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Fleishman: Rothschild's Violin; Shostakovich: The Gamblers / Petrenko, Et Al

Release Date: 09/18/2007 
Label:  Avie   Catalog #: 2121   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Benjamin FleischmannDmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Lewis James QuinnKevin MatthewsAlastair McCallOliver Kuusik,   ... 
Conductor:  Vasily Petrenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 23 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Exciting performances that show Petrenko has a fine future in Liverpool

The youngest (and surely the tallest) chief conductor in the RLPO’s history, Vasily Petrenko has been generating great excitement on Merseyside. Here is the first recorded evidence that the partnership is really working. Taped live at what was only his third Liverpool date since taking over, this collaboration with the European Opera Centre, now based at Liverpool Hope University, is one of the best things to come out of Shostakovich anniversary year, a pair of genuine rarities in charismatic performances.

Both pieces tell us much about Shostakovich the man. The
Read more composer fleshed out the score of Rothschild’s Violin after Fleishman, his most promising pupil, died in combat, an early victim of Nazi Germany’s invasion of its Soviet “ally”. This was a labour of love, perhaps something more. The trials and tribulations of its flute-playing anti-hero may lie behind Shostakovich’s subsequent infatuation with Judaic archetypes quite as much as the revelation of the Holocaust per se. The orchestral postlude is essential listening. In 1941-42 Shostakovich did not get beyond the wordy first act of The Gamblers, his second Gogol opera of which there exists a speculative completion by his friend Krzysztof Meyer (Capriccio, 6/95). That said, the project’s very existence puts the Lady Macbeth affair into a subtly different perspective, making us question its supposed effect on his psyche.

Russian and Eastern European cast members contribute varying degrees of vibrato. That both renditions seem so authentic has much to do with the extraordinary pizzazz and commitment of the orchestral playing. The sound is first-rate too, even when the semi-staged presentation results in some lack of focus. The otherwise unimpeachable packaging contains cued translations in lieu of the original Russian texts. Strongly recommended.

-- David Gutman, Gramophone [7/2007]
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Works on This Recording

Rothschild's Violin by Benjamin Fleischmann
Performer:  Lewis James Quinn (Voice), Kevin Matthews (Tenor), Alastair McCall (Baritone),
Oliver Kuusik (Tenor), Michal Lehotsky (Tenor), Andris Lapins (Tenor),
Elena Gabouri (Mezzo Soprano), Jacek Janiszewski (Bass)
Conductor:  Vasily Petrenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USSR 
The Gamblers, Op 63b by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Peter Danailov (Baritone), Alexei Ekkel (Bass Balalaika), Roman Astakhov (Bass),
Andris Lapins (Tenor), Jacek Janiszewski (Bass), Michal Lehotsky (Tenor),
Piotr Nowacki (Bass)
Conductor:  Vasily Petrenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941-1942; Russia 

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