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These days we're spoilt for choice with recordings of Shostakovitch's Violin Sonata Op 134, and violinists Leila Josefowicz and Daniel Hope have recently added to the ranks alongside 'heavyweights' David Oistrakh and Oleg Kagan.

It wouldn't surprise me at all to see violinists Baiba Skride (Born Riga/1981 -- Sony), and Sarah Chang [Born Philadelphia/1980 -- EMI) join their number in the near future, for both have entered the running with impressive recordings of the Violin Concerto No 1.

In marked contrast to the Auerbach Sonata, that by Shostakovich, Opus 134 is a late work written when he was 62; she was 30. However the generation divide is misleading for both works are deeply-felt, inward pieces that share a commonality of feeling.

Gluzman's account of the opening Andante is less subdued, disembodied and desolate than several rival versions (see below) though here there's little faulting Angela Yoffe's contribution.

Come the furious central Allegretto [listen -- track 2, 5:43-6:52], he's evidently more at home, and the composer's impassioned outcry is admirably sustained by both players from start to finish.

The concluding passacaglia, marked Largo-Andante, reveals Gluzman and Yoffe's partnership at its best -- the sheer underlying beauty of their duologue builds to a powerful apotheosis; and finally subsides in the mists.

As is customary, BIS has produced a release of superior ambience with both instruments judicially balanced.


Alternative recordings of Shostakovitch's Violin Sonata, Op 134:

Oistrakh and Sviatoslav Richter (Melodiya) (with Bartok: Violin Sonata No 1 Sz.75)

Rostislav Dubinsky and Luba Edlina (Chandos)

Oleg Kagan and Sviatoslav Richter (Regis)

Schlomo Mintz and Victoria Postnikova (Erato)

Daniel Hope and Simon Mulligan (Nimbus) (with Krzysztof Penderecki's Cadenza for solo viola, Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel and Schnittke's Violin Sonata No 3 and Silent Night)

Leila Josefowicz and John Novacek (Warner Classics)

Ilya Grubert and Vladimir Tropp (Channel Classics)

Isabele van Keulen (violin/viola) and Ronald Brautigam (BIS)

Vadim Gluzman and Angela Yoffe (BIS)

Copyright © 28 December 2006 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


Ballet for a Lonely Violinist - Auerbach - Shostakovich

BIS-CD--1592 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 67'16" 2006 BIS Records AB

Vadim Gluzman, violin; Angela Yoffe, piano

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975): Sonata for Violin and Piano Op 134; Jazz Suite No 1 for violin and piano (transcribed by Michael Gluzman); Lera Auerbach (born 1973): Lonely Suite (Ballet for a Lonely Violinist) Op 70; Sonata No 2 for Violin and Piano (September 11) Op 63



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