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Reviews Written by
Mr. A. D. Brown "Andrew Brown" (United Kingdom)

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Sonata for
Sonata for
Price: £9.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Well executed and a welcome addition to the collection of a Shostakovich enthusiast or audiophile alike., 29 Nov. 2016
This review is from: Sonata for (Audio CD)
If you are familiar with the popular work of Shostakovich (such as the symphonies and jazz suites) and would like to listen to more of his work, then this could be a good starting point if you listen to op. 147 first (you could also try the Cello Concertos 1 and 2 (Kliegel / Polish NRSO)). Track information is as follows:
Sonata for Violin & Piano, Op. 134 Oleg Kagan (violin) & Sviatoslav Richter
Track 1: Andante (total duration: 11:30)
Track 2: Allegretto (total duration: 6:59)
Track 3: Largo (total duration: 14:57)

Sonata for Viola & Piano, Op. 147 with Yuri Bashmet (viola) & Sviatoslav Richter
Track 4: Moderato (total duration: 11:09)
Track 5: Allegretto (total duration: 6:18)
Track 6: Adagio (total duration: 17:02)

These two sonatas (op. 134 and op. 147) incorporate many of the features that you will have come across in the main symphonies - ranging from the melodic to the positively icy tones that feature in many early works - the perfect examples of this being the opening of the andante in op. 134 and the moderato in op. 147. The allegretto of op. 147 starts in an almost jovial manner with a brilliant conversation between the viola and piano. The adagio definitely draws upon Shostakovich's previous works - especially where the viola is used. There is also a small section that sounds remarkably similar to part of a famous piece by Beethoven (track 6 5:30 and briefly at 14:58). Both of the pieces use the full repertoire of the violin and the viola to great effect. The piano playing in op. 134 evokes real emotion. This is especially true towards the end of the allegretto and the beginning of the largo.

Why did I rate this CD as "I love it?" This rating may not be for everyone. Everyone has their own taste in music and how they like to hear it in recordings.

Initially I was surprised by the audience coughs but upon further listening, I came to the conclusion that this particular recording brings a welcome release from the digital, almost clinical delivery of some CD releases. In no way does the background detract from the enjoyment of the piece. I believe I can even hear a page of the music being turned at one point. This CD provides you with a concert atmosphere that is lost from many modern releases that have been enhanced and re-mastered to death. Remember the original materials is from the early eighties. You can sit back, close your eyes and imagine you are in the auditorium - at the performance. If you are searching for the depth of a vinyl recording but only have a CD player - this is the best compromise.

A great recording of not-often-aired music. Well executed and a welcome addition to the collection of a Shostakovich enthusiast or audiophile alike.

Shostakovich - Complete Symphonies
Shostakovich - Complete Symphonies
Price: £29.50

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good choice for novices and experienced audiophiles., 22 Feb. 2007
I was introduced to the work of Dimitri Shostakovich purely by chance after hearing a small piece of his 8th Symphony in a film. I wanted to hear more of his work - and if you do too, then this set is a great place to start. It contains all of his major symphonies and Rudolf Barshai does a very good job of replicating most of the works as near as possible to how Shostakovich may have wanted them to be performed. I have compared some of the works to other recordings by different orchestras and conductors and they seem slow and lethargic in comparison. Having listened to works where Shostakovich himself has been involved in the performances, this again confirms the theory for me. There are some pieces that are relatively easy listening and others - including the choral elements, that require a bit more concentration when listening (you need to be in the mood) but voices are not used greatly when considering all the music you get. Each CD has notes to allow you to put the music into context which are helpful. Following events in Russia at the time whilst listening to the music will also add an extra perspective. As an introduction to Shostakovich, this set cannot be beaten as it is also good value for money. After a time, you will have two or three Cds that you will listen to regularly and keep the rest for that occasional break from the norm. The joy of this set is that there is enough variety there for you able to do this and not worry about buying a set that you may only ever listen to once. I can recommend this set very highly to anyone wishing to discover more works by Shostakovich without breaking the bank.

Further listening:

When you have tried this set, you might want to look at the composer's lighter side by listening to his jazz suite, ballet suites and film music. If you ant to get really heavy, you could try Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk - an opera based on the Shakespeare play. If you want to listen to this, it will help if you have got a copy with an English translation and have a basic knowledge of the plot of the original Macbeth play.

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