Sunday, 7 October 2012

Richter, Bashmet, Kagan, Shostakovich

Regis Records is a small British company that specialises in remastering and reissuing older recordings at extremely reasonable prices. From my experience, the remastering is also done with skill and taste. Latest acquisition is a splendid CD of Shostakovich's late violin & piano sonata, with his very late viola & piano sonata. Pianist in both cases is the incomparable Sviatoslav Richter. Violinist is Oleg Kagan (1985 public performance in Moscow) and, in the viola sonata,Yuri Bashmet (same place, 1982). These are truly classic performances of two great works. Neither Kagan nor Basmet have featured among my favourite performers but here, in the 1980s in front of a Russian audience and with Richter the exemplary partner, they both triumph.

For Melodiya recordings at public concerts in the 1980s, the recordings are excellent (I noticed only one disturbing cough). The remastering (by Paul Arden-Taylor) is very good indeed. The price – I paid £5.50 for my copy – is remarkable. “You get what you pay for” is not always true. Two superb performances of two superb works for the price of four litres of diesel fuel is the bargain of the century. The disc goes into my “never be without” rack.

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