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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars essential Shostakovich, 25 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Shostakovich: Violin Concertos 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
5.0 out of 5 stars essential Shostakovich, 25 Dec 2012
By simon mack "artist etc" (UK) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Shostakovich : Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Elatus (Audio CD)
ok ok i'm biased - i was priviliged to attend two concertos of Vengerov + Rostropovich playing the 2nd violin concerto + a selection of the string quartets at the London Barbican back in 1999 and the performances were incredible. this apex re-issue with rather good photo artwork cover brings together the former separate cd releases of the then young virtuoso violinist Vengerov, with the legendary former Shostakovich dedicatee and friend , cellist,legend turned fine conductor : Rostropovich.

the original releases of Shostakovich violin concerto with Prokofievs frst, then the 2nd concertos by both composers,received justifiably rave reviews here in the uk for their intensity, authenticity + powerful communication of arguably the soviet era's best composer - one Dmitri Shostakovich. and so - to this budget re-issue of DSCH's two concertos on one disc.

excellent recording, visceral,dazzling performances make this apex re-issue a bargain, The 1st concerto - premiered by Oistrakh back in the 1960's is also a classic version. although for me - this version here notched up the intensity further to telling effect. an essential compelling work. however, beware the 2nd concerto is altogether a more acquired taste for it subdued darker writing - almost a parody of the first with its world weary feeling. other fine versions from +Lydia Mordkovitch (on chandos) + Sitkovestsky (on virgin) offer good alternatives according to the Penguin Guide.

overall - essential for Shostakovich + 20th Century music fans alike.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Salieri, 3 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Shostakovich: Violin Concertos 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
There must surely come a time in everyone's musical life when listening to a work you did not previously know, suddenly stopped you doing....whatever it was you were doing...and just made you listen. This was the feeling I had on first hearing of the 1st Violin Concerto of Shostakovich, (not all that long ago, I have to confess),and which I immediately bought via Amazon, particularly as it was by a major violinist, and indeed a major Orchestra, the LSO with a conductor sadly no longer with us (Rostropovich).

The 1st Concerto is a master-work: it is easy to assimilate, but does require your patience to listen in toto. You will be amply rewarded: the opening Nocturne is serene and leads to an animated and rhythmic Scherzo, but then the real glory unfolds: a wonderfully lyrical and emotional Passacaglia, which is surely the core of the work, and gradually moves us to a superb cadenza, the Orchestra gradually reducing as the cadenza approaches, almost as if they felt they could not intrude. It is a long cadenza, but all of a sudden, without warning, it goes into a full Orchestral burlesque finale, when we are least expecting it, and which is great fun! The next 5 minutes are quite frenetic, and the end comes suddenly. This is a Concerto you will want to play again and again!

The 2nd Concerto is darker, but is still compelling: it was Shostakovich's last Concerto, is less dramatic in content and much more valedictory. The Orchestral accompaniment is more chamber-like, and the tempo is generally slower, (but there is an animated finale in the style of No. 1). The mood is different, and I have the impression it is a valedictory work, but still elegantly crafted. There are more solos for individual members of the Orchestra, and many of these are quite felicitous - the flute at the beginning of the 2nd movement, which is itself quite enchanting, is a case in point. I suspect that you may initially discard this as not being so interesting as the first. I did the same, but I have subsequently found that I should not have been so hasty.

Maxim Vengerov brings vitality and intensity to both Concertos (he is particularly moving in the Passacaglia movement), and the Orchestral accompaniment is by degrees powerful when it needs to be, and - more importantly - respectfully taking second place, again when it needs to. I would expect no less from two Russian Masters.

One sad black mark: there are no sleeve notes, hence 4 stars, not 5: Really we cannot assume people know these works and some guidance is surely necessary. However, if you do not know these works, don't hesitate to invest in them: the 1st Concerto in particular will surely convert you and you'll perhaps learn to appreciate the 2nd as I am so doing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mstislav Rostropovich great., 14 May 2015
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This review is from: Shostakovich: Violin Concertos 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
Shostakovich: Violin Concertos 1 & 2 ...
Maxim Vengerov Conductor: Mstislav Rostropovich great.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 4 July 2014
By 
Damian Cullen - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shostakovich: Violin Concertos 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
excellent
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Shostakovich: Violin Concertos 1 & 2
Shostakovich: Violin Concertos 1 & 2 by Maxim Vengerov (Audio CD - 2010)
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