Sunday, 26 January 2014

Lisa Batiashvili

For me, although there are many, many first class violin concertos, there are only three great ones: those of Beethoven, Brahms and the first concerto of Shostakovich. I have multiple recorded versions of all of them, of course, including 43 of the Shostakovich concerto. This evening I listened to a performance of the Shostakovich by Lisa Batiashvili; she achieves the remarkable feat of being my preferred violinist for modern recordings of all three great concertos: Beethoven, Brahms and Shostakovich.

Batiashvili is, of course, a superb violinist. She makes a lovely sound. She is intensely musical, and everything she does is dictated by the work she is playing, not by a desire to grand-stand or to impress. Her playing is marked by a very high degree of intellectual concentration. In a crowded field of exceptional modern violinists, she has always been my favourite, and this evening I was glued to every note of Shostakovich's familiar A minor concerto.

It's a shame that, even though of Georgian origin, she seems never to have played or recorded the almost unknown F minor violin concerto by Otar Taktakishvili -- a concerto seemingly only ever recorded by Liana Isakadze. If Batiashvili will not play it; who will? I love it.

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