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For the Allegro [listen -- track 2, 3:11-4:11] Anissimov adopts a ferocious pace (4' 8") beside which a comparable Point Classics (Suisse) budget release (1994) with veteran Croatian conductor Milan Horvat and the Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra (ORF) seem positively pedestrian (4' 52"). There's no doubting that the OZ ensemble is more than equal to such demands.

While AYO has little of the sheen and seismic grunt of a Berlin or Czech Philharmonic, their grit and exhilarating propulsive energy suits this music to perfection.

Today, letters written (for three and a half years from 4 April 1953) to Azerbaijan pianist and composer Elmira Nazirova (Dmitry Dmitriyevich's student in 1947) are kept by the Dmitry Shostakovich family in the United States. In August 1990 Elmira Nazirova revealed their contents to Aida N Huseinova (Associate Professor of Musicology at Baku Music Academy who, from 2000-2002 was a visiting scholar at the School of Music, Indiana University at Bloomington), who documented them for Azerbaijan International in Spring 2003. On the wall of Nazirova's study at the Baku Music Academy in Azerbaijan hung Shostakovich's portrait with his written dedication 'To dearest Elmira from Dmitry Dmitriyevich'.

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Copyright © 20 January 2008 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


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