Viktoria Postnikova / Alexander Rozhdestvensky / Gennady Rozhdestvensky

Boris Tishchenko: Concerto for Violin, Piano & String Orchestra; Dante-Symphony No. 3

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Although the works of a student of Shostakovich are theoretically intriguing, Boris Tishchenko proves to be an example of the student not surpassing the teacher. Not even close, actually. The liner notes of this album make frequent reference to his studies with Shostakovich and draw comparisons between their works, but these similarities simply do not exist in the score. Tishchenko's works are lacking in direction, purpose, and cohesiveness -- traits diametrically opposed to Shostakovich's oeuvre. His orchestrations are amateurish, often resulting in little more than noise; the solo parts in the double concerto are not particularly idiomatic to either instrument. Tishchenko's third "Dante Symphony," complete with endless shouting in one of the circles of hell, is again nothing like the profundity and mastery of anything attempted by Shostakovich. What makes matters even worse is the dismally poor performance given by all those involved, particularly the String Orchestra of St. Petersburg and the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. In both cases, intonation is intolerably poor, balance problems are rampant, and the musicians seem incredibly unsure of the rhythms they are attempting to play. Listeners hoping to find a new chapter in the great Russian musical tradition should definitely look elsewhere.

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