Christian Tetzlaff / Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra / John Storgårds SHOSTAKOVICH Violin Concertos 1 & 2

As violinist Christian Tetzlaff steadily records the core concerto repertoire, he expands his modern coverage with the pair of concertos by Dmitry Shostakovich, which were originally composed for David Oistrakh. Inevitably, Tetzlaff's interpretations will be compared to the great Russian virtuoso's, whose performances are still held in the highest esteem and are rightly admired for their gravitas, intensity, and emotional depth. However, they are historical recordings that present the concertos in the light of Shostakovich's and Oistrakh's experiences in the Soviet era, and because of this, it is tempting to regard them as landmarks that no one can ever match or surpass. Yet Tetzlaff brings his own energy, concentration, and seriousness to his performances, and he shows a clear respect for the past and a connection to the tradition Oistrakh started. Add to his penetrating insights the exceptionally clear and controlled accompaniment by John Storgårds and the Helsinki Philharmonic, and the marvelous clarity and depth of Ondine's recording, and the excellence of this recording becomes apparent. While it won't displace the older Oistrakh recordings collectors still cherish, this 2014 release will bring a new audience to these challenging works and give weight to Tetzlaff's increasingly important catalog. (Blair Sanderson)

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