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Prokofiev & Shostakovich: Violin Concertos No. 1

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Prokofiev & Shostakovich: Violin Concertos No. 1 + Bruch & Mendelssohn : Violin Concertos
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Product details

  • Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Mstislav Rostropovich
  • Composer: Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich
  • Audio CD (30 Jun. 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Teldec
  • ASIN: B000000SLM
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,915 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Violin Concerto No.1 in D major Op.19 : I AndantinoMaxim Vengerov 9:54£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Violin Concerto No.1 in D major Op.19 : II Scherzo - VivacissimoMaxim Vengerov 3:45£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Violin Concerto No.1 in D major Op.19 : III ModeratoMaxim Vengerov 9:00£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Violin Concerto No.1 in A minor Op.77 : I Nocturne - ModeratoMaxim Vengerov13:10£1.29  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Violin Concerto No.1 in A minor Op.77 : II Scherzo - AllegroMaxim Vengerov 6:49£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Violin Concerto No.1 in A minor Op.77 : III Passacaglia - AndanteMaxim Vengerov14:51£1.29  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Violin Concerto No.1 in A minor Op.77 : IV Burlesque - Allegro con brioMaxim Vengerov 4:49£0.89  Buy MP3 

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Mar. 2001
Format: Audio CD
Whilst I had heard both of these pieces before, I could not have said I was particularly familiar with either. This has changed because of this recording, which is full of energy and bravado, yet stunningly lyrical in the slower passages. For anyone who has a liking for either composer, I urge you to listen and fall in love with this recording. Both are quite different to what you might expect from the composers, yet familiar enough to recognise where the music is coming from. Vengerov's showy style suits the solo part exceptionally well - you could tell the pair of them very much enjoyed the performance. Their compilation of the second concertos (also teldec) is further worth a listen - not quite up to this recording, but still stunning.
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2 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Sleet on 1 Jun. 2010
Format: MP3 Download
Seems that even russian can forget how their parent generations were terriorized by communism. I have no idea how Vengerov grew up or was raised, but fair to say that Rostropovich's timely escape from 'mother russia' labeled him unable to bring out the full terror and desperation that Shostacovich envisioned his work to capture, simply because Rostropovich has experienced none. But, compare to Vengerov, Rostrovich is still fairly decent. Guess his life-time experience and close contact to other russian musicians and his own relatives still give him a solid interpretation background.

Now, lets' pick on Vengerov. I always liked his techniques, his rendition on many show pieces, his sweet tones, his romantic flares, but Shostacovich is too much for him. His sweetness and romantic air in the slower movement is an insult towards people who survived the communist regime, even more so towards people who did not survive! Who is he kidding! Can he really imagine how Shostakovich, agonizing over his days not knowing when and how his suffering will end, watching his colleagues escape, collapse or die, will have the mood to compose something that "cute"? Stop pouring you petite bourgeoisie crap on us!

Beyond the superficial beauty of his interpretation lies the shallowness of his mind. It is an utmost artistical failure. This is the first recording from Vengerov that makes me angry.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 26 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
One of the best recordings ever 18 July 2001
By "fox@ucla.edu" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is quite the statement, I know, but feel I must join in with the seemingly universal praise for this album. This is by far the most superb recording of Shostakovich Violin Concerto no. 1 out there, for a piece that is in my opinion perhaps Shostakovich's absolute best. There are always a lot of comments about the piece as "banal" or standard, but whatever, this is the shostakovich sound at its finest, and perhaps at its most modern. It's a piece that he dared not perform while Stalin was still alive, and when you listen to it you'll hear why. I remember listening to it on the radio for the first time and thinking, especially during the second and fourth movements, that the striking dissonances and unrelenting motion surely must be the work of Bartok or some more "progressive" Eastern European composer, but the undeniable Russian-ess of the work shines through in the end. And the unmatchably powerful 1st and 3rd movements (especially the 3rd- my God!) could really be no one but Shostakovich.
That said, this performance definetely wins all the prizes for capturing the essense of the musicality on which the piece is based. The torment, the anguish, the stomping through life, Vengerev and his Stradivarius capture it perfectly. Just about every nuance in the solo performance is exactly the way it should be. Vengerev's tone stings you, it pierces right through the typically dark orchestration right to the soul. And Rostopovich is right there for the ride, in perfect counterbalance.
The only criticism I can think of for this album is that some of the orchestra tuttis are a bit muddy- there isn't the same clarity of recording that is devoted to the solo part. It sounds to me like perhaps the solo part had like three mics, and the rest of the orchestra had two. However, this hardly negates the imperative that you buy this album. The performances are unsurpassable. And, as an extra bonus, you get the Prokofiev no. 1, hardly a throw away piece, in fact an incredible piece of music, performance, and recording in it's own right (In fact, the recording techniques that I criticize work much better in this piece). However, it's not the show-stopping, breath-taking, heart-pounding, tear-jerking, death-defying magnum opus that is the Shostakovich Violin concerto no. 1. Buy it.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Only the most assured violinists need apply 18 April 2002
By Bruce Hodges - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I bought this disc mainly for the Shostakovich, arguably my favorite violin concerto. Its unusual structure begins with a mournful and elegiac slow movement, ending with a shimmering, haunting phrase as the violin and orchestra slowly fade out. The second movement is shorter -- about four minutes of whirling virtuosity that will certainly wake up anyone dozing.
The slow, passionate third movement is, in the right hands, one of the most supremely moving and beautiful in all violin literature, rising to a stirring climax. The raucous finale -- a mad, thrilling chase -- shows off a violinist's technique as superbly as anything ever written. This recording benefits from a white-hot soloist, a glowing orchestra and one of the world's greatest Shostakovich interpreters.
For reference, I do love Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg's feverish, slightly out-of-control recording (conducted by the composer's son, Maxim), as well as one by prodigious newcomer Hilary Hahn. But this version is outstanding in every way. The London Symphony Orchestra sounds terrific and Rostropovich demonstrates, yet again, that playing the cello is just one of his many talents.
The Prokofiev is a slightly different animal -- not quite as moving to my ears as the Shostakovich, but still a marvelous piece, and the performance is equally impressive. One reviewer used the word "sparkling" -- exactly the right word.
In short: two 20th-century violin masterpieces delivered with great sophistication and panache.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The Perfect Marriage of Composers, Soloist, and Conductor 15 Aug. 2005
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It would be difficult to imagine a more perfect match for these two concerti than Maxim Vengerov and Mstislav Rostropovich. Not only do the two innately understand the shared Russian spirit inherent in Prokofiev's and Shostakovich's music, they also happen to be superb musicians who can make these two concerti appear simple to the ear when they require such an enormous degree of dexterity.

The phrasing and thematic exploration by Vengerov is astonishingly right and in every way and every moment his interpretation is mirrored by Rostropovich and the responsive London Symphony Orchestra. While music lovers will probably be more thrilled with the eloquent beauty of the Prokofiev (and this is certainly the finest recording I have heard of this concerto), Vengerov's virtuosity and clarity of technique should now bring others into the fold of devotees of the Shostakovich.

Recorded in 1994 this CD is remains the Gold Standard for these two spectacular concerti. The recording ambience is rich and full and almost as exciting as being in the concert hall. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, August 05
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Definitive 4 Jun. 2000
By Stephen O. Murray - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I can't recall ever before daring to label anything "definitive," but I can't imagine this recording being surpassed. In particular, I can't conceive anyone performing the solo parts better. Vengerov's singing tone matches his awe-inspiring technique. For me, he is the new violinist god, the heir of Jascha Heifetz. Vengerov is ably supported by Rostropovich (who is a god among the cellists, but not among conductors, and has a particular authority as an interpreter of Prokofiev and Shostakovich).

Vengerov makes the best case for the Shostakovich that I've ever heard (eclipsing Salerno-Sonnenberg and Ostriakh). It still seems to me to have passages of banality, but the ratio of brilliance to banality seems higher than in other performances.

I have always considered the Prokofiev First to be the most beautiful 20th century violin concerto. Vengerov's recording of the Barber launched it as a rival for this distinction. Both are incredibly gorgeous (at least through the first two movements of the Barber). Every violin-lover should have Vengerov's Barber and Vengerov's performances with Rostropovich of both Prokofiev and both Shostakovich concerti.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
A Living Master At His Very Best! 23 April 2003
By Brian Kelly - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First off, not only do I think that Maxim Vengerov is the absolute best viloinists I have ever heard but I am equally just as sure that he is the very best musician I know of, living or dead. He is incredible and this recording is one of the best records I have ever owned!!!
His reading of the Prokofiev piece is absolutely flawless. Every note he plays seems exactly right. When I listen to this recording I get so immediately lost in the performance that I am swept away by every succeeding note. An unbelievable performance! This is musical ecstacy!
I liked the Shostakovich peice well enough even before this recording but I always felt it had a disjointed, peiced together feel to it in places that I couldn't imagine anyone overcoming. In Vengerov's hands this piece is transformed into one logically flowing artistic statement that seems to easily state all of this compositions many technical and emotional twists and turns.
This recording is so wonderful that I have purchased it for several friends as a gift and all of them, whether they like this type of music or not, have fallen in love with both this record and Maxim Vengerov.
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