Kirill Kondrashin / David Oistrakh

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 15; Violin Concerto No. 2

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Noting that this recording of Dmitry Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 2 dates from 1967, and the performance of the Symphony No. 15 dates from 1974, listeners will still be immensely impressed by the high quality of the carefully preserved analog sound and find it is no impediment to enjoying what are classic interpretations of these late works. Hearing David Oistrakh play Shostakovich at any time is a thing greatly to be desired, and his penetrating performance with Kiril Kondrashin and the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra is required listening for any student of the concerto, simply because he received its dedication and gave its first recorded performance, heard on this Alto reissue. Both the Violin Concerto No. 2 and the Symphony No. 15 share the dark, desolate tone of Shostakovich's output during the Brezhnev years, and Oistrakh and Kondrashin clearly sympathized with him in his final years of weakness and illness, to some degree communicated in the plaintive tone of both recordings. Granted, there may be recordings that are technically better than these, and there are undoubtedly some who will prefer different interpretations, but this disc is an invaluable document that offers moving performances contemporary with Shostakovich and should attract serious attention.

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