Valery Gergiev: Ninth Symphony and First Violin Concerto by Shostakovich| Album Review

Shostakovich: Symphony No 9; Violin Concerto No 1Leonidas Kavakos (violin), Mariinsky Orchestra/Valery GergievMariinsky MAR 05243

Shostakovich Symphony No 9, Violin Concerto No 1
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Artist: Valery Gergiev, Leonidas Kavakos, Mariinsky Orchestra, Dmitri Shostakovich
Genre: Classical
Label: Mariinsky

Friends and pupils for whom Dmitri Shostakovich played excerpts have left descriptions of the victory symphony he planned for the end of the second World War: “majestic in scale, in pathos, in its breathtaking motion” and “victorious major music in a vigorous tempo”.

However, he changed tack quite significantly and his actual Ninth Symphony is neo-classical, mostly light and more a statement of relief than celebration.

Valery Gergiev’s new account is tonally full and less comfortable with the elements of cheekiness which an earlier generation of Russian conductors faced directly.

Gergiev and soloist Leonidas Kavakos take some of the chill out of the altogether darker First Violin Concerto, where the poles are desolation and wildness.

Michael Dervan

Michael Dervan

Michael Dervan is a music critic and Irish Times contributor