Author Topic: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise  (Read 139679 times)

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George

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2007, 05:41:43 PM »
I have not finished Haitink's cycle (only have four of them), but his will be my direction over the next few years.  Thanks for the review George.  I thought I was missing something, but Haitink seems to be the perfect fit for me based on your post.

Yeah, I have noticed that with this composers works that there are very different interpretations. Some are much better suited to my taste, so I know what you mean.   

DavidW

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2007, 06:10:46 PM »
The only thing I can add to this discussion is that outside the box Mravinsky is worth hearing.

Karl, have you heard Mravinsky in Shostakovich?  If so, did you like his style of conducting?

Steve

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2007, 07:45:27 PM »
Steve - OK, I was about to 'buy into' the Barshai set in the past, now the Jansons recordings interest me - both received 4+* on Amazon, and are about $50 or so on their Market Place, so cost not an issue.  I own Jansons in other recordings - so, would Jansons be a good 'first' choice in these works?  Thanks - Dave  :)

Quite frankly either set could serve as a 'first' choice, but if I had to pick between the two, I would go with the Jansons. While I enjoy the raw power of the Barshai in the later symphonies- the Jansons really is a first-rate set from start to finish. For the early symphonies, (especially 2, 3, 6) , I simply cannot overstate the stirring effect of listening to the Jansons rendition. Listening to Jansons really opened my eyes to the beauty of some of the lesser known symphonies. Jansons intimate orchestration, really helped me expand my appreciation for these works. For a single set, Jansons simply can't be beat. In the future, picking up a more charged performance like Mravinsky or Haitnik might be a wonderful contrast, but I can't think of a more complete package than the Jansons. I simply cannot say enough about it.

Hope this helps.  :)

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2007, 08:14:14 PM »
Rather than write anew about Barshai, Jansons, and Haitink, I ask pardons for a cut & paste job from the old board:


Haitink is the the strictest of the three. He keeps a very watchful eye on the musical line and allows nothing of an exaggerated nature to get by. He's content with making his musical points from the inside-out and substitites fireworks for a strong sense of architecture...as well as providing a level of refinement that's second to none. I wouldn't say his approach is 'deliberate' for that connotes 'yawnsville'. No, the guiding hand that is Haitink is too imaginative for that. But it takes patience. It's not Shostakovich with the burners on, here. It must unfold at a decent pace or the effect is nil.

As far as Jansons he sees things through a more dynamically diverse lens than Haitink. More kaleidoscopic and rhythmically contrasting. More, well, "elbow room" to his approach. Refinement, as such, is less prominent. But nothing is left to chance and everyting sounds beautifully thought-out.

Barshai has bits of both approaches in his renditions. Greater dynamics and bolder than either yet all the while keeping everything tucked and organized with a fine muscular grip. Contrasts swing wide and sound more, well, "Russian" yet transparency is an essential ingredient in his approach. We can see straight through Shostakovich's complex and multi-layered textures and are granted an 'insiders' view of the workings. It's a thrill.

But which to choose? Well, I'd hate to be without any of the three (though I still lack a few of Haitink's). None seem to have a price advantage though Barshai used to be THE super-budget buy. Apparently that isn't the case anymore.



« Last Edit: April 29, 2007, 06:25:25 AM by donwyn »
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Don

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2007, 08:19:15 PM »
I have heard some of his work with other composers, but not with DSCH.

Do you have the Aulos issue?

Yes.

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #25 on: April 25, 2007, 08:45:25 PM »
As far as Gergiev, I have his 4, 5, 7, & 9 and enjoy his undeniable sense of commitment. To my ears he's cut from the same "urgent" cloth as some of the other Russians but with a level of refinement and understatement that is most becoming of Shostakovich's soundworld.

Plenty of color, too.

Drawbacks? Some people lament the sound on one or two of the recordings but I've never found reason for complaint.


Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Danny

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2007, 10:16:02 PM »
The Haitnik set just arrived; will let you know what I think! :)

Offline david johnson

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2007, 12:06:44 AM »
go barshai for a box and supplement w/various single performances.

dj

Offline alkan

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #28 on: April 26, 2007, 01:50:08 AM »
Just a mention for the Sanderling set.      This is not complete   (1, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 15 only), but I found it to be an amazing experience.   Sanderling knew the composer closely and lived through the same era in Russia.       The readings are generally quite sombre and in some cases quite the opposite of "traditional" readings.     The most spectacular examples are the finale of the 5th  (starts fast, but the end is grotesquely slow, powerful, artificial and despairing ...... quite shattering compared to, say, Kondrashin) and the first movement of the 15th (not a hilarious pastiche of musical quotations ..... Shostakovich said to imagine a toy shop, but Sanderling imagines it to be filled with dead puppets being jerked around ..... it is quite macabre) and the end of the 15th  (an image of life (Shostakovich's) slowly expiring in a hospital ..... the percussion represents life-support machines .... a horrible image).

I know it all sounds quite macabre, but I believe that Sanderling got closer to the real Shostakovich than any conductor.   

Outside of this, my highlights are Kondrashin in the 8th (the second allegro is awesome ..... at the climax the tom-tom pounds away monstrously like a gigantic machine running out of control ..... I have never heard this in other recordings ... even Sanderling),
and Kondrashin in the 4th ..... a fantastic version, although the sound shows its age.         
The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.
Harlan Ellison (1934 - )

Harry

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #29 on: April 26, 2007, 02:01:50 AM »
Barshai is for me the set!
And plenty of sets to complement it. :)

Steve

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #30 on: April 26, 2007, 03:40:08 AM »
Barshai is for me the set!
And plenty of sets to complement it. :)

Harry, have you heard the Jansons? I, too enjoyed the Barshai, but with the Jansons you get a first rate orchestra and significantly better sound quality.

Harry

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2007, 03:49:53 AM »
Harry, have you heard the Jansons? I, too enjoyed the Barshai, but with the Jansons you get a first rate orchestra and significantly better sound quality.

The Jansons is a fine set overall, no doubt about that my friend.
That said, the orchestra Barshai works with is a excellent one, and the sound is very good too, so I have no complains there, furthermore the way Barshai handles the music, his lucidness, and firm tight lines brings a openness to the music, that allows me to dive deeper into the emotional side of Shostakovich. Second on my list is Haitink, before Jansons, for Haitink brings saneness into the sometimes hectic music, and finds rest in places that appeal hugely to me. Thirdly comes Klaus Tenstedt, for the fire and passion, and the logical approach.
So better sound quality with Jansons as with Barshai?, well not for me. :)

karlhenning

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #32 on: April 26, 2007, 03:54:43 AM »
Strength: entire set costs about the same as a SINGLE CD from Hyperion !
Weakness: None whatsover.

Nah, the clarinetist of the WDR Symphony isn't quite clean in the hot solo which opens the Presto third movement.  The point could be debated, but I'd call that a weakness rather than a fine point.  YMMV, of course.

Mind you, I do not know the entire set, and there is a lot of good stuff in what I have heard in the set.  And one might well feel that the price justifies such weaknesses as there may be.

Steve

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #33 on: April 26, 2007, 03:59:50 AM »
The Jansons is a fine set overall, no doubt about that my friend.
That said, the orchestra Barshai works with is a excellent one, and the sound is very good too, so I have no complains there, furthermore the way Barshai handles the music, his lucidness, and firm tight lines brings a openness to the music, that allows me to dive deeper into the emotional side of Shostakovich. Second on my list is Haitink, before Jansons, for Haitink brings saneness into the sometimes hectic music, and finds rest in places that appeal hugely to me. Thirdly comes Klaus Tenstedt, for the fire and passion, and the logical approach.
So better sound quality with Jansons as with Barshai?, well not for me. :)

Still, its nice to have the BPO backing any recording  :)

Harry

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #34 on: April 26, 2007, 04:14:44 AM »
Still, its nice to have the BPO backing any recording  :)

Of course it is Steve! :)

karlhenning

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #35 on: April 26, 2007, 04:15:34 AM »
Haitink is the the strictest of the three. He keeps a very watchful eye on the musical line and allows nothing of an exaggerated nature to get by. He's content with making his musical points from the inside-out and substitites fireworks for a strong sense of architecture...as well as providing a level of refinement that's second to none. I wouldn't say his approach is 'deliberate' for that connotes 'yawnsville'. No, the guiding hand that is Haitink is too imaginative for that. But it takes patience. It's not Shostakovich with the burners on, here. It must be allowed unfold at a decent pace or the effect is nil.

I’d like to add the odd comment.  I think actually that Haitink’s architecture works splendidly in (say) the Seventh and Eighth, particularly.  The first movement of the Seventh is tough to carry off, and if Haitink does not quite achieve the brillance of either Ančerl (in the celebrated mono recording) or of the Gergiev/Mariinka performance I heard live in Worcester, Mass, Haitink’s is nonetheless a high success.  Haitink’s Eighth I’d call roughly on par with the Jansons (with the Pittsburgh Symphony).  I’ve not heard strings sound as good in the Fourteenth as the Concertgebouw in the HaitinkHaitink’s Thirteenth is overall a marvelous job.

Quote from: donwyn
As far as Jansons he sees things through a more dynamically diverse lens than Haitink. More kaleidoscopic and rhythmically contrasting. More, well, "elbow room" to his approach. Refinement, as such, is less prominent. But nothing is left to chance and everyting sounds beautifully thought-out.


That is certainly the case of those few Jansons recordings I've heard: the Eighth, and a particularly outstanding Tenth and Fifteenth.

Steve

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #36 on: April 26, 2007, 04:17:20 AM »
I?d like to add the odd comment.  I think actually that Haitink?s architecture works splendidly in (say) the Seventh and Eighth, particularly.  The first movement of the Seventh is tough to carry off, and if Haitink does not quite achieve the brillance of either An?erl (in the celebrated mono recording) or of the Gergiev/Mariinka performance I heard live in Worcester, Mass, Haitink?s is nonetheless a high success.  Haitink?s Eighth I?d call roughly on par with the Jansons (with the Pittsburgh Symphony).  I?ve not heard strings sound as good in the Fourteenth as the Concertgebouw in the HaitinkHaitink?s Thirteenth is overall a marvelous job.
 

That is certainly the case of those few Jansons recordings I've heard: the Eighth, and a particularly outstanding Tenth and Fifteenth.

Then, Karl, you must try Jansons in the 14th. Just revisisted it again this morning. Wonderfully inspiring.  :)

karlhenning

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #37 on: April 26, 2007, 04:18:16 AM »
So better sound quality with Jansons as with Barshai?

From what I've heard of both, yes, I think so.

karlhenning

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #38 on: April 26, 2007, 04:19:23 AM »
And has anyone had experience with the Rostropovich set?

karlhenning

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #39 on: April 26, 2007, 04:21:07 AM »
Karl, have you heard Mravinsky in Shostakovich?  If so, did you like his style of conducting?

Only the Fifth and the Eleventh.  Both very fine interpretations;  I only wish the condition of both orchestra and recording were better!