Author Topic: Dmitri's Dacha  (Read 465392 times)

0 Members and 3 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline Scion7

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2258
  • "A vér az élet."
  • Location: Borgó Pass
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2400 on: September 19, 2020, 08:14:12 AM »


How does this one compare?  The only one I have - never picked it up on LP.
Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 18704
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2401 on: September 19, 2020, 01:49:02 PM »


How does this one compare?  The only one I have - never picked it up on LP.

Not sure but I have the Janson's box set of Shostakovich symphonies and will give it a spin, although I find it hard to imagine how Ashkenazy's relentless build up of the first movement can be improved upon - I've never heard anything like it.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline relm1

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1213
  • Location: California
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2402 on: September 19, 2020, 03:12:09 PM »
Everything in Testimony has been verified via other sources.
That's documented.  The facts can be documented without everyone agreeing that Shostakovich wrote the memoir.
Please .... this is a pointless discussion unless you've read the work entirely devoted to the subject - Malcolm Brown's (ed.) 400 page gathering of various scholars' articles  A Shostakovich Casebook.

What are the scholars saying of Malcolm Brown's book?  Do they concede to it or say this author is out of line?  The review I attached seems to contradict your conclusion and say this book is actually anti-Volkov, not supportive of it.


Offline Scion7

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2258
  • "A vér az élet."
  • Location: Borgó Pass
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2403 on: September 19, 2020, 03:14:38 PM »
Brown's book is an  anthology OF scholars on the subject.
It's the main source on the topic.
Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.

Offline relm1

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1213
  • Location: California
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2404 on: September 21, 2020, 05:22:53 AM »
Brown's book is an  anthology OF scholars on the subject.
It's the main source on the topic.

I don't know, you seem to be far more convinced about what Casebook says than what others say it says.  Like this review makes it sound like the conclusion is still that this isn't authentic to Shostakovich but closer to Volkov's opinions attributed to Shostakovich.

A Shostakovich Casebook Edited by Malcolm Hamrick Brown.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004. 408 pages, facsimiles. $39.95 US (cloth).
ISBN 0-253-34364-X

For the last quarter-century, Shostakovich scholars have been  embroiled in a dispute over the authenticity of Testimony: The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich by Solomon Volkov  (New York : Limelight Editions, 1992, c 1979). When it was first published, Volkov claimed  he had met with  Shostakovich repeatedly  in  order to  capture glimpses into Shostakovich's life, works, and opinions. The book's  authority was no less than "as related to and edited by" Volkov (italics added). In the climate of the Cold War, it received instant notoriety, with many in   the West invoking it  to underscore the depravity of the Soviet  regime. In response, cries of fiaud and  falsehood came from the Soviets, who condemned the book as the vituperation   of an angry, self-exiled dissident. What followed over  the next two decades was a  flurry of scholarly activity,  aimed both at championing and at vilifying Volkov's  work,  in what has become   known   as the "Shostakovich wars." The resulting scholarship has, indeed, shed much new and positive light on Shostakovich's    work, and provoked fiesh and  critical  listening to his oeuvre. This  present volume has a  clear and pointed agenda, which it  proclaims in its opening sentence, almost as if  throwing down the gauntlet: "It matters that Testimony is not exactly what  Solomon Volkov has claimed it to be." From there it proceeds   tirelessly,   relentlessly, to acheve that goal-to disprove and discredit these supposed "memoirs" of Shostakovich. In order to do so, Brown has  compiled  twenty-five  essays from leading    Shostakovich    scholars, per- formers,    and acquaintances of the composer. The  essays are grouped into four  thematically-linked  parts, each of which serves the objective of undermining Testimony. Each  essay is dated immediately following the title, demonstrating the currency of the scholarship. The introduction sets out not  only the direction, but also how the book is structured and what purpose each essay serves; the clarity of this section is immensely helphl in guiding the reader  through the rest of the book, and it  cannot be omitted. Part 1 is  the cornerstone, presenting two essays by Laurel Fay that lay the foundation for all of the subsequent material. Being separated by twenty-two years (1980    and 2002), there is noticeable  evolution in her argument. The first essay,    "Shostakovich vs. Volkov: Whose Testimony" (presumably the first declaration of the war in  the English  language), begins to dissect the problems in Volkov's work, but   ends rather abruptly. The second,  however, "Volkov's Testimony Reconsidered," leaves no stone unturned as it  outlines the multiplicity of problems    and addresses them with  such precision that any dispassionate    reader    will be persuaded that Volkov's work is unquestionably suspect. The   synoptic conclusion is that this is  a  book about rather than by Shostakovich. For example, her analysis of the chronology of events of research and publication clearly  puts Volkov's own  recollection of their order into dispute; progressively she attacks countless similar details until
Volkov is left with no credibility at all.
Fay's  work is an excellent  example of seasoned, cutting-edge  scholarship. The writing style is fluid  in  both  essays.  It should be noted  that Fay also provided many of the translations used in  the book, and these are equally idiomatic. Because Fay's  work is  so thorough, each of the remaining  parts  exists as corollary  proof to the arguments she makes.   Part 2 is a   series of eleven sources  translated from Russian. 

First, several text comparisons demonstrate the high probability that Volkov "borrowed" widely from     pre-existent sources, undermining  his claims that  all of the materials in Testimony had been discussed  directly  between  himself and Shostakovich. Subsequent items include writings such as official denunciations of Testimony by the composer's  colleagues and fellow composers, an explanation by Shostakovich's  widow of his signature on various of Volkov's manuscript pages, and a retrospectus by Rostropovich which debunks Shosta- kovich's    alleged    criticism of other composers in the memoirs.  Despite an occasional interesting anecdote,   each item in this part devotes itself to proving one  or another of Fay's claims, or to disproving the surface arguments proferred by Volkov's supporters. Part 3 consists of four additional Russian sources, intended to address more tangentially the vitriol of Volkov and to demonstrate  that   Shostakovich was not the personality    that one encounters in Volkov's pages. Two of the key articles, "A Link in the Chain: Reflections on Shostakovich and His Times" (1976)  and "A Perspective on Soviet   Musical Culture during the Lifetime of Shostakovich" (1998), again present viewpoints separated by substantial  time.  Partly  because of the subject  matter, and partly  due  to  the writing style, these are heavier  reading, not unlike   much of Shostakovich's music itself.  While offering some good insights into  the difficult  political  and spiritual climate of Soviet musicians, neither lives up   to its title in any exhaustive  way, and one  will need to look to other sources for greater depth of information. In keeping with the goal of the   book, one essay is devoted to rehting the positions of Volkov's  chief protagonists, Ho  and Feofanov, in their counter-volume, Shostakovich Recon- sidered (london: Toccata Press, 1998). In part 4, eight   English-speaking authors write  on  various topics,  from reviews of books about  Shostakovich to additional   opinion    pieces, including three by the general editor, Brown. One article in particular, "The Shostakovich Variations" by Mitchinson, provides a complete synopsis and is  effectively the digest version of the controversy; this might have been  a better piece to begin the book.  Overall, the opinions in this part are reasonably   informed, but do little to   advance  any   argument.  The writing is of  variable and  occasionally awkward quality (there are surely better terms than "emblematize" or "foregrounding"), and there is some logical     fallacy     in     spending time defending authors who appear elsewhere in the  book, all of whom survive better on their own merits. The book concludes with an extensive though not  exhaustive bibliography, terse  biographies of each of the authors, and an index. Let it be said that this book achieves what it sets out to   do; it discredits Volkov and his defenders with a precision seldom seen in scholarly print. However,  in the end it  must be asked what this   book has done to clarify matters in the war. As a work   of scholarship, it  is consistently  first-rate, despite    some redundancy in the "proving."   But it appears to fall into some of the very traps that it  identifies with the enemy. For instance, Ho and Feofanov are chided because "a range of contrary perspectives is not represented." Yet any dissenting opinion raised  in Casebook is there only to be soundly refuted-this is hardly representation of contrary  perspectives. It would  also  appear that despite the attempts to discredit Volkov's  assertions about hidden meanings in Shostakovich's music, Casebook discusses  that  particular  aspect enough to leave the question still open. Furthermore,   various authors concede that Volkov accurately represented many aspects of the oppression of Soviet composers,  including  Shostakovich. Yet the thoroughness  with  which Volkov is undermined renders it virtually impossible    for anyone to utilize Testimony as    a source   of reliable information. Would it  not have been  a better tactic to specify which parts of Volkov's work ring true, thereby leaving us with  at least a  few glimpses  into the composer's  work and character? Having read Testimony almost twenty years ago, I can still remember the poignancy of the anecdote   that    Shostakovich   kept a packed suitcase near    his    bed,    not knowing if he might be arrested and taken away during the middle of  the night.    That single    anecdote spoke volumes about the pain,  oppression, and uncertainty that Shostakovich  endured under the Soviet regime. Or did it? To paraphrase Shostakovich's (or is it Vokov's?) "we go on our way rejoicing"  comment, at the conclusion of this book the authors can rightly  assert that "we go  on our way vindicated." Unfortunately, there has been both  a constructive and a  damaging result to scholarship about Shostakovich, and the book may have  fallen into the trap of self-service for which Volkov is maligned. In the end, like Testimony, this is another book not about Shostakovich, but about Volkov.

Jon Gonder University of Pitts'burgh at Johnstown

Offline BasilValentine

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1277
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2405 on: September 21, 2020, 05:49:38 AM »
Here is a partial summary and some ruminations on Laurel Fay's challenge to the authenticity of Volkov's Testimony that I wrote for another forum:

Laurel Fay challenged the authenticity of Testimony within a year of its publication and her evidence has never been convincingly countered. (See "Shostakovich versus Volkov: Whose Testimony?" In Russian Review 39, no. 4 (1980), 484-92, and an update of this essay published in Malcolm Brown’s A Shostakovich Case Book.) Anyone who has not read and come to terms with Fay's evidence has no business holding an opinion on the authenticity of Testimony. To summarize her case:

The main evidence for the authenticity of Testimony is that, in a typescript of the book, Shostakovich’s signature (initials) appears on the first page of seven of its chapters, allegedly indicating that the composer read and vouched for the text’s accuracy. But Fay demonstrated that those seven initial pages (and only those seven pages!) were cribbed from the opening paragraphs of articles previously published under Shostakovich’s name. Volkov is thus asking us to believe that Shostakovich began each of their sessions together by regurgitating nearly word for word and from memory, three hundred words of a previously published article, some of which are suspected of having been ghost written by party hacks and not by the composer! This is absurd and if anyone has a good explanation for it other than fraud I’ve yet to hear it.

Fay hypothesized about how the fraud was perpetrated: What Volkov might have done was go to Shostakovich with a typescript of a book, the contents of which consisted entirely of articles previously published under Shostakovich's name and thus already vetted for political correctness. Volkov made only minor changes to correct dated references that would sound strange when reprinted decades after they were written. He got Shostakovich to initial the first pages of these articles. Given that Volkov was then the editor of a major music journal, it would have made perfect sense to the composer that he might be collecting  a series of articles by Shostakovich to be published under one cover. Then Volkov took those pages with the composer's initials and used them as the first pages of each of Testimony's chapters, discarding the rest of each article and substituting his own fabrications and collected third hand gossip for the pages he had shown Shostakovich. This is more obvious when one sees the discontinuity between the first page of each chapter and what follows. Fay points out how ludicrous it is to think that Shostakovich, when interviewed by Volkov, would have reproduced those seven first pages—and only those pages!—nearly verbatim, before digressing into new material on every second page. Testimony is a fraud. Anyone reading Fay objectively will see it.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 05:52:47 AM by BasilValentine »

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 56815
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2406 on: September 21, 2020, 05:52:41 AM »
Here is a partial summary and some ruminations on Laurel Fay's challenge to the authenticity of Volkov's Testimony that I wrote for another forum:

Laurel Fay challenged the authenticity of Testimony within a year of its publication and her evidence has never been convincingly countered. (See "Shostakovich versus Volkov: Whose Testimony?" In Russian Review 39, no. 4 (1980), 484-92, and an update of this essay published in Malcolm Brown’s A Shostakovich Case Book.) Anyone who has not read and come to terms with Fay's evidence has no business holding an opinion on the authenticity of Testimony. To summarize her case:

The main evidence for the authenticity of Testimony is that, in a typescript of the book, Shostakovich’s signature (initials) appears on the first page of seven of its chapters, allegedly indicating that the composer read and vouched for the text’s accuracy. But Fay demonstrated that those seven initial pages (and only those seven pages!) were cribbed from the opening paragraphs of articles previously published under Shostakovich’s name. Volkov is thus asking us to believe that Shostakovich began each of their sessions together by regurgitating nearly word for word and from memory, three hundred words of a previously published article, some of which are suspected of having been ghost written by party hacks and not by the composer! This is absurd and if anyone has a good explanation for it other than fraud I’ve yet to hear it.

Fay hypothesized about how the fraud was perpetrated: What Volkov apparently did was go to Shostakovich with a typescript of a book, the contents of which consisted entirely of articles previously published under Shostakovich's name and thus already vetted for political correctness. Volkov made only minor changes to correct dated references that would sound strange when reprinted decades after they were written. He got Shostakovich to initial the first pages of these articles. Given that Volkov was then the editor of a major music journal, it would have made perfect sense to the composer that he might be collecting  a series of articles by Shostakovich to be published under one cover. Then Volkov took those pages with the composer's initials and used them as the first pages of each of Testimony's chapters, discarding the rest of each article and substituting his own fabrications and collected third hand gossip for the pages he had shown Shostakovich. This is more obvious when one sees the discontinuity between the first page of each chapter and what follows. Fay points out how ludicrous it is to think that Shostakovich, when interviewed by Volkov, would have reproduced those seven first pages—and only those pages!—nearly verbatim, before digressing into new material on every second page. Testimony is a fraud. Anyone reading Fay objectively will see it.

Thank you.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Scion7

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2258
  • "A vér az élet."
  • Location: Borgó Pass
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2407 on: September 21, 2020, 06:02:00 AM »
The book contains her views.  Which is only an opinion, others disagree, therefore the question is still open.  I've seen some rowdy debates at two separarte university roundtables.   :)  I wasn't there (in Russia) - I don't know if the memoirs are 'real' or not.  But there are scholarly opinions on both sides of the aisle.
Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 56815
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2408 on: September 21, 2020, 06:07:18 AM »
It's an opinion with damned good legs under it.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline relm1

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1213
  • Location: California
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2409 on: September 23, 2020, 03:34:25 PM »
Folks please, what's your favorite recording of Symphony No. 6?  What are your thoughts of this work?  One thing that I adore as a deep aficionado of Shostakovich's work is how he doesn't repeat himself but constantly develops.  Think of how No. 1-2-3-4-5-6, etc. are NOTHING alike!  Each takes up where the other leaves off in a lifelong autobiographical traversal along with the other greatest symphonists.  Yes, yes, there are his fingerprints present throughout but musicologically speaking, one cannot say any one work is a repeat but rather a further development.  It's sort of like a further development, revision or elaboration of what I previously meant.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2020, 03:36:48 PM by relm1 »

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 56815
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2410 on: September 23, 2020, 03:41:26 PM »
Folks please, what's your favorite recording of Symphony No. 6?  What are your thoughts of this work?  One thing that I adore as a deep aficionado of Shostakovich's work is how he doesn't repeat himself but constantly develops.  Think of how No. 1-2-3-4-5-6, etc. are NOTHING alike!  Each takes up where the other leaves off in a lifelong autobiographical traversal along with the other greatest symphonists.  Yes, yes, there are his fingerprints present throughout but musicologically speaking, one cannot say any one work is a repeat but rather a further development.  It's sort of like a further development, revision or elaboration of what I previously meant.

Possibly Temirkanov/St Petersburg Phil.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 18704
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2411 on: September 23, 2020, 09:14:26 PM »
Folks please, what's your favorite recording of Symphony No. 6?  What are your thoughts of this work?  One thing that I adore as a deep aficionado of Shostakovich's work is how he doesn't repeat himself but constantly develops.  Think of how No. 1-2-3-4-5-6, etc. are NOTHING alike!  Each takes up where the other leaves off in a lifelong autobiographical traversal along with the other greatest symphonists.  Yes, yes, there are his fingerprints present throughout but musicologically speaking, one cannot say any one work is a repeat but rather a further development.  It's sort of like a further development, revision or elaboration of what I previously meant.

I'm off to work, so briefly, my favourites are Jarvi on Chandos, which is beautifully recorded, Stokowski and Boult. Also Berglund.

PS wasn't Ian MacDonald in 'The New Shostakovich' highly critical of the Laurel Fay book?
« Last Edit: September 24, 2020, 12:08:25 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Herman

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2484
  • there's something wrong with my brain
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2412 on: September 23, 2020, 10:28:58 PM »
I like 6, too.

I have Haitink and Kondrashin.

Frankly I don't think DSCH symphonies work very well in home setting (this feeling of mine that its really rather theatrical music that belongs in the concert hall), so I don't have heaps of recordings.

Offline Irons

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2283
  • Location: Surrey, UK
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2413 on: September 23, 2020, 11:20:20 PM »
I like 6, too.

I have Haitink and Kondrashin.

Frankly I don't think DSCH symphonies work very well in home setting (this feeling of mine that its really rather theatrical music that belongs in the concert hall), so I don't have heaps of recordings.

Mravinsky is special in all the DSCH symphonies but the 6th tops the lot. Outstanding concert from 1965 held in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire. The Sibelius 7th is equally as good. Some concert!
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 18704
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2414 on: September 24, 2020, 12:11:13 AM »
This was a very special set until it was stolen out of my car (by a gang of Shostakovich LP thieves?)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline krummholz

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 182
  • Vagn Holmboe (1909-1996)
  • Location: Central Vermont, US
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2415 on: September 24, 2020, 02:17:39 AM »
I like the 6th as well, especially the 1st movement. I have only heard Stokowski and Jarvi, and prefer Jarvi.

Online Madiel

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9197
    • A musical diary
  • Location: Canberra, Australia
  • Currently Listening to:
    Whatever's listed in my blog.
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2416 on: September 24, 2020, 03:32:37 AM »
The lopsided structure of the 6th puzzled me for a while. Until I mentally turned it into 2 halves. It just happens that the second half has a gap in the middle.

As for performances, I only have Petrenko. But I like Petrenko's set.
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Offline BasilValentine

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1277
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2417 on: September 24, 2020, 04:31:24 AM »
The book contains her views.  Which is only an opinion, others disagree, therefore the question is still open.  I've seen some rowdy debates at two separarte university roundtables.   :)  I wasn't there (in Russia) - I don't know if the memoirs are 'real' or not.  But there are scholarly opinions on both sides of the aisle.

What you're missing is that the difference of opinion and the support for Volkov has never focused on the issue of the actual documentary evidence, to which I should add one bit before proceeding: Laurel Fay points out that Volkov claimed (or claims) to be in possession of his shorthand transcriptions of his interviews with Shostakovich. She asked him to produce them, which would have been convincing documentary evidence in support of the text's authenticity. He didn't and won't. The reason is obvious. Anyway, the primary arguments from Volkov's supporters have been statements by the composer's friends, family, acquaintances, and hangers-on to the effect that the views expressed in Testimony are ones they knew/know to have been held by the composer. Alas, all such arguments are wholly irrelevant to the question of Testimony's authenticity. What is at issue is not whether the views in the book resemble those of Shostakovich — such resemblance could be the result of gathering third hand gossip from people who knew Shostakovich. They prove nothing. The issue is whether there is good reason to believe that any particular statement in Testimony can reliably be attributed to the composer. Unless those actual statements are corroborated in other more reliable sources, the answer is a resounding no.

Offline Scion7

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2258
  • "A vér az élet."
  • Location: Borgó Pass
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2418 on: September 24, 2020, 04:39:50 AM »
^ I'm not missing anything.  :-)  I'm relating that the issue has not yet reached consensus.  Nor am I taking a side.
Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.

Offline BasilValentine

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1277
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2419 on: September 24, 2020, 04:44:14 AM »
Folks please, what's your favorite recording of Symphony No. 6?  What are your thoughts of this work?  One thing that I adore as a deep aficionado of Shostakovich's work is how he doesn't repeat himself but constantly develops.  Think of how No. 1-2-3-4-5-6, etc. are NOTHING alike!  Each takes up where the other leaves off in a lifelong autobiographical traversal along with the other greatest symphonists.  Yes, yes, there are his fingerprints present throughout but musicologically speaking, one cannot say any one work is a repeat but rather a further development.  It's sort of like a further development, revision or elaboration of what I previously meant.

Kondrashin is the only conductor I've heard who doesn't drag the first movement and doesn't let the long wind solos bog down the forward motion. When done his way, the Sixth is one of my favorites (along with 8, 4, 10, 13 and 15).