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  • Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 1 / Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1
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Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 1 / Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1


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Audio CD, November 8, 1994
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Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 1 / Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1 + Brahms: Violin Concerto, Op. 77 / Violin Sonata No. 3, Op. 108
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Product Details

  • Performer: Maxim Vengerov
  • Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Mstislav Rostropovich
  • Composer: Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich
  • Audio CD (November 8, 1994)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Teldec Classics
  • ASIN: B000000SLM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,829 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Violin Concerto No. 1 In D Major, Op. 19: Andantino
2. Violin Concerto No. 1 In D Major, Op. 19: Scherzo: Vivacissimo
3. Violin Concerto No. 1 In D Major, Op. 19: Moderato
4. Violin Concerto No.1 In A Minor: Nocturne: Moderato
5. Violin Concerto in A minor: Scherzo: Allegro
6. Violin Concerto in A minor: Passacaglia: Andante
7. Violin Concerto: Burlesque: Allegro con brio

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

With his brilliant tone, flawlessly centered intonation, jaw-dropping technique, and exquisitely beautiful phrasing, Maxim Vengerov is ideal in this repertory. His sparkling account of the Prokofiev conveys the music's mercurial shifts of color and mood with great élan, and turns wonderfully evocative in the ethereal pages. The interpretation of the Shostakovich is equally fine--strongly characterized and imaginative, haunting in its beauty. The young soloist is ably partnered by Mstislav Rostropovich, who draws some remarkably fine and suggestive playing out of an alert London Symphony Orchestra, and makes a convincing whole out of each score. Teldec's engineers take advantage of the Abbey Road venue to deliver a recording that, while predictably balanced in favor of the soloist, is detailed and nicely atmospheric. This disc won Gramophone magazine's Record of the Year award in 1995, and it comes impressively close to capturing the kind of electricity Vengerov generates onstage. --Ted Libbey

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 25 customer reviews
If you like violin concertos and moving music, this is a must have.
Mark Hancock
There's never a passage of doubt; vengerov makes his violin sing the melodies and plays with so much expression!
Marvin Migl
This recording of Prokofiev's 1st violin concerto is by far the best that I have heard.
Benjamin Kruger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By "fox@ucla.edu" on July 18, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This is quite the statement, I know, but feel I must join in with the seemingly universal praise for this album. This is by far the most superb recording of Shostakovich Violin Concerto no. 1 out there, for a piece that is in my opinion perhaps Shostakovich's absolute best. There are always a lot of comments about the piece as "banal" or standard, but whatever, this is the shostakovich sound at its finest, and perhaps at its most modern. It's a piece that he dared not perform while Stalin was still alive, and when you listen to it you'll hear why. I remember listening to it on the radio for the first time and thinking, especially during the second and fourth movements, that the striking dissonances and unrelenting motion surely must be the work of Bartok or some more "progressive" Eastern European composer, but the undeniable Russian-ess of the work shines through in the end. And the unmatchably powerful 1st and 3rd movements (especially the 3rd- my God!) could really be no one but Shostakovich.
That said, this performance definetely wins all the prizes for capturing the essense of the musicality on which the piece is based. The torment, the anguish, the stomping through life, Vengerev and his Stradivarius capture it perfectly. Just about every nuance in the solo performance is exactly the way it should be. Vengerev's tone stings you, it pierces right through the typically dark orchestration right to the soul. And Rostopovich is right there for the ride, in perfect counterbalance.
The only criticism I can think of for this album is that some of the orchestra tuttis are a bit muddy- there isn't the same clarity of recording that is devoted to the solo part. It sounds to me like perhaps the solo part had like three mics, and the rest of the orchestra had two.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Hodges on April 18, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I bought this disc mainly for the Shostakovich, arguably my favorite violin concerto. Its unusual structure begins with a mournful and elegiac slow movement, ending with a shimmering, haunting phrase as the violin and orchestra slowly fade out. The second movement is shorter -- about four minutes of whirling virtuosity that will certainly wake up anyone dozing.
The slow, passionate third movement is, in the right hands, one of the most supremely moving and beautiful in all violin literature, rising to a stirring climax. The raucous finale -- a mad, thrilling chase -- shows off a violinist's technique as superbly as anything ever written. This recording benefits from a white-hot soloist, a glowing orchestra and one of the world's greatest Shostakovich interpreters.
For reference, I do love Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg's feverish, slightly out-of-control recording (conducted by the composer's son, Maxim), as well as one by prodigious newcomer Hilary Hahn. But this version is outstanding in every way. The London Symphony Orchestra sounds terrific and Rostropovich demonstrates, yet again, that playing the cello is just one of his many talents.
The Prokofiev is a slightly different animal -- not quite as moving to my ears as the Shostakovich, but still a marvelous piece, and the performance is equally impressive. One reviewer used the word "sparkling" -- exactly the right word.
In short: two 20th-century violin masterpieces delivered with great sophistication and panache.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 15, 2005
Format: Audio CD
It would be difficult to imagine a more perfect match for these two concerti than Maxim Vengerov and Mstislav Rostropovich. Not only do the two innately understand the shared Russian spirit inherent in Prokofiev's and Shostakovich's music, they also happen to be superb musicians who can make these two concerti appear simple to the ear when they require such an enormous degree of dexterity.

The phrasing and thematic exploration by Vengerov is astonishingly right and in every way and every moment his interpretation is mirrored by Rostropovich and the responsive London Symphony Orchestra. While music lovers will probably be more thrilled with the eloquent beauty of the Prokofiev (and this is certainly the finest recording I have heard of this concerto), Vengerov's virtuosity and clarity of technique should now bring others into the fold of devotees of the Shostakovich.

Recorded in 1994 this CD is remains the Gold Standard for these two spectacular concerti. The recording ambience is rich and full and almost as exciting as being in the concert hall. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, August 05
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Stephen O. Murray VINE VOICE on June 4, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I can't recall ever before daring to label anything "definitive," but I can't imagine this recording being surpassed. In particular, I can't conceive anyone performing the solo parts better. Vengerov's singing tone matches his awe-inspiring technique. For me, he is the new violinist god, the heir of Jascha Heifetz. Vengerov is ably supported by Rostropovich (who is a god among the cellists, but not among conductors, and has a particular authority as an interpreter of Prokofiev and Shostakovich).

Vengerov makes the best case for the Shostakovich that I've ever heard (eclipsing Salerno-Sonnenberg and Ostriakh). It still seems to me to have passages of banality, but the ratio of brilliance to banality seems higher than in other performances.

I have always considered the Prokofiev First to be the most beautiful 20th century violin concerto. Vengerov's recording of the Barber launched it as a rival for this distinction. Both are incredibly gorgeous (at least through the first two movements of the Barber). Every violin-lover should have Vengerov's Barber and Vengerov's performances with Rostropovich of both Prokofiev and both Shostakovich concerti.
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