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Shostakovich : Violin Concerto No.1
 
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Shostakovich : Violin Concerto No.1

Leila Josefowicz, Sakari Oramo & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
8 May 2006 | Format: MP3

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 April 2006
  • Release Date: 1 April 2006
  • Label: Warner Classics International
  • Copyright: 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:08:53
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001LMID6E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 236,167 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This recording of Shostakovich's 1st violin concerto was made live, and includes the well deserved applause at the end. A few months after this recording was made I saw Leila Josefowicz return to Symphony Hall Birmingham to join the CBSO and Sakari Oramo for a very different concerto, a performance of Mendelssohn that was one of the most memorable performances by a violinist I have ever witnessed. The same qualities of quicksilver velocity and ability to hold the long line are in evidence here, along with a vividly recorded virtuoso performance from the orchestra: her violin tone ranges from the beautiful to the fiercely astringent as required. The music itself shows off some of Shostakovich's strengths of dark lyricism and rumbustious irony.

The sonata with John Novacek is a suitable companion piece, with the same standard of performance and recording. It has the same virtuoso partnership as their Beethoven, Ravel, Salonen, Grey, Messiaen - Recital and Shostakovich's music has the same qualities as the concerto.
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6 of 14 people found the following review helpful By ymatsui4 on 2 Jun 2006
Format: Audio CD
Shostakovich's first violin concerto (Op.77/99) is undoubtedly one of greatest achievements of this composer. Due to its clear structure, the performance has often been too expresive, at a cost of clarity of musical texture. In this recording Leila Josefowicz plays the solo part beautifully with proper strength, but the orchestra part obviously lacks delicacy and clarity. And this is a live recording with too noisy applause renders music to a nonsense. I cannot recommend this CD so strongly.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic ! 27 Jun 2006
By Martin R. Lash - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is the best Shostakovich Violin Concerto #1 I have heard. It is taken a little slower than most but there is such depth of feeling and intensity that she surpasses all the competition. Other versions I have heard (including the recent Chang) tend to not get beneath the surface. I beleive Josefowicz really understands the tragedy of this music. She has a very interesting interview about herself and this recording in the July issue of Grampohone. It makes for interesting reading.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Superb new violin recordings 21 Feb 2007
By Autonomeus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Leila Josefowicz is soulful and technically impeccable in her Shostakovich performances. Sakari Oramo leads the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in fine form in the Violin Concerto No. 1, recorded live in Birmingham in January 2006, and this new recording stands up well next to the finest available recordings.

Here are some of those finest available recordings -- the 1994 recording by Maxim Vengerov with Rostropovich and the London Symphony Orchestra for Teldec is my selection for the best of all. Of course David Oistrakh's recordings are still essential -- Shostakovich composed the work for him and his huge, round, resonanant tone and lyricism. Both of his 1956 recordings are amazing -- January 2 with Mitropoulos and the New York Philharmonic (on Sony, with Rostropovich performing the Cello Concerto), and November 18, 1956 with Mravinsky and the Leningrad Philharmonic (included in the fantastic Brilliant 10-disc Oistrakh box).

The Violin Sonata, from 1968, is more somber than the 1948 Concerto, which is deeply tragic, but also full of feisty resistance. (DSCH kept the Concerto in the drawer so as to avoid Stalin's wrath, and it was only first performed by Oistrakh in 1956.) Josefowicz, with John Novacek on piano, gives an excellent reading, but not as powerful as the 1985 Moscow recording by Oleg Kagan and Sviatoslav Richter (see my review of the Moscow Studio Archives disc released in 2003).

I wholeheartedly recommend Leila Josefowicz's Shostakovich interpretations!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
intense and communicative 5 Dec 2012
By Stanley Crowe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have no standard of comparison for Shostakovich's first Violin Concerto, so how this compares to Vengerov, Oistrakh, et. al. I have no idea, but on its own terms I found this performance gripping. First of all, I liked the balance between instrument and orchestra achieved by the engineers, and while Leila Josefowicz doesn't boast the sweetest of tones, I'm not sure that sweetness of tone is the point here. She plays with tremendous concentration and energy, and finds her match in the playing of the orchestra under Sakari Oramo. The work is in four movements, with the first and third having clear expressive affinities -- the violin rhapsodizes, within a fairly limited range in the middle of its "voice" against an orchestral background in which the lower strings seem to predominate, hesitatingly in the first movement (at least early on) and more forcefully and agitatedly in the third. The violin's part in these movements is iteratively rhapsodic rather than melodic and requires quite a bit of expressive resource on the part of the soloist to lead the listener's ear along. The second and fourth movements are much faster and require real virtuosity from the soloist. The second builds to a wild danse macabre that one can almost imagine being part of a fairytale ballet; the fourth is less balletic but drives forward (presto at the end) with great energy. In some ways the most unusual feature of the concerto is the six-minute cadenza that ends the third movement and leads directly into the fourth in such a way that the spirit of the end of that cadenza (which builds like a theme-and-variations) is continued into the fourth. It must be beastly difficult, but Josefowicz never loses her grip on it. All in all, a vivid performance of a work that isn't all that comfortable.

The disc also contains a fine version of the Violin Sonata, which deserves separate discussion that I might get to later.
Understanding Shostakovich 20 Aug 2012
By Von Braschler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have purchased two identical copies of this recording, so that I will always have it in my computer to hear and still be free to circulate a loaner copy to fans of Shostakovich. At last we have someone who understands the emotional depth of Dmitri Shostakovich and has the skill to deftly handle his empty harmonies and unusual approach to meter. Leila Josefowicz possesses the artistic passion to do justice to this troubled master and shows a daring style that reminds me of the famed cellist Jacqueline Dupre. Yes, you will want this recording and the next Josefowicz recording as well.
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An Uninspired Shostakovich "Violin Concerto No. 1" Performance 19 Jun 2012
By Transfigured Knight - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
One of the more interesting aspects of classical music is being able to compare performances to find out which ones you admire the most. Josefowicz is one of the worst I've heard in Shostakovich's "Violin Concerto No. 1." For starters, I find her tone brittle and gratingly harsh. One of the defining aspects of a good violinist, besides their technical ability, in my opinion, is their actual tone on the violin, which many probably don't think about, but I feel it's important. I also don't think Josefowicz's attitude and demeanor for this anguished music is quite right. It feels half-hearted and thoughtless.

Another problem with this performance arises from the conductor Sakari Oramo. In a concerto as expressive as this one, a collaborative effort is a must. This music contains a narrative and there's a certain flow that should be maintained throughout. Needless to say, Oramo didn't think about any of this and his accompaniment, like Josefowicz's performance, is one of the worst on record I've heard. It's almost non-existent. He's not following Josefowicz and his understanding of this work with it's apparent hidden agenda seems to lack any kind of depth. It's as if Oramo has fallen asleep at the wheel.

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra play fine but they sound uninspired here. In fact, I haven't heard a decent recording from them since Simon Rattle left as their principal conductor.

I see two other reviewers enjoy this recording and that's perfectly fine, but I didn't feel anything from it. My to-go-to Shostakovich "Violin Concerto No. 1" performances are Mullova/Previn, Vengerov/Rostropovich, and, more recently, Steinbacher/Nelsons and Khachatryan/Masur. Of course, we shouldn't forget the classic accounts with David Oistrakh for whom the work was written.
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