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Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906 – 1975)
Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 110a (arr. From String Quartet No. 8 by Rudolf BARSHAI) 1960.
Chamber Symphony No. 2, Op. 73 (arr. From String Quartet No. 3 by Vladimir MILMAN) 1946.
Rodian SHCHEDRIN (b. 1932)

Music for the city of Cöthen (1822)
Karl Amadeus HARTMANN (1905 - 1963)

Concerto funèbre for Violin and String Orchestra (1939)
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882 - 1971)

Concerto for Strings (1946)
Alfred SCHNITTKE (b. 1934)

Suite in the Old Style (transcription by V. SPIVAKOV and M. MILMAN). 1972
Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935)

Collage on the Theme of B-A-C-H (1964)
Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten (1976)
Edison DENISOV (1929 - 1996)

Variations on a Canon of Haydn
Virtuosi of Moscow/Vladimir Spivakov.
Recorded 1988 - 1993. DDD
RCA RED SEAL ARTISTES REPERTOIRE 82876 502682 [76.01 + 75.36].


This is another in the budget RCA series issued by BMG France. It is a two disc set issued in a cardboard gatefold sleeve, with the usual garish sleeve design. As usual the notes are impossible to read (in French only) more because of the font and size rather than the language. Unlike some of the other issues in this series where the transfers have been none too effective, this issue seems not to be too bad.

This is a collection of what would now be considered mainstream contemporary works for small orchestra. The performances have previously been issued on separate discs by BMG. Comparing the current double with the earlier discs there is very little in the sonics to complain about. The performances too have an authority about them. All in all, this compilation is very competitive in the current marketplace.

Spivakov and his band have toured Europe extensively and are well known to aficionados of this kind of repertoire. There are competitive versions of most of these works around, but none in vastly superior form. Some of the transcriptions are by Spivakov himself (Schnittke). The arrangement of the Shostakovich String Quartet No.3, Op 73 is by Vladimir Milman, who has taken Barshai’s arrangement for wind and strings, and reduced it for strings only; so we have here something a little out of the ordinary.

The Shchedrin work was written for the tricentenary of the birth of J. S. Bach, and is an effective piece, just under twenty minutes duration in three movements.

The main attraction for most people will be the pair of Shostakovich symphonies and the Arvo Pärt pieces. Suffice to say these are done expertly, without being in the absolute highest category. However given the low price of this set, it can be purchased safely, secure in the knowledge that much enjoyment may be had from its contents. Spivakov himself is the very competent soloist in the Hartmann Concerto funèbre.

John Phillips

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