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Shostakovich: Violin & Viola Sonatas
Dmitri Shostakovich, Oleg Kagan, Yuri Bashmet
Shostakovich: Violin & Viola Sonatas
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #1

Two remarkable chamber compositions by D. Shostakovich are presented in this album. Sonata for Viola and Piano is the composer's last work.

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Dmitri Shostakovich, Oleg Kagan, Yuri Bashmet, Sviatoslav Richter
Title: Shostakovich: Violin & Viola Sonatas
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Moscow Studio
Release Date: 10/7/2003
Genre: Classical
Styles: Chamber Music, Historical Periods, Classical (c.1770-1830), Modern, 20th, & 21st Century, Instruments, Strings
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 723724592520

Synopsis

Album Description
Two remarkable chamber compositions by D. Shostakovich are presented in this album. Sonata for Viola and Piano is the composer's last work.
 

CD Reviews

Stunning live recordings of late Shostakovich masterpieces
R. Hutchinson | a world ruled by fossil fuels and fossil minds | 02/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Moscow Studio Archives has delivered fantastic treasures with this release of two live recordings from 1985. (The Regis release may be easier to obtain.) Oleg Kagan plays the Violin Sonata (1968) and Yuri Bashmet plays the Viola Sonata (1975), which was Shostakovich's last work, both accompanied by the great Sviatoslav Richter on piano. Kagan, who died at a tragically young age, was a student of David Oistrakh, the dedicatee of the Violin Sonata. Yuri Bashmet was the star student of Fjodor Drushinin, the violist of the Beethoven Quartet, and the dedicatee of the Viola Sonata.

These are unmistakably works of the late Shostakovich, brooding and dark. Unlike the liner notes author, I do not believe that late Shostakovich in general is the best Shostakovich -- certainly that is not true of his symphonies or his string quartets. It seems obvious to me that his great works were mainly composed between the late 1930s and the late 1950s. However, these sonatas are truly great works, and deserve a wider audience in this centennial year of the birth of Dmitri Dmitrievich.

Both sonatas share a similar three-movement structure, and both are enlivened by a central Allegretto featuring memorable folk melodies. The Violin Sonata is notable for including the use of tone-rows in the first movement. Both finish with powerful slow movements, the Violin Sonata's 15-minute Largo and the Viola Sonata's 17-minute Adagio, which Yuri Bashmet conveys with total conviction.

The sound of the disc is not perfect. There are a few coughs here and there, but not so much as to ruin the listening experience. If you have heard Shostakovich's best symphonies (Nos. 4, 5, 8, and 10), and have sampled his string quartets (perhaps with the 2-disc Borodin Quartet set on Virgin -- see my review), and want to hear Shostakovich in other forms, by all means don't miss this!

See my SHOSTAKOVICH: A LISTENER'S GUIDE list for more reviews and recommendations."
Absolutely electrifying performances by masters of their cra
David Gray | MELBOURNE, VIC Australia | 09/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I first heard these two gems on a Melodyia disc, and was transfixed by the sheer power and brilliance of both performances. Sviatoslav Richter was at the height of his powers when these works were recorded, and one can only weep that the violinist Kagan, virtually unknown in the West at that time,didn't live to become the truly great master he was in the process of becoming. Bashmet too(viola) is magnificent & full of youthful vigour.

I used to think that Shostakovich's best works were his towering symphonies, his Cello concertos and his opera "Lady MacBeth of Mstensk".

However now I am not so sure. The two sonatas on this disc are among the best pieces of music I have ever heard. I am in awe of Shostakovich's musical genius and the genius of the artists who have brought these compositions to life in these recordings. The term "chamber music" seems such a pallid and inappropriate description. They are more like concentrated versions of his symphonies - cut down to the very essence of life and life's struggles. I felt quite emotionally exhausted after listening to this disc.

By the way, it is true that there are a couple of annoying coughs on the soundtrack, particularly with the violin sonata. Frankly however, they don't matter. The force, power and brilliance of these live performances sweeps the listener along in an orgasm of pleasure and wonderment.

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