SHOSTAKOVICH Violin Concerto No 1. Preludes
After the sensibly national programming of her first disc for Universal’s Madrid-based arm, a collection entitled ‘Spanish Landscapes’, Leticia Moreno may have been over-hasty in sanctioning the release of this live St Petersburg collaboration with Yuri Temirkanov and the local Philharmonic. Mstislav Rostropovich was apparently a teacher and mentor, so she certainly has the connections.
Partly because we’ve grown used to concert recordings which are extensively doctored in post-production, this one sounds all too real. The noises off are actually less distracting than the soloist’s technical problems. She is a feisty, fully engaged player who generates real excitement as the performance proceeds but a palpably nervous start brings serious lapses in intonation, while the close miking necessary to bolster her rather fragile, quavery tone renders audible every intake of breath. The finale is nothing if not challengingly quick.
The studio-made coupling with pianist Lauma Skride is more polished (though still breathy) and the performers’ essentially lyrical approach makes a plausible alternative to the larger-than-life projection of Benjamin Schmid with Lisa Smirnova (Ondine, 5/15). The present selection is also more generous, including all but one of the 19 arrangements by Dmitri Tsyganov plus a transcription by Lera Auerbach. That said, the main work is wholly uncompetitive unless you happen to be following Miss Moreno’s career. The booklet, in Spanish, Russian and (not always idiomatic) English, includes an informal interview with all three named artists. And there are plentiful images of a soloist credited by Le Figaro with ‘the smouldering gaze of one of Almodóvar’s heroines’.