Author Topic: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise  (Read 183167 times)

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Offline Daverz

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #1520 on: January 29, 2020, 01:34:51 PM »
The latest Kondrashin transfers seem to have come up really well.  The ones I've heard so far anyway, via Spotify which has the 11-CD box:



Comparing Stepan Razin with my own needledrop (which is pretty damn good by the way) the sound from this box set is audibly and measurably improved - whilst still of course being 'of its time'.  I also listened to the Kondrashin Symphony 11 recently - that is a bit fierce-sounding but it suits the music and this rather hectic performance I suppose. At least you can hear all the music without forever fiddling with the volume control - which is a real problem in most modern recordings of this symphony - Petrenko being a typical example - the dynamic range is far too wide for comfortable home listening, a particular difficulty with this symphony since the first half-hour is almost unremitting pp.

I don't know which if any of the individual Kondrashin discs are the same transfer as that (too expensive) box set.

Ah, it's on Qobuz now.  I don't remember seeing it there before.

Here's the other 13 with Gromadsky:



https://open.qobuz.com/album/0888002872999 (if it's on Qobuz, it's probably on spotify).

Another interesting dark-horse cycle is the Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra:



https://open.qobuz.com/album/tgsy0060w7v5b

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #1521 on: January 30, 2020, 03:57:29 AM »
Yes I have enjoyed several of the performances from that Sladkovsky cycle, over the last year or so.  Completely idiomatic, and interesting to experience the 'modern Melodiya' sound which suits the music so well.

In general though I think that DSCH's symphonic output is so uneven that cycles are not the way to go - however much of a bargain (eg Barshai) there is about 50% of the material I would just never listen to.  Instead I prefer:
Symphony 1: Ormandy, Caetani or Wigglesworth
Symphony 5: Previn 1st recording (RCA)
Symphony 6: Petrenko, or Wigglesworth
Symphony 8: Previn 1st recording (EMI), or Caetani
Symphony 9: Caetani, or Kondrashin
Symphony 10: Svetlanov
Symphony 11: De Priest 1st recording (Helsinki PO, Delos)
Symphony 15: Sanderling - or anyone really, for this most marvelous swansong

Offline relm1

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #1522 on: January 30, 2020, 06:37:00 AM »
Yes I have enjoyed several of the performances from that Sladkovsky cycle, over the last year or so.  Completely idiomatic, and interesting to experience the 'modern Melodiya' sound which suits the music so well.

In general though I think that DSCH's symphonic output is so uneven that cycles are not the way to go - however much of a bargain (eg Barshai) there is about 50% of the material I would just never listen to.  Instead I prefer:
Symphony 1: Ormandy, Caetani or Wigglesworth
Symphony 5: Previn 1st recording (RCA)
Symphony 6: Petrenko, or Wigglesworth
Symphony 8: Previn 1st recording (EMI), or Caetani
Symphony 9: Caetani, or Kondrashin
Symphony 10: Svetlanov
Symphony 11: De Priest 1st recording (Helsinki PO, Delos)
Symphony 15: Sanderling - or anyone really, for this most marvelous swansong

Fascinating.  I wouldn't pick any of your choices but yet they all make sense too.  I guess that means the cycles are extremely well represented when my anything from my top five choices are still excellent.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #1523 on: January 30, 2020, 09:10:09 AM »
Yes I have enjoyed several of the performances from that Sladkovsky cycle, over the last year or so.  Completely idiomatic, and interesting to experience the 'modern Melodiya' sound which suits the music so well.

In general though I think that DSCH's symphonic output is so uneven that cycles are not the way to go - however much of a bargain (eg Barshai) there is about 50% of the material I would just never listen to.  Instead I prefer:
Symphony 1: Ormandy, Caetani or Wigglesworth
Symphony 5: Previn 1st recording (RCA)
Symphony 6: Petrenko, or Wigglesworth
Symphony 8: Previn 1st recording (EMI), or Caetani
Symphony 9: Caetani, or Kondrashin
Symphony 10: Svetlanov
Symphony 11: De Priest 1st recording (Helsinki PO, Delos)
Symphony 15: Sanderling - or anyone really, for this most marvelous swansong

In complete agreement with you over the value/quality of the Sladkovsky cycle - and his survey of all 6 concerti with 6 different young players is quite excellent too.  I don't buy into the unevenness of the DSCH cycle as a premise.  That assumes all symphonies written by one composer should have a degree of sameness about them.  I completely accept that you happen not to enjoy quite a few of the symphonies but that is surely more down to personal taste rather than objective assessments.  I enjoy ALL of the symphonies - I've said on this forum before that for me DSCH more than any other composer I can think of wrote music that was a direct reflection of the time and place in which he lived and the music is consequently directly linked to that.  That doesn't make it better or worse - simply his response to the there and then.

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #1524 on: January 30, 2020, 10:32:35 AM »
Rostropovich never seems to get mentioned, but I live all that I've heard of it. Most recently listened to #15.

Offline Brian

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #1525 on: January 30, 2020, 12:03:40 PM »
Chandos appears to be starting a new cycle with John Storgards and the BBC Philharmonic. Starting with #11 in March. Not sure those are the artists I would choose for a new cycle, but...okay.

Offline Daverz

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #1526 on: January 30, 2020, 12:36:12 PM »
Rostropovich never seems to get mentioned, but I live all that I've heard of it. Most recently listened to #15.

I admit I bought the Rostropovich box to get the 14th with Vishnevskaya and Reshetin.

Offline Irons

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #1527 on: January 31, 2020, 12:59:39 AM »
I admit I bought the Rostropovich box to get the 14th with Vishnevskaya and Reshetin.

A very special performance and recording too.

You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #1528 on: January 31, 2020, 01:54:05 AM »
Chandos appears to be starting a new cycle with John Storgards and the BBC Philharmonic. Starting with #11 in March. Not sure those are the artists I would choose for a new cycle, but...okay.

That's the "one-more-wafer-thin-mint" of cycles.  No matter how good it is, I can't justify the expense of this.  But I bet they find some USP of digging out "never before recorded" fragments of things you've never known you'd missed... so temptation will start whispering......!

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #1529 on: January 31, 2020, 07:36:59 AM »
That's the "one-more-wafer-thin-mint" of cycles.  No matter how good it is, I can't justify the expense of this.  But I bet they find some USP of digging out "never before recorded" fragments of things you've never known you'd missed... so temptation will start whispering......!

There is no justification: we enjoy a glut of good cycles.  They see sales opportunities, is all.
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Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #1530 on: January 31, 2020, 08:17:21 AM »
Rostropovich never seems to get mentioned, but I live all that I've heard of it. Most recently listened to #15.

Along with Rozhdesvensky's, Slava's is my favorite cycle. I especially love his first five and last five. His Sixth was the only disappointment.

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Offline Daverz

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #1531 on: January 31, 2020, 01:01:03 PM »
Yes I have enjoyed several of the performances from that Sladkovsky cycle, over the last year or so.  Completely idiomatic, and interesting to experience the 'modern Melodiya' sound which suits the music so well.

In general though I think that DSCH's symphonic output is so uneven that cycles are not the way to go - however much of a bargain (eg Barshai) there is about 50% of the material I would just never listen to.  Instead I prefer:
Symphony 1: Ormandy, Caetani or Wigglesworth
Symphony 5: Previn 1st recording (RCA)
Symphony 6: Petrenko, or Wigglesworth
Symphony 8: Previn 1st recording (EMI), or Caetani
Symphony 9: Caetani, or Kondrashin
Symphony 10: Svetlanov
Symphony 11: De Priest 1st recording (Helsinki PO, Delos)
Symphony 15: Sanderling - or anyone really, for this most marvelous swansong

I also think highly of that Previn 5th, but I'm a sucker for most new recordings of the work.  I think the last one was Urbanski.

For 1, I'd also single out Martinon.

For 8, everyone should at least hear the Mravinsky that was on Philips, though get a later issue that fixed the pitch problems:

https://altocd.com/product/alc1150

If you mean the 1966 Svetlanov 10th, I'm all in.  That is available for download as FLAC from Qobuz (and MP3 from various places if that's your thing.)

https://open.qobuz.com/album/0888003493483

Kondrashin also recorded 9 with the Concertgebouw.
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Offline aukhawk

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Re: Shostakovich Symphonies, Cycles & Otherwise
« Reply #1532 on: February 01, 2020, 05:26:11 AM »
I'll look out that Mravinsky 8th (well, found it cheaper on Amazon and ordered it)



I've always admired the Leningrad PO, saw them live in the early '70s and they were drilled to perfection even then, after Mravinsky's time.  Thrilling to watch.  I note the review remarks on how fast Mravinsky drives this music along, but its notable just comparing timings that Caetani (also live) is actually significantly quicker in every movement and a whole 4m30 quicker than Mravinsky in the opening Adagio. 
I also have Previn's second recording of the 8th (on DG) following some mentions of it in the composer thread, but this is just not a contender at all - completely lacking in any kind of energy, Shostakovich played like Delius - almost shocking really it so much misses the mark.
My first encounter with the 8th was the Kondrashin recording which was itself a very good one (and the only practical option for some years), but then when the Previn was released on EMI it seemed to me to be an improvement in every way.  But a lot of that was just the newer recording with cleaner climaxes, and if the Kondrashin has been remastered it might be a closer call.

I saw Sanderling conduct the 15th - during his tenure as conductor of the BBC Phil - and at the finish as the music winds down, there was a sense of everyone in the audience collectively holding their breath - wonderful moment.

Straying well out of my comfort zome I listened to the 13th yesterday (the Caetani recording) and did actually find a lot to enjoy.  This particular recording is a sonic spectacular by the way.  If I had to comit to a cycle (which as stated above, I wouldn't want to) it would be Caetani for me.  Though with the health warning that he is unremittingly speedy.



Even further out of my comfort zone I'll look out that Rostropovich 14th with his good lady wife taking top billing - Britten's War Requiem made me a huge fan of Vishnevskaya.  But I do find any music that depends on vocal content (solo vocal I mean, not choral) very challenging.  That's why I have avoided the 13th and 14th.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2020, 05:30:01 AM by aukhawk »