2012 Violinist.com Tournament, Round 1, Day 3: Bruch Violin Concerto vs. Shostakovich Violin Concerto
March 14, 2012 at 8:17 PM
Are you ready for Day 3 of the Violin Concerto Tournament? Today it's the Bruch Violin Concerto vs. the Shostakovich Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26 by Max Bruch
This was Max Bruch's most famous composition, completed in 1866. Though his first violin concerto assured him a kind of immortality, he never received much money from it!
Here is Joshua Bell playing the first two movements (I love the way he plays the Romantic lit) and -- since there was no Youtube of Josh playing Movement 3 -- we have Maxim Vengerov, which I like because he plays it with finesse; it's not violent! (We sometimes can get violinists really assailing this last movement!)
Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Opus 77 by Dmitri Shostakovich:
This was written in the late 1940s but wasn't played until 1955 because the Soviet Union's government had denounced Shostakovich for failing to comply with Soviet cultural policy. The concerto was dedicated to Soviet violinist David Oistrakh. Here is David Oistrakh, with Heinz Fricke conducting the Deutschen Staatsoper Berlin:
omg, I cant believe this... if bruch wins... its nowhere near shostakovich also bruch as an composer is not as important as shostakovich... I really cant believe this. Do you all listen to night of the proms or what?
From Terry Hsu
Posted on March 15, 2012 at 12:17 AM
I don't know the Shostokovich concerto at all but I'm becoming a big fan with these links. Both Oistrakh and Kogan are huge favorites of mine. I haven't voted yet, tell me why I should vote Shosty, or Bruch. I certainly know the Bruch concerto.
That said, my tournament bracket has Bruch winning. But I don't mind voting against the "bag." :)
This is a very good pairing for a contest round as neither concerto is all that good but for my money I will listen to 10 Bruchs for 1 S.
From Yixi Zhang
Posted on March 15, 2012 at 4:33 AM
I too think Shostakovich is amazing, but I can see Bruch is winning. After all it is gorgeous and occupies a special spot in our hears for being the first major piece many of us studied. When we have no agreed set of criteria, I'm prepared to accept whatever reasons people wish to base their choice on.
This was actually a hard choice for me. I adore both pieces. I'm currently dusting off the Bruch to perform later in the year and have worked a bit on the Shostakovich as well. Shostakovich wins in the end for me just for the story behind the composer. Researching Shostakovich's life has been a hobby of mine since I was introduced to his symphonies by my youth symphony conductor back in my teens. This conductor really helped inspire me musically and even loaned me all the books he ever owned on Shostakovich just so I could read about him. I'm eternally grateful to him for that because I believe in the end this was one of the reasons I decided to major in music in university. I've never looked back!
A note from the editor, here: By all means, please do share your favorite links, and I'll do my best to come in and make them "live" hyperlinks. I'm putting together quite a lot in a short time, so also, if you have ideas for the upcoming votes, e-mail me!
My whole nefarious plan here is to get people talking about what recordings are best, what concertos are best, why you like them, etc. Because I know nothing about basketball! Except that I think Northwestern won some game that was not the NCAA tournament but is still pretty good-ish?
Interesting to me is, that the opinion differs from beginners to professionals. I think there will be not so much studied violinists who would say the Bruch is superior to the Shostakovich. If music would be something to compare I would say that neither musically nor historically the Bruch comes near to the Shostakovich. To me Shostakovich's Violin Concertos are one of the greats of the last century. From the mood similar to sibelius somehow. The Cadenza (played by Oistrakh especially) is something that captured me from the first time I listened to it and is one of the most powerful pieces of Violin music I know. The Bruch, while having some beautiful melodies inside, has nothing new to give to me. Even the unknown and unpopular Schumann Concerto in my eyes has more to offer musically.
I saw Midori perform the Shostakovich live some years ago, and I have to admit, I really didn't like it. She played with an odd, hunched over posture the whole time. That was quite distracting and wasn't what I expected from her. Good for her for experimenting, but some experiments work out better than others. Oistrakh's performance here is much more appealing to me, but I still prefer Bruch. Sorry Simon :)
From Paul Deck
Posted on March 15, 2012 at 3:52 PM
@Simon, "I think there will be not so much studied violinists who would say the Bruch is superior..."
I like the Shostakovich violin concerto better too, and I agree that the Bruch will attract a lot of votes simply because more v.commies have studied it. But that is precisely why I voted for the Bruch ... because I think it will win.
Remember, this is a GAME.
From Terry Hsu
Posted on March 15, 2012 at 5:26 PM
So Paul, In other words, are you trying to tell us all that you're selling out all of your musical convictions for a bag? ;)