Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Shostakovich, Kondrashin, Gromadsky|
Symphony 13 " Babi Yar "
Unique and Historic
127 | 04/03/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is historic because this is the recording of the premere of the symphony.Also, the unrevised Yevstushenko texts are used (after this performance,the Communist censors added sveral passages to the first movement). This was a groundbreaking piece because it broke the silence of the Holocaust that happened within Russia.Then there is the music. Kondrashin,sometimes not the greatest Shostakovichian, is totally on the mark here. He owns this piece. The orchestra is uncouth and garish. The brass is raw and the percusson is too loud - all perfect for the 13th Symphony.The 13th can be counted along with the 4th,5th,8th and 10th as one of the "great" symphonies of our time.This work may not be the best introduction to the often grim world of DS,there is no doubt that this is truly scary and powerful beyond expression."
Worth Tracking Down
127 | Michigan | 10/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording is tough to come by, but is well worth the effort. Shostakovich's 13th was and is a huge political statment, especially in the Soviet Union in the early 60's. The story concerns anti-semitism and a massacre of Jews during WW II, as well as other poetic commentary on the Soviet Union by a poet who was then considered politically dubious by the Soviet authorities. This recording features the conductor who premiered the work, as well as the ensemble and soloist, and the recording was made shortly after the premiere itself. This is a live performance, and the crowd is audible. Sometimes that can be irritating, but it lends to the excitement here because to even attend a performance of such a "questionable" work at the time was a bold move that could have brought recrimination. At the end of the work, the CD includes several seconds of applause, something that again is often irritating. Here, it further lends to the atmospehere that surrounds the work. One can not only enjoy this powerful music, but can also envision the atmosphere of the actual performance.The soloist and choir have the deep dark sound that is needed here, and it is also interesting to note that the soloist here is the back-up to the intended soloist. As a precaution, two soloists were trained in case something were to happen, and on the day of the performance, the first soloist called in sick. The back-up soloist found that he would perform on the day of the premiere and did an excellent job. Recent recordings of this work (Solti and Masur, for example) display better instrumental techniques, but the aura surrounding this CD evens things out.This was a dangerous piece for Shostakovich to have written, for players to participate in, and for an audience to attend. This excellent recording is a part of history for that reason, and that lends to an already thrilling work. If you can't find this CD, Solti/ CSO and Masur/ NYPO are also excellent accounts, but don't miss an opportunity to add this to your library."
Matthew D. White | New Orleans, LA | 04/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I searched for this CD for nearly a decade, and finally stumbled upon it in a small used CD shop on Conti Street in New Orleans, of all places. Boy, was it ever worth the wait.Because of the controversial nature of this work, this performance has an uncanny but undeniable "buzz" about it; a live performance of the work recorded in the Soviet Union at a time when it was about to be pulled from performance by the government. The recording, made live in 1963, sounds better than you could ever imagine. Though the tympani is out of tune during the intoduction to "Humour", and the mix and miking are sometimes a tiny bit off-balance, the sound is spectacular, even by today's standards. This CD has incredible power, and I have yet to hear another interpretation of Symphony #13 that can match it, including those by Haitink and Rostropovich. You may have to wait awhile or pay extra for this disc, but I would consider it an absolute must-have in any comprehensive classical collection, especially for admirers of Shostakovich."