Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto: A Youthful Romp

An infectious lightness of spirit pervades Dmitri Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Major, Op. 102. It’s music which takes us on a brief, jubilant romp filled with youthful vitality, cheerful and quirky voices, and unabashed humor. It sparkles with a witty Haydnesque classicism. The lushly beautiful second movement moves into a space of dreamy intimacy and warmth. Shostakovich composed this music in 1957 in celebration of the 19th birthday of …

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Beethoven’s “Spring” Sonata: Isabelle Faust

A continuous vibrato is one of the key elements of modern violin playing. So it’s easy to forget that there was a time when vibrato was used much more sparingly as an ornament. Listen to German violinist Joseph Joachim’s 1903 recordings of Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 1 and No 2 and you’ll hear this older approach to sound. In a 2011 interview, German violinist Isabelle Faust discusses Joachim’s insistence on strict tempos and limited vibrato in Brahms’ …

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