Recordings: An End to Grotesquerie

The most recent major work of Russia's foremost composer, Dmitry Shostakovich, is the Violin Concerto No. 2 (1967). Soviet Virtuoso David Oistrakh has already performed it in a few cities in the U.S. and Europe, but most Westerners have not heard it.

Last week the first recording of the concerto was issued on the Melodyia Angel label. The music should prove as much of a surprise to Shostakovich's fans as to his critics. Gone are the characteristic hard-edged rhythms, brittle orchestral sounds and prankish grotesqueries. Instead, the bad boy of Russian music...

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