Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Shostakovich Concerto One

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by lermgalieu, Dec 19, 2002.


  1. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I heard this last night on NPR. My lord, what an insane piece. I don't listen to much classical, but this could easily get me into it...

    I guess this thread doesn't relate to bass violin as much as violin, but I just wanted to see if folks can recommend any other mayhem of the same heightened fury....
     
  2. Shlomobaruch

    Shlomobaruch

    Dec 31, 2002
    Boise, ID
    Shostakovich's first violin concerto is one of my faves. Certainly my favorite concerto because it's more like a symphony for orchestra and violin. So it's an emotionally satisfying piece than just a showboat. Do you remember the soloist? The only recordings I know of are by David Oistrakh, Itzhak Perlman and Maxim Vengerov. All of which are excellent, but I think I like Vengerov's better because it has a bit more grit to it. That and it's conducted by Rostropovich who is bar none the most authoritative interpreter of Shostakovich. It's probably the one you heard.

    Similar pieces? There's a lot of Shostakovich that's like that. Definitely check out the Piano Trio in E minor (Op 67). Columbia has an excellent recording of that with Isaac Stern, Emmanuel Ax, and Yo-Yo Ma which also has Ax and Ma performing his Cello Sonata (Op 40). The Piano Quintet as well (Op 57) though it's more naive than the other pieces. Any of his string quartets, but I'm most familiar with the 8th.

    His 11th symphony also comes to mind. It isn't often as raucous, but every bit as intense partly because each movement segues into the next, so you have no real respite. It's composed of folk songs from the 1911 revolution, and through the order and placement Shostakovich gives his own sort of account that is emotionally brutal if you know what you're listening to, and perhaps even if you don't.
     
  3. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    I would also say his fifth symphony. I had the pleasure of performing this piece recently and it is absolutely increadible. It is proabably one of the most technically, physically, and emotionally challenging pieces that I have ever played.
     
  4. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Shlomobaruch, it was the Vengerov I heard. Thanks to both of you for your suggestions, I will check them out...
     
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    The 11 Symphony has become my favourite - I have two versions and have seen it played at the Proms concerts at the Albert Hall - incredibly intense experience. I alway get that thing where the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when you get to the heavy percussion section.

    I also like the 4th, 5th, 8th and 10th Symphonies and the 7th can again be an incredibly intense experience - but I have head some very bad recordings - even by Russian Orchestras which were basically unlistenable. I have yet to find a good recorded version - any ideas?

    I love Maxim Vengerov's playing on absolutely anything - he must be the most exciting soloist working today?

    I have seen him several times on the BBC - UK TV in concerts and would love to get to see him in the concert hall - he seems like a really nice guy as well!!
     
  6. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    I agree about Maxim Venegrov. He is one of my favorite soloists. I saw him for the first time on television and have been to many concerts since.
     
  7. I'm sure there are other great recordings, but Keith Jarrett's ECM recording of Shostakovich's 24 preludes is awesome, IMHO. He doesn't even whine on the recording!

    Symphonically, my favorites (in order) are 10, 5, and 7, although I am by no means an expert on DS's symphonic work. I have an insane live recording of Solti with the Chicago SO (personal fave) doing the 10; a Dorian recording of the Dallas SO under Litton is pretty strong, too.
     
  8. Shlomobaruch

    Shlomobaruch

    Dec 31, 2002
    Boise, ID
    Yes, I like Keith Jarrett's version of the preludes. I'd be in heaven if Argerich recorded them. She has that right combination of clarity and daring to bring them to life. I'd imagine there'd be a lot of similarity to Jarrett's, which is odd considering how disparate their backgrounds are. Not too many people have recorded them. There's only one other I know of, by some Russian woman that I'm ashamed I can't remember.

    The ending of the eleventh... the untuned bell... the first time I heard that tears came to my eyes and every hair stood on end as I realized that, for the people who had sung those songs through that orchestra for the past 40 minutes, everything had gone terribly, terribly, irrevocably wrong... and it doesn't stop ringing! I'll never, ever forget that.

    Seventh symphony recordings? I have a set of all 15 symphonies conducted by Rostropovich that I will risk no heir to. It is... precious to me...

    ummm... where was I?

    I neglected mentioning the 5th symphony because truly it lacks the devil-may-care insanity of the others I mentioned and that lerm enjoyed in the concerto, and also it seems so many people don't know anything of Shostakovich *past* the 5th symphony, or maybe the 7th symphony and 8th quartet, that really I'd rather someone listened to his other works first. Not to mention that most folks west of the Iron Curtain are only familiar with either the Toscanini or Bernstein version, both of which are completely wrong. (There wasn't a lot of compliment involved when Shostakovich said he liked Bernstein's interpretations above any other American conductor - he considered the others unlistenable) Again, Rostropovich on Teldec - you can't go wrong.

    Don't forget the 13th symphony either! I had the fortune of working with Yevtushenko once myself, and we had many discussions of Shostakovich and this work. Another of his emotionally thorough works with such an amazing ending, not to mention the last completely tonal work I know of.
     
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I've not seen Rostropovich's verson of the 7th available as a single CD - I have loads of CDs of DSCH symphonies, so I dont want to buy a whole expensive boxed set - but then I've never seen this either - most shops don't keep it.

    You say that Rostropovich is the definitive intepretor and I can see why - but how about Maxim Shostakovich - I have a few CDs where he is conducting the London Symphony Orchestra?

    I mean, as his son, who worked with him for many year during his life, lived in Leningrad through the war etc etc. - surely he must have some insights? I like Maxim's version of the 10th.
     
  10. Shlomobaruch

    Shlomobaruch

    Dec 31, 2002
    Boise, ID
    There are 12 CDs in the boxed set. Each *should* be available individually. Once upon a time I saw the 2rd&3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 11th, and 13th fairly regularly. Check www.amazon.com or www.cduniverse.com unless you're afraid of ordering online. (Then again, you're a bassist, how else can you get stuff these days?).

    Yes, Maxim Dmitrivich has excellent interpretations. In fact, I like his recording with the Prague Symphony of Shostakovich's 13th better than Rostropovich's. Both are equally good interpretations, but for Maxim's the soloist and choir have much better tone and the acoustics of the hall have a fuller depth. The Rostropovich often sounds rather... thin.
     
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes - I often find I like recordings for the actual sound - the acoustic etc and I have heard a few Russian recordings which are rated highly, but the "sound" puts me off.
     
  12. Shlomobaruch

    Shlomobaruch

    Dec 31, 2002
    Boise, ID
    Oh, about Shostakovich 7th... I did some searching for you, apparently Apex (a division of Elektra?) has released a recording of Rostropovich w/ the NSO of this one. Both amazon and cduniverse list it for under $6.50. Again, if you don't want to order online, you can copy the catalog number (41409, I believe) and should be able to order it from your local store. Bon Appetit!
     
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Thanks - I shall order this!! :)
     
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I checked on Amazon today and this set is priced at over £90 - about $140!!

    They did have all of them available as single discs, except - guess what - the 7th symphony is down as "special order only" - which in my experience means they haven't got it!! :(
     
  15. One more vote for Rostropovitch.

    I saw once on French TV a filmed production
    of the opera "Lady Macbeth", with Rostropovitch
    conducting and his own wife interpreting Lady Macbeth... a very hot, vulcanic production.

    Played recently piano concerto No.2, such good music !

    About 8th String Quartet, there is a famous transcription of it for string orchestra, I think
    it´s called "chamber symphony" ?

    I love both cello concertos, I wonder if the old version with Heinrich Schiff and Maxim Shostakovitch is still available ?