Author Topic: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise  (Read 159900 times)

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Michel

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #60 on: April 27, 2007, 02:16:09 AM »
I have recently purchased the Barshai set and I don't think it is all that it is cranked up to be. The only real reason to buy it is the price, since if you really want a Russian recording, I see no reason not to get Kondrashin.

I don't know all the symphonies well and some not at all, but for those I do know, I really do quite like Haitink. His 5th, for example, is very satisfying (despite the fact that some people slag it off); his sense and straightforward approach is quite refreshing in a catalogue of Russian conductors who sound like they are on crack cocaine. And there is definately a power in these interpretations; Haitink takes a slow burning, controlled Karajan-esqe approachas opposed to the explosions of Kondrashin, for example. And I think that suits the 5th. I would also imagine that it also suits the 15th but I have not heard it.

Nevertheless, I still think in some of the symphonies, nobody comes close to Mravinsky, who is an absolutely wonderful conductor in my view (having enjoyed a drive home last night listening to his brilliant Tchaikovsky 5). His Shostakovich 8th is unsurpassed. Bleak, harrowing and brillianty performed; so much so it seems absurd listening to it in the summer. It is definately one for longsome dark winter nights.Try comparing that particular recording with Barshai; it makes the latter's interpretation seem like a nursery rhyme.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2007, 02:19:07 AM by Michel »

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #61 on: April 27, 2007, 05:36:27 AM »
I have recently purchased the Barshai set and I don't think it is all that it is cranked up to be. The only real reason to buy it is the price...

Nevertheless, I still think in some of the symphonies, nobody comes close to Mravinsky, who is an absolutely wonderful conductor in my view (having enjoyed a drive home last night listening to his brilliant Tchaikovsky 5). His Shostakovich 8th is unsurpassed. Bleak, harrowing and brillianty performed; so much so it seems absurd listening to it in the summer. It is definately one for longsome dark winter nights.Try comparing that particular recording with Barshai; it makes the latter's interpretation seem like a nursery rhyme.

Which Mravinsky 8th? I have his Philips recording and putting that along side Barshai makes Mravinsky seem banal.

And the Barshai set isn't so cheap anymore (at least in the States). So budgetary consideration is no longer the prime reason for buying this set. It's the quality of Barshai's performances that make it recommendable.



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

George

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #62 on: April 27, 2007, 05:43:58 AM »
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 t[h]rill.


I sure like the sound of this, Don. Have you heard the Kondrashin?  If so, how does he fit into the mix?

Michel

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #63 on: April 27, 2007, 06:53:44 AM »
Which Mravinsky 8th? I have his Philips recording and putting that along side Barshai makes Mravinsky seem banal.

And the Barshai set isn't so cheap anymore (at least in the States). So budgetary consideration is no longer the prime reason for buying this set. It's the quality of Barshai's performances that make it recommendable.

What do you mean by Banal? And, as George said, are you suggesting Barshai should be selected over Kondrashin?! Thats madness!
« Last Edit: April 27, 2007, 07:29:12 AM by Michel »

Harry

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #64 on: April 27, 2007, 08:13:48 AM »
Which Mravinsky 8th? I have his Philips recording and putting that along side Barshai makes Mravinsky seem banal.

And the Barshai set isn't so cheap anymore (at least in the States). So budgetary consideration is no longer the prime reason for buying this set. It's the quality of Barshai's performances that make it recommendable.





Agreed wholeheartily. :)

Harry

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #65 on: April 27, 2007, 08:17:33 AM »
What do you mean by Banal? And, as George said, are you suggesting Barshai should be selected over Kondrashin?! Thats madness!

I put it the other way around my friend, the opinion that Barshai is below Kondrashin is madness!
I cannot expect that everyone has the same opinion, and that's fine, but to annihilate the efforts of Barshai is indeed banal.

George

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #66 on: April 27, 2007, 08:40:09 AM »
What do you mean by Banal? And, as George said, are you suggesting Barshai should be selected over Kondrashin?! Thats madness!

You misunderstand George.

He never said any such thing.  :-\

Michel

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #67 on: April 27, 2007, 08:57:32 AM »
I put it the other way around my friend, the opinion that Barshai is below Kondrashin is madness!
I cannot expect that everyone has the same opinion, and that's fine, but to annihilate the efforts of Barshai is indeed banal.

Right, thats it. I've just ordered Haitink and Kondrashin. I'm going to put this issue to bed over the next few months!!!  ;D ;D

karlhenning

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #68 on: April 27, 2007, 09:01:27 AM »
We will read the results of your discovery of these sets with interest, Michel:)

Michel

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #69 on: April 27, 2007, 09:02:02 AM »
Thanks Karl, I think I'll do a symphony by symphony approach, starting with those I know best. The 5th, 8th, 11th and 15th. Also, does anyone have a view on Rozhdestvensky?
« Last Edit: April 27, 2007, 09:07:37 AM by Michel »

karlhenning

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #70 on: April 27, 2007, 09:21:51 AM »
I've heard his Shostakovich Fourth, which is very good, though again one wishes the orchestra and recording were a match for the conductor.

And of course he's great on the megaphone in J√§rvi's recording of the Prokofiev October Cantata  ;)

Steve

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #71 on: April 27, 2007, 11:16:31 AM »
Right, thats it. I've just ordered Haitink and Kondrashin. I'm going to put this issue to bed over the next few months!!!  ;D ;D

When you revisit it, perhps you will give the Jansons a listen?

Michel

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #72 on: April 27, 2007, 11:20:35 AM »
When you revisit it, perhps you will give the Jansons a listen?

Which symphony, or do you mean all of them!?

Steve

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #73 on: April 27, 2007, 11:29:08 AM »
Nos 14 and 15 would do.  :)

Michel

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #74 on: April 27, 2007, 12:09:50 PM »
Nos 14 and 15 would do.  :)

I saw Jansons do Mahler 6th a couple of years ago; a good, very good performance but not amazingly memorable. I would quite like to hear him in 15, certainly, I could see that as enjoyable. Not so sure about the more extreme symphonies, though.

Offline MishaK

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #75 on: April 27, 2007, 12:14:49 PM »
I heard Jansons live with the Concertgebouw at Carnegie do a phenomenal 7th, February last year. Absolutely superlative playing by the orchestra. I gather there is a live recording on the RCO live label, but I haven't heard that or any of his other Shosty recordings, so I don't know how they measure up to my live experience.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2007, 01:55:43 PM by O Mensch »

Michel

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #76 on: April 27, 2007, 01:51:57 PM »
Oh good lord I've got a problem. I've just ordered Jansons complete cycle too. So in one day I've ordered three complete cycles!!!!!

Still, this was relatively cheap too, so what the heck!

Online SonicMan46

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #77 on: April 27, 2007, 02:00:24 PM »
Oh good lord I've got a problem. I've just ordered Jansons complete cycle too. So in one day I've ordered three complete cycles!!!!!

Still, this was relatively cheap too, so what the heck!

Michel - GREAT!  I was 'eyeing' that Jansons cycle for my initial choice of a complete set, so will look forward to your comments on his performances, and of course the other sets purchased!  :D

Steve

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #78 on: April 27, 2007, 02:05:35 PM »
Oh good lord I've got a problem. I've just ordered Jansons complete cycle too. So in one day I've ordered three complete cycles!!!!!

Still, this was relatively cheap too, so what the heck!

Wise choice  :)

Offline Brewski

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #79 on: April 27, 2007, 02:11:14 PM »
I heard Jansons live with the Concertgebouw at Carnegie do a phenomenal 7th, February last year. Absolutely superlative playing by the orchestra. I gather there is a live recording on the RCO live label, but I haven't heard that or any of his other Shosty recordings, so I don't know how they measure up to my live experience.

I was at that concert, too!   :o

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