This CD begins with the Shostakovich symphony number 9, and this work is given a lively performance with an interpretation that will be familiar to most music lovers. The exception to this is that the Presto third movement, is taken at a particularly rapid pace. Conductor’s privilege, I guess.
The important slower movements on either side of this Presto, both convey the concept of emptiness very effectively. The military overtones implied by the brass writing in the outer movements is made apparent and ultimately it becomes clear why this symphony was such an initial problem with audiences.
The violin concerto from a similar post-war period in the composer’s life inhabits an outwardly different emotional world. The concerto was completed in 1948 just three years after the symphony.
Leonidas Kavakos delivers a compelling account of the solo line and in this he is well supported by Gergiev and his tonally reduced orchestra.
Here are some highlights from the Shostakovich Symphony #9:
And next, here is Mr. Kavakos performing the challenging concerto number 1, with the London Symphony: