You should try Boris Tishchenko. He was the closest and I think favourite pupil of Shostakovich, and published a book of correspondence with him. His works are long, ingeniously devised pieces for solo, chamber and orchestral forces. They often start out with a very simple theme, or perhaps more accurately a fragment of a theme, and build up to very powerful emotional climaxes before subsiding. Perhaps his best known work and my favourite by far is his Violin Concerto No. 2, once available on Olympia but long deleted. It is a 50-minute work which ranges from impish fun to harrowing outbursts (and if I am going to be honest, the second movement violin cadenza is rather tiresome) and overall it has a very strong impact. It has gained something of a cult following in the classical music world.

The Russian label Northern Flowers has released several recordings including a few symphonies and a ballet (I heard the ballet but it did not leave much of an impression at the time). There is also a disc of Rostropovich conducting his Cello Concerto No. 2 and this I found just plain shit; too repetitive (he often repeats figures to build them up, and it went way too far here) and not as intense as I would have expected.

Olympia also released his Symphony No. 5 conducted by Rozhdestvensky but I have yet to hear that. I have a couple of CDs of his piano sonatas too, one of them with bells, a huge 50-minute piece which I found more testing than The Anatomy of Melancholy. I listened to it twice, never again. Well, I did try.

If you like Shostakovich, you might like Tishchenko, as he shares a similar feel in terms of humour and intensity.

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