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Thread: Shostakovich's violin concertos

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    Default Shostakovich's violin concertos

    I have borrowed Shostakovich's violin concertos from the library. I have listened to them twice now and I find violin concerto no 2 very difficult to listen to because it is so jagged and it seems to have no variety. It seems a bit dry and the drums don't seem to work as well as they usually do in Shostakovich's music. The drums seem out of place.

    The first movement of the first concerto is the best of all the individual movements of these two concertos because of the emotion in the music and there is good balance between the violin and the other instruments of the orchestra (like the bassoons and the harp) which do vary to make it more interesting. David Oistrakh is the violinist and he really knows how to make his violin sing.

    What do you like or dislike about them?

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    Default Concerto no 1 in A minor

    This violin concerto in A minor is growing on me and I like all the movements of it now. I may like it even more the next time I listen to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer-8 View Post
    The first movement of the first concerto is the best of all the individual movements of these two concertos because of the emotion in the music and there is good balance between the violin and the other instruments of the orchestra (like the bassoons and the harp) which do vary to make it more interesting. David Oistrakh is the violinist and he really knows how to make his violin sing.
    The first violin concerto is one of my preferred works for violin and orchestra as it is, IMO, a monumental piece.

    Here you can get a brief introduction to it.

    The third movement is what I like most from it; and choosing parts is not an easy task, as the Burleske can blow my head away. In that Passacaglia you can almost feel all the anguish of those to whom the soviet regime only gave deep despair. And the heavy contrast with the fanfares and regime's decoys depicted by the Scherzo and Burleske makes the work a bit spooky to me.

    What recording of Oistrakh is that you have? I have him in six different takes, that's why I ask. (And I'm sure Oisfetz has many more in his collection).

    It's been a few weeks since I listened to it for the last time. But then my preferred recording was a live off the air one by young armenian talent Sergei Khachatryan. He is twenty one (I think), but he's already one of the best artists of this days. And accomplishes a very profound approach to the work.

    Vadim Repin is also one of my choices, and he plays the original introduction to the Burleske, which wasn't orchestral as you hear everywhere else, but it's for the violin. It seems Oistrakh asked Shostakovich to arrange an orchestral starting for him to rest a bit after the heavy passacaglia and the huge Cadenza.

    Try this links to Repin playing Shosty's first

    Shostakovich : Violin Concerto No. 1

    Tracks 1-3

    Vadim Repin
    Mariinsky Orchestra & Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
    Valery Gergiev
    Rotterdam, De Doelen, 17. September 2002

    Tracks 4-8

    Vadim Repin
    Wiener Philharmoniker
    Valery Gergiev
    Wien, 23. April 2006

    Both recorded via Satellite Receiver, uploaded (Premium) mp3/192 kbts

    http://rapidshare.com/files/3689761/...erto_Repin.zip


    The second violin concerto is less known and bit more difficult to get perhaps. But it's worth each single listening, IMO. It's pure Shostakovich.

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    Senior Member oisfetz's Avatar
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    I don't know if it was the first recording, but one of my great favorites is Oistrakh's live
    with Mitropoulos and the NYPO,1-1-52, the very day before the studio recording. It was only published as part of one of the 10 CD Box NYPHO historical recordings.

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    Default recording of the violin concertos

    The CD I have borrowed from the library is on the Harmonia Mundi label.

    For the first violin concerto, there is Yevgeny Mravinsky conducting the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in a live mono 1957 recording. It amazes me how such an old mono recording can be so good.

    For the second violin concerto, there is a different violinist, Jiri Tomasek. This time, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras in 1982. This concerto has grown on me as I have come to know it, and I like it in its own way, especially the second movement.

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    Senior Member Keemun's Avatar
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    I have only heard Shostakovich's 1st Violin Concerto. I like the third movement, but the rest I can do without.

    Here is a video of Leonid Kogan performing the third movement:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4oWgBlHIVY


    Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.
    - Ludwig van Beethoven

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    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer-8 View Post
    I have borrowed Shostakovich's violin concertos from the library. I have listened to them twice now and I find violin concerto no 2 very difficult to listen to because it is so jagged and it seems to have no variety.
    I think exactly the same...It s very difficult to listen the 2nd concerto...But the 1st is one of my favourite concertos...
    :::Practise!!!!!!! Practising makes BETTER!!!:::

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    And about Shostakovich - I'd played his 1st Concert (3 and 4th mvms.) and I really got crazy pleasure! While studying and performing in our semi-year exams.
    Difficult music, tragic and "with all bones broken" - but really genious.
    I'm glad that you're discovering it for you.

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    As the 2nd concerto is so rarely performed, I wouldn't be surprised if you mostly found people only familiar with the 1st (as has happened so far). It has to be said that the 1st is one of the great violin concertos of all time - and certainly of the 20th century (I feel another poll coming on!).

    Many people find Shostakovich's later works tougher to come to terms with than his earlier ones. The 1st Violin Concerto was originally written in 1948, although withheld until 1955, well after the tyrannical and culturally barren Stalin had died and his influence faded. Shostakovich's 2nd Cello Concerto (written around the same time as the 2nd Violin Concerto) enjoys similarly far less recognition than the 1st. Others of Shostakovich's late works contemporaneous with the 2nd Violin Concerto are also found to be 'difficult' by some people (eg the Violin Sonata, the 12th and 13th string quartets, the 14th Symphony).

    I like the 2nd Violin Concerto a great deal. I find that repeated listening yielded its rewards. Also love the 2nd Cello Concerto, where a bass drum replaces the snareless side drum of the violin work. I also love the horn writing in the 2nd Violin Concerto. Do persevere - I hope you will slowly get more from this rather dark and foreboding, but ultimately rewarding work.

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    Here is what I wrote about them a few months ago:

    Violin concerto 1 in A minor (op.77 or op.99, 1948)

    My version: Mordkovitch/Scottish National orchestra/Jarvi (Chandos, 1989, 38 min)

    This concerto starts with a brooding and mysterious Nocturne, which is immediately recognizable as vintage Shostakovich. Particularly beautiful is the ghostly celeste sequence in the second half. The whole first movement reflects the torments in the composer's soul at a time when the communist party wanted to see patriotic music composed and nothing else - it took seven years after its completion before its first public performance. The following demonic Scherzo bounces around to give a welcome relief in mood, with every chance for the soloist to shine, in almost circus music like passages. The slow Passacaglia is the centre of the piece, lasting almost 15 minutes. Solemn fanfares give way to a beautiful bitter sweet melody line for the violin, getting more and more quiet. In the end, the violin is left on its own, in a prolonged cadenza, which paves the way to the exuberant finale, a folk dance like Burlesque in best Shostakovich manner. This is not an easy concerto to appreciate, but repeated listening has catapulted it straight into my top 10 favourite violin concertos of all time. Essential, and close to being hors concours.

    Violin Concerto 2 in C-sharp minor (op.129, 1967)

    My version: Mordkovitch/Scottish National orchestra/Jarvi (Chandos, 1989, 31 min)

    Coming from his most enigmatic period of composing, this is an impressive work. Moments of despair and relief intermix in the opening Moderato - and I was struck to read that he composed this less than a year after his heart attack. In my current situation, I can quite relate to those mixed feelings as well. The Adagio movement brings little change in mood - in fact one critic characterized it as unrelieved melancholy. Heart breaking and agonizingly beautiful, with exquisite lines for the horn. As in the first violin concerto, a cadenza (be it shorter) paves the way for the final movement, a rondo that is fast but still relatively introvert. A very personal, not very accessible masterpiece. Just below the first in my ranking, but still in the top 12 of violin concertos.
    Allüberall und ewig blauen licht die Fernen! Ewig ... ewig ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manuel View Post

    Try this links to Repin playing Shosty's first

    Shostakovich : Violin Concerto No. 1

    Tracks 1-3

    Vadim Repin
    Mariinsky Orchestra & Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
    Valery Gergiev
    Rotterdam, De Doelen, 17. September 2002

    Tracks 4-8

    Vadim Repin
    Wiener Philharmoniker
    Valery Gergiev
    Wien, 23. April 2006

    Both recorded via Satellite Receiver, uploaded (Premium) mp3/192 kbts

    http://rapidshare.com/files/3689761/...erto_Repin.zip
    That link is no longer valid--any chance of a re-listing? Thanks! (If you prefer to state it in a PM to me, that's fine, too!)

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    I LOVE Shostakovich's violin concertos! The drums probably sounded out of place or maybe he wanted it to be jagged because he composed in that style of 20th century music (discords, and odd rhythms) I love them!

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