Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Dmitry Shostakovich, Mstislav Rostropovich, Choral Arts Society of Washington|
Shostakovich: Complete Symphonies [Box Set]
Mstislav Rostropovich was a friend of the composer, and his performances of the 15 Shostakovich symphonies are uniquely authoritative. It's true that as a conductor the great cellist has had his ups and downs, but unlike... more »
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Mstislav Rostropovich was a friend of the composer, and his performances of the 15 Shostakovich symphonies are uniquely authoritative. It's true that as a conductor the great cellist has had his ups and downs, but unlike so many far less musical personalities, he has only recorded the music that he feels most passionately about, and the results have been generally impressive. His performances of Symphonies Nos. 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, and 14 are really among the best ever, and there isn't as single performance among the rest that isn't at least very good. The National Symphony Orchestra of Washington in particular plays with real guts and conviction. An essential set for fans of the composer. --David Hurwitz
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A good, but not great performances.
David A. Hollingsworth | Washington, DC USA | 03/27/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Serious critics had deemed Nikolay Myaskovsky as the best of Soviet symphonists. His promotors included Alexander Gauk, Yevgeny Mravinsky, Konstantin Ivanov, Frederick Stock (music director of the Chicago Symphony until 1951) & Yevgeny Svetlanov. Shostakovich, however, was advocated & represented by a more internationally diverse conductors, artists, ensembles. Mravinsky, & to some extent, Gauk, gave premieres of major & important Shostakovich works. The relationship between Shostakovich & Mravinsky are on a high & positive note, with the conductor being the dedicatee of the composer's Eighth symphony (Mravinsky conducted the premiere with the Leningrad Philharmonic in 1943). Mravinsky also began to record Shostakovich works with earnest after the 1950s. However, composer &conductor relationship worsened. Mravinsky lessened the number of performances featuring Shostakovich symphonies. By 1962, Kyrill Kondrashin entered the scene in recording the symphonies with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. Other conductors followed suit such as Haitink & the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Gennady Rozhdesventsky with the USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra, Rostropovich with the London Symphony, National Symphony (Washington DC), & others.Like Kondrashin, Rostropovich performances of the symphonies were uneven in quality. However, Kondrashin had the upper hand since his tempos were even & always consistent. He was not too draggy & spacious, but brisk and intense. Furthermore, his Moscow Philharmonic demonstrated its upmost familiarity with Shostakovich's scores, something not dublicated totally by Rostropovich's or Haitink's orchestras.Rostropovich best recordings are Shostakovich's 2nd, 3rd, & 8th Symphonies. His recording of the composer's 14th with the Moscow Philharmonic, with Vainberg as pianist, Vishnevskaya as soprano (recorded by Melodiya CD) won him critical acclaim. Rostropovich was not able to dublicate the intensity, absolute refinement, & control in the later recording of the same work. Strengths: commitment, energy, some excitement, familiarity.Weaknesses: slow tempos, orchestras not totally refined & keen, could have used more intensity & emotionalism required by the score.Rostropovich is not a masterful conductor compared to, for example, Kondrashin, or Svetlanov. He's an abled conductor, but not with a firmer hand. He had passion in performing the great Soviet composer's works, but not at the same level as the orchestras he directed.Recommendable. But go for the Kondrashin, Mravinsky, Bernstein, Rozhdentvensky, Neemi Jarvi, Previn & DePriest recordings. They answered unmistakably to the weaknesses of Rostropovich recordings. Also the complete symphonies set under Kondrashin & the MPO is available (Melodiya 74321 19952-2). Should you decide to go for the set, My personal instinct is to get the Kondrashin set, although one has to contact Tower Records in Great Britain to special order it (it is not available in the United States)."
Amazing performance of the 14th
David A. Hollingsworth | 08/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I currently own 5 versions of the 14th symphony (Kondrashin, Bernstein, Barshai (a relay of the preimiere in Moscow), Haitink, and another Rostropovich version on the Russian Revelation label. The Bernstein is saggy and contrived, the Haitink fails to excite, the earlier Rostropovich is in terrible audio, The Kondrashin is excellent and full of white heat, and the Barshai is even more hair raising.And where does this version of the 14th belong? Among the very best. This perfomance's soloists were the original soloists Shostakovich intended (Vishnevskaya and Rhestin). The orchestra though different from the primiere is still excellent. When listening to the Haitink, the orchestra plays with emotional reservation. Not the case here"
A set of recordings above averge
Grady Harp | 09/24/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The symphonies are played throughout with much "correctness". If you have not heard the symphonies earlier, these recordings impress with what seems as clear insight, and musical understanding. But when comparing these recordings to others, they often reveal a lack of intensity, energy, etc. Many ather recordings also seem to go "deeper" into the works, making musical points more obvious/clearer to the listenter. In this set, I enjoyed nr. 8, 2, and 3, especially, but nr. 13, 7, and (I think it was) 12, were more dissappointing. All were solid performances, which leads me to recomend this set to all who are interested in the works of Shostakovich, but to have this as a supplementary to other recordings."