Piano Concertos Nos.1 & 2. Sonata for violin and piano
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One of Shostakovich’s unique traits is the way he spurs the listener’s imagination by appropriating different languages and using them in unexpected fashion. The result is music with two faces, sometimes sublimated by ecstasy and joie de vivre, sometimes plunged into emptiness and suffused with a death wish. Accompanied by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Teodor Currentzis, Alexander Melnikov captures this feeling admirably in the Concertos opp.35 and 102, and perhaps still more poignantly – ‘with disarming sincerity and fearless directness’, to quote his booklet note – alongside Isabelle Faust in the Sonata op.134.