Dmitri Shostakovich, 1967.
Violin Concerto no. 2 in C Minor - III - Adagio-Allegro.

Dmitri Shostakovich is a brilliant master of texture, composition and construction. Like much modern art that falls in the category of abstract expressionism (think De Kooning, Jackson Pollock) a casual glance at Shostakovich's work leads many to think sloppy, casual, disconnected and disjointed. Shostakovich's work, like the work of those painters, is none of those things. Shostakovich prided himself in his sense of structure and composition, often borrowing themes from the greats that came before him. Indeed, his Violin Concerto No. 2 is profoundly simple and technically sound. It manages to draw on the works of Mahler and Stravinski yet remain remarkably fresh and inventive. Below the surface of the third movement is a strong and complex rondo (think ABACADA pattern). The repeating refrains are divided by expressive episodes that touch on themes such as life, morality, and mortality. All of which were striking put into focus by a heart attack in the year prior to the completion of this concerto. The cadenza in this third movement (starting at the 3:39 mark) is ferocious and prodigiously peculiar. The cadenza is what this piece is all about. Anxiety over the unpredictability of life oozes from the soloist's violin. FInally the movement concludes with a driving, triumphant flourish.

Selected recordings recommended for purchasing:
BBC Symphony Orchestra with Daniel Hope as soloist (Conducted by Shostakovich's son Maxim Shostakovich) version available here.
Tchaikovsky Festival Orchestra Moscow with Dmitri Kogan as soloist (Conducted by Maxim Shostakovich) version available here.
Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra with Jiri Tomasek as soloist (Conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras) version available here.

Artwork by: Willelm de Kooning // Light In August


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great thing

February 21, 2007 at 5:02 AM  
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Great...but who is playing it?

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