Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Dec 06 2016
Shostakovich's dark second violin concerto paired with Tchaikovsky's classic in an intimate account of a new edition
Violinist Linus Roth has followed up his discs of concertante works by Mieczysław Weinberg with a concerto by Weinberg's friend Dmitri Shostakovich. On Challenge Records, Linus Roth, the London Symphony Orchestra and conductor Thomas Sanderling pair Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 2, Op.129 with Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto Op.35, with the Tchaikovsky being presented in the new critical edition.
Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 was written in 1947, but there seems to have been something personal about the work because, whilst his symphonies formed his public utterances, the concerto was not premiered until 1955 (two years after Stalin's death). Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 2 followed in 1967, ostensibly for violinist David Oistrakh's 60th birthday. But the work is hardly celebratory in mood. Shostakovich was ill, aware of his mortality and the work has references to such works as the Symphony No. 4 and Symphony No. 15. This performance from Roth, the London Symphony Orchestra and Sanderling really brings out the dark intensity of the work, this is music with a story, a dark back story.
It is a big work, with an opening movement lasting fifteen minutes (rather aptly the Tchaikovsky concerto is built on a similar scale).