Best Shosty violin concerto 1 recording?

April 4, 2005 at 11:07 PM · So lately I have been listening to Shostakovich's violin concert 1. And my interest in this concerto has been with that said, what is the best shosty violin concerto recording in your opinion?

I only have heard two recordings, perlman and midori's...but I want to buy another recording of it..any suggestions?

Replies (55)

April 4, 2005 at 11:32 PM · kaler (perfect clarity, very musical), kogan w/moscow phil (cadenza is phenominal), tretyakov (very intense, very focused), mullova

my favorites

April 4, 2005 at 11:59 PM · Yulian Sitkovetsky's live performance and Kogan's and Oistrakh. I particularly like Sitkovetsky's, made not long before his untimely death at 32.

April 5, 2005 at 12:30 AM · Hi,

Oistrakh, if you want authenticity. There are a lot of other fine recordings also on top of the ones mentioned above, like Vengerov, Repin, Hahn, and Gringolts.


April 5, 2005 at 12:44 AM · I was just getting ready to post about Shostakovich's second violin concerto, but figured this might be a good place. I have the music to it, so I know it exists, but I can't find a recording of it. I think Oistrach did one? My teacher has never heard a recoring of it. For that matter, I am missing a page (it is a photocopy from I don't remember where). So I guess I need to order a copy as well. Why isn't this concerto well known...or am I in hickville?


April 5, 2005 at 12:59 AM · Hi,

Jennifer, Oistrakh did record it. Also, Vengerov on the same CD as Prokofiev #2. That's the only ones I can think of off the top of my head.

April 5, 2005 at 01:54 AM · Kremer also made a recording of the Shosty 2. I have to say Oistrakh is my personal favorite for the first concerto. I also like the clip of him playing the cadenza on the Art of the Violin Dvd. I have Repins' and he has a big, warm, rounded tone that reminds me of Oistrakh'. Hahn's is great too, very focused, and almost electric in the last movement. Though I would like to hear Kogan play this piece.

April 5, 2005 at 02:21 AM · Oistrakh's is really good but I'm gonna have to say I really like Perlman's alot - it's a live recording. I think he really understands the piece alot and plays beautifully on it.

April 5, 2005 at 02:27 AM · There are plenty of great recordings of this piece, with special mention going to David Oistrakh. However, my personal favorite is Leonid Kogan's live 1960 performance in Moscow with Svetlanov and the USSR Symphony. It was available on Arlecchino ARL6, but I don't know if it's readily available now. Extremely intense recording in the USSR during Shostakovich's lifetime, one of Kogan's greatest performances.

April 5, 2005 at 02:56 AM · Keng-Yuen Tseng's live recording from the Queen Elizabeth Competition is really very good.

April 5, 2005 at 02:19 AM · I like Oistrakh. He worked together with Schostakovich during the time when the concerto was in writing process, so I think, his interpretation is the closest to what Schostakovich wanted to express through this music. Oistrakh met the same soviet time with Stalin's repressions as Schostakovich.

I have his recording of this concerto which was made on January, 1956, at Carnegie Hall with New York Philarmonic orchestra under conducting of Dimitri Mitropoulos. On this CD with label 'Masterworks Heritage' also you can find Schost. Cello Concerto, op.107 (#1) played by Rostropovich and Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy (November, 1959).

I like also Kremer (Did he recorded 1st concerto?), Kogan, Sitkovetsky, Vengerov, Hann very much... but Oistrakh makes me cry.

April 5, 2005 at 03:32 AM · Vengerov or Oistrakh because of their deep understanding of the music and the passion in which they play.

April 5, 2005 at 11:20 AM · Hi,

Nate, you know that recording??? It was a great performance. So was his Mozart sonata K.454 that he played in the finals. I remember seeing the finals on TV, but I didn't know that things were out on CD; are they?


April 5, 2005 at 04:43 PM · Once again. Oistrakh!!!!

For scholars,musicians and for fun.

The ultimate recordings. He recorded four times.

Twice in 1956, 1972 and 1962.

He reigns absolute!!!

April 5, 2005 at 05:55 PM · Rita:

Bravo!!!You took the words out of my mouth. I am referring to Oistrakh.

Just to add a little info. I also have his recordings with Mravinsky (1956), Maksim Shostakovich (1972) and Rozhdestvensky (1962). The Mravinsky seems to me the more powerful of them all. Of course, I am comparing Oistrakh with himself. And I'll cry with you in any of the versions.

April 5, 2005 at 06:40 PM · I have Oistrakh's 1962 version, and I love it. I haven't heard his other recordings of this piece. I first heard it recorded by Mullova, and didn't like it. There is a difference, and it is almost intangible. I used to joke with my wife that the picture on the front of Mullova's recording should have the caption, "Wow! My hand REALLY hurts!"


April 5, 2005 at 09:29 PM · Hi Christian,

Yes I do have Tseng's recording on CD. I know him quite well he is a great player for sure. He was also a student of Erick Friedman as well. I remember Tseng's performance a few years ago of the Tzigane. Absolutely stunning!

April 5, 2005 at 10:13 PM · Salerno-Sonnenberg on # 1.

April 6, 2005 at 01:11 AM · Amadeu, thank you for your understanding of my inner feeling when I am listening to Oistrakh. And I also completely agree with you about Mravinsky. I think, nobody could 'open' Schostakovich's symphonism the way like Mravinsky did.

April 6, 2005 at 01:28 PM · Rita:

Mravinsky is known to be the conductor for Shostakovich. If fact, my favorite recording of the Tchaikovsky piano with Sviatoslav Richter is with Mravinsky. He is incredible.

April 6, 2005 at 01:49 PM · I love Oistrakh, but was underwhelmed by his recording with Ormandy. I am no Repin fan (at least compared to Oistrakh), but found his Shostakovich 1 to be awesome (albeit it's paired with disappointing Prokofiev 2). Perlman's recording is also great, and is paired with a fabulous Glazunov.

April 8, 2005 at 05:06 AM · Amadeu, you will not believe, but I am so lucky, I saw live Mravinsky several times, visited his concerts. He conducted sitting, not standing, as all conductors work. His movements were not wide, even during tutti and fortissimo, but very sharp and concentrated, and huge energy and invisible fire went from his hands. It is hard to discribe. He was really outstanding.

April 9, 2005 at 01:58 PM · dmitri sitkovetsky played the shosty 1 with the toronto symphony in 1989; it was transcendental. i can only imagine how well his father played it.

my favourite recordings of this piece:

maxim vengerov with rostropovitch

david oistrakh with mitropoulos

steven staryk with andrew davis

vengerov and lydia mordkovitch have both recorded the shosty 2.

April 12, 2005 at 03:56 AM · I am not sure about the order, but D. Oistrach, Julian (!) Sitkovetsky (hard to find but worth the effort).


April 12, 2005 at 01:06 PM · Oistrakh's is definately worth a listen. He best conveys the cold, often sarcastic, bitterness of the work.

I also like Salerno-Sonnenberg's, although she romanticizes it a bit too much.

April 12, 2005 at 03:24 PM · Hello all! Lydia Mordkovitch's recording with Neeme Jaarvi and the Scottish National Symphony is normally the one recommended after Oistrakh's legendary perforances. I own it and it is a great disc! Here is Gramophone's review from 1990 by Ed Greenfield:

"This coupling of the two Shostakovich violin concertos could hardly be more welcome, when it so completely explodes the idea of No. 2 being a disappointment after the dramatic originality of No. 1. Certainly No. 2, completed in 1967, a year after the very comparable Cello Concerto No. 2, has never won the allegiance of violin virtuosos as the earlier work has done, but here Lydia Mordkovitch confirms what has become increasingly clear, that the spareness of late Shostakovich marks no diminution of his creative spark, maybe even the opposite. In that she is greatly helped by the equal commitment of Neeme Jarvi in drawing such purposeful, warmly expressive playing from the SNO. With such spare textures the first two movements can be difficult to hold together, but here from the start, where Mordkovitch plays the lyrical first theme in a hushed, beautifully withdrawn way, the concentration is consistent.

The premiere recording of the work from David Oistrakh (Chant du Monde/Harmonia Mundi), dedicatee of No. 2 as of No. 1, has remained unchallenged for a generation, and Mordkovitch does not always quite match her mentor in the commanding incisiveness of the playing in bravura passages. But there is no lack of power in her reading, and in any case much the more vital element in this work is the dark reflectiveness of the lyrical themes of the first two movements. It is not just that Mordkovitch has the benefit of far fuller recording and a less close recording balance, but that her playing has an even wider range of colouring and dynamic than Oistrakh's. She conveys more of the mystery of the work and is perfectly matched by the orchestra. As in the First Concerto the principal horn has a vital role, here crowning each of the first two movements with a solo of ecstatic beauty in the coda. The Russian player on the Chant du Monde version is first rate, no Slavonic whiner, but the SNO principal is far richer still, with his expressiveness enhanced by the wider dynamic and tonal range of the recording. The range of the recording helps too in the finale, where the Allegro has a satisfyingly barbaric bite, while the scherzando element is delectably pointed, as it is in the first movement too.

In the Concerto No. 1 Mordkovitch is hardly less impressive, providing not a second best, but a very valid alternative to the fine versions I have listed. As in Concerto No. 2 one of Mordkovitch's strengths lies in the meditative intensity which she brings to the darkly lyrical writing of the first and third movements. Here, too, I have never heard her sound quite so full and warm of tone on record before. In the brilliant second and fourth movements she may not play with quite the demonic bravura of Perlman (EMI), let alone Oistrakh, but as in No. 2 there is no lack of power or thrust, and in place of demonry she gives rustic jollity to the dance rhythms, faithfully reflecting the title of the finale, Burlesque. She is helped by recorded sound far fuller than Oistrakh's and far better balanced than Perlman's. This makes an invaluable addition to Jarvi's Shostakovich series.'"

April 12, 2005 at 04:36 PM · How can you look for a great recording of Shostakovich and end up with a recording by Midori just baffles me. No bias, really.....

Oistrakh's recording is probably the most widely renowned, although it does seem a bit "light" to me at times - mainly because he was not playing it the way he wanted to due to fear of reprecussions from teh government. (For more info - dig up long lost threads on Soviet government censoring music and musicians.)

Another great recording I have enjoyed is by Leonid Kogan. I don't remember the orchestras that these records were made with, and I am too lazy to get off the chair and actually look it up - but any RUSSIAN recording by these two great violinist would be sufficient.

Or, you can just buy my CD of it. :-)

April 12, 2005 at 04:36 PM · How can you look for a great recording of Shostakovich and end up with a recording by Midori just baffles me. No bias, really.....

Oistrakh's recording is probably the most widely renowned, although it does seem a bit "light" to me at times - mainly because he was not playing it the way he wanted to due to fear of reprecussions from teh government. (For more info - dig up long lost threads on Soviet government censoring music and musicians.)

Another great recording I have enjoyed is by Leonid Kogan. I don't remember the orchestras that these records were made with, and I am too lazy to get off the chair and actually look it up - but any RUSSIAN recording by these two great violinist would be sufficient.

Or, you can just buy my CD of it. :-)

April 12, 2005 at 04:41 PM · sorry for the duplicate message - my internet connection clunked out in the middle of me sending the first one.

April 12, 2005 at 06:10 PM · Igor, don't apologize... I enjoyed reading your comment and can read it twice and more times:) Because, as I wrote already, only Oistrakh (and Kogan as well) could interpret everything what wanted to 'say' Schostakovich in this greatest composition of 20th century, even if 'something' should not be shown for all listeners (that's only my opinion!). I like many other violinists who played this concerto (I wrote about it above) but Oistrakh... it is really outstanding.

April 12, 2005 at 07:09 PM · Rita:

As always: right to the point.

I would go to the extent to say that Oistrakh performed anything, anything at all, with more artistic honesty and precision than anybody before or after him.

April 12, 2005 at 08:21 PM · K. I'm not picky, but I am poverty stricken. Anyone know of a site where I can download shosty 1 or 2 for free? :).



April 30, 2005 at 02:17 PM · Vengerov is on the top of the list for me. I have Kogan, Oistrakh, Repin and Gidon Kramer's. It's not the cleanest playing of all the recordings. It has character and musicianship that's incredible and appropriate for each movement. The Burlesque is especially devilish and the passacaglia/cadenza is absolutely moving. Oistrakh would be my next choice, especially his interpretation of the cadenza. It's one of the best I think.

May 3, 2005 at 07:08 AM · I have over 10 recordings of the shostakovich, and none of them even compare to midori's... Save your money and just listen to that one!!!

May 3, 2005 at 02:32 PM · Devan:

It's not always about the money. It's about being a good musician. Midori is a good musician, but you're really going overboard when you say "none of Shostakovich's recordings compare to hers". I wonder which 10 versions you have of the piece.

Perhaps you should review and/or add new versions to your CD/LP collection.

It is a shame that this generation does not know the meaning of performing music.

May 3, 2005 at 10:20 PM · I prefer Vengerov. Each movement, and the entire cycle is a hit, as I feel it.

Oistrakh is great but sometimes he is too soft. I mean his sound, his maner of playing is too soft, he is too kind for some places of Schostakovich First, in my opinion.

Kogan is one of the most brilliant interpreters of this composition..

Hahn's recording is very interested to listen once for the discovering of tempo possibilities in second mvt.

And I heard once Viktor Pikaisen, it was extremely funny, he can play ALMOST everything on G string, amazing! ;))

But still... I think Schostakovich is not yet as missed for new generation as for example Beethoven (in general - the difference of personal interpretations..).

May 4, 2005 at 04:17 AM · My personal favorite is the Oistrakh/Mitropoulos recording. The third movement is absolutely amazing...

Oistrakh recorded this in the US at a time period when both he and Shostakovich were thought of as "soviet" artists and they were not very well liked. In the third movement you can really hear Oistrakh pleading, trying to prove that he is just another human being. After hearing Oistrakh play the concerto, Shostakovich himself was quoted as saying something to the extent of "It was as if I was playing the concerto myself." The ultimate goal of a performance that is intended to be genuine to what the composer wanted is to portray the emotions of the composer through the music. In Oistrakh's recordings of the Shostakovich VC #1, he doesn't have to ATTEMPT to do this... he IS doing it. He really is FEELING those emotions, and existing in that time period where he was oppressed and not allowed to express himself through words. Music spoke for Oistrakh and Shostakovich, and through these recordings, those genuine human emotions are portrayed spectacularly. Not a whole lot of recordings have this REAL, GENUINE aspect, and this is definitely one of them.

Just my 2 cents..


February 8, 2008 at 02:23 AM · ^Yes, that's why I love Oistrakh's recording. Oistrakh's most powerful performances was the Shostakovich. That music meant something immense to him because it embodied his LIFE. The communist oppressions, the trials he went through . . . when he plays that Shostakovich it just stabs you in your gut. I'm literally breathless after hearing/watching it.

February 8, 2008 at 03:45 AM · Perlman's recording is unbelievable.

February 8, 2008 at 05:24 AM · "Salerno-Sonnenberg on # 1"

Heard her play this the a couple of weeks ago in Colorado and it was outstanding.

We only have Vengerov and Oistrakh recordings

and like the Oistrakh more... but to each his/her own.

Solerno-Sonnenberg was right up there and had me totally convinced.

October 27, 2008 at 10:48 PM · As good as Oistrakh is good, Kogan has a better recording. Kogan puts a lot more energy and enthusiasm into the word... Oistrakh, in his recordings of this I have heard (1955, Mravinsky, 1972), seemed slightly bored and tired, like he always does.

October 27, 2008 at 11:12 PM · Greetings,

>seemed slightly bored and tired, like he always does.

That`s why he had to wait so long for a career in the west. Being bored and tired didn`t become the in thing until around the second half of the 20th century. In this sense Oistrakh was the absolute precursor of punk music. Its also why I teach many of the precpets advocated by Oistrakh and then sleep though my students lessons. Its very relaxing and I make a lot of money doing nothing.



October 28, 2008 at 01:41 PM · Oistrakh-Mitropoulos live,1-1-56 (the day before

their studio recording).

October 28, 2008 at 10:39 PM · Leonid Kogan's 1960 performance- in Moscow :)

It's sensational... and spine-tingling

October 28, 2008 at 11:30 PM · Oistrakh is reknowned for his beautiful interpretations of Schostakovich concertos and many have been compose for him if I am not wrong.

Good luck


October 29, 2008 at 06:05 AM · Mullova and Josefowicz's recordings are both pretty incredible.

October 31, 2008 at 09:33 PM · Shostakovich better to be authentic. 1. concerto Oistrakh plays good. He plays both concertos very well.

Vengerov plays in too much exhibitionist way I think.

Oistrakh was close to composer and had a privilegy to get his advice. It means a lot.

November 2, 2008 at 06:38 AM · Anne-Marie Proulx, yes, Oistrakh's recordings of the piece are very beautiful, but I don't think they exhibit much passion or exhibit the "demonic" side of the music very well...

Another thing I've noticed about oistrakh... His spicattos are very clean, but they all always very close to the frog, always played the same, use the same amount of bow, and sound the same... His spicattos don't have much variation

November 4, 2008 at 08:25 PM ·

For me, Stoika Milanova. BTW one of the most underrated violinists IMO. I think the CD can be ordered for 10 bucks at amazon / CDUniverse and includes a Prokofiev #1 that's unforgetable...

November 4, 2008 at 10:50 PM ·

Another vote to David Oistrackh.

November 5, 2008 at 12:39 AM ·

Hello Patrick,

I personally have about 10 recordings of the Shostakovich. In my opinion I REALLY like the following recordings (in no particular order): David Oistrakh, Hilary Hahn, Viktoria Mullova,and Dmitry Sitkovetsky. I love Oistrakh's because... well, its Oistrakh! :) I enjoy the other 3 because they are played every cleanly, especially Hilary Hahn's (she is the only person I have ever heard crescendo in the pizzacto section of the last movement - I love it). I just enjoying cleaning playing. Those are my suggestions. Hope they help.

Best wishes,


November 5, 2008 at 03:34 PM ·

If you think that Oistrakh's playing lacks the demonic - listen to the cadenza in the "Art of Violin" DVD.  I never knew such sounds were possible from the instrument.  Outstanding performance.

November 5, 2008 at 11:17 PM ·


Bill, Iagree. I think thta is the msot demonic playing I have ever seen and I have seen a lot.



November 5, 2008 at 11:21 PM ·

Yes, Oistrackh playing that cadenza is the best part of that DVD, I think.

November 6, 2008 at 05:51 AM ·

Im surprised nobody has mentioned Tretiakov's live recording!!!

November 6, 2008 at 04:39 PM ·

 Hilary Hahn.  She plays 20th century music so well!  I can't listen to any other recording of this after hearing Hilary's. 

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