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Shostakovich: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

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  • Performer: Maxim Vengerov
  • Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Mstislav Rostropovich
  • Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich
  • Audio CD (19 Aug. 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • ASIN: B00006DIC5
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 172,649 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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I agree with everything Simon Mack says. This coupling is superbly recorded and Vengerov more than matches Oistrakh's intensity in the First. The Second concerto is a tougher work to get to know but I think this version is a cut above all others. The Second closely followed the Second Cello Concerto. In that Rostropovich provided a searing intensity that was unmatched until Vengerov here seemed to feed from him. In both concertos tempos are taken quite slowly without ever losing the virtuoso show element. The Second can often sound like long periods of resigned soul searching with grotesque and absurdist jibes providing contrast. Here the work feels more of a whole and credit goes as much to Rostropovich as Vengerov.

The First has been well served on record but this version is as good as any and emphasises the more symphonic argument rather than any show. Written before Shostakovich's monumental Tenth Symphony this concerto shares much of the same material. There were rumours that he had worked on a symphony earlier but the evidence suggests that the Concerto became the home for this material. As concertos go this is a big and serious one albeit with the kind of showy finish to send the listeners home happy. It is a great concerto and Vengerov provides the intensity and remarkable technical command to maximise its effect. All in all Vengerov has the ideal partner in Rostropovich in these two works: I've heard many versions - most pretty good but this is the first I'll turn to: wonderful.
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Format: 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.

overall - essential for Shostakovich + 20th Century music fans alike.
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