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on 26 February 2014
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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on 2 June 2006
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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