he became professor of violin at the Moscow Conservatoire.

During the Second World War, Oistrakh performed at the front for the Russian troops and in factories for the workers, often in appalling conditions.

It was only after the war he began to be acclaimed in the West, making his London debut in 1954 and his New York in 1955.

He was a notable exponent of works by Soviet composers, Shostakovich dedicating both his violin concertos to him. His son, Igor Oistrakh, is also a noted violinist.

Oistrakh had a powerful tone but could also play with great refinement and delicacy. He matched lyricism with dignity, nobility with simplicity, head with heart.

A martyr to overwork, he died in Amsterdam in 1974, aged 66.

-Roger Moodiman, Marine Parade, Brighton