Gennady Rozhdestvensky is undoubtedly one of the greatest conductors of his generation, but his greatest achievements have always been with orchestras and soloists with whom he has worked closely for years. What better scenario, then, than an orchestra he founded and his own son as violin soloist. The greatest strength of these interpretations is their coherency, the fact that every player is clearly working towards a common goal. The fact they are all Russian helps, and that Russian quality of string playing is common to soloist and orchestra.
Putting the Glazunov ahead of the Shostakovich is curious move. Surely the Shostakovich is the more famous, and (dare I say) the better work. There is an interesting episode in the coda of the Glazunov, where the orchestra strikes up what sounds like a military march. At the time (1904), Mahler was about the only composer introducing such external material into his work, and when Shostakovich does so a few decades later, Mahler's legacy is what initially springs to mind. But perhaps Glazunov deserves some credit too, and perhaps the programme for this disc has been arranged to draw attention to the fact.
This is a fine recording, and the Shostakovich in particular really shines when presented in a performance of this standard. I can't help the feeling that the Glazunov is less deserving of the attentions of such fine musicians, but I know there are many who would disagree with me on that. On the strength of this outing the Rozhdestvensky father and son pairing makes a formidable musical team. Here's hoping that many more Russian violin concerto recordings are to follow.
- Gavin Dixon - classical-cd-reviews.com