Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|WDR Sinfonie-Orchester KÃ¶ln, Semyon Bychkov|
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No.11 ''The Year 1905''
Written upon the occasion of the Soviet Union's fortieth anniversary, the Eleventh Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich ''officially'' commemorated the peasant protests of 1905--and the bloody massacre with which Tsar Nicholas ... more »
Listen to Samples
Written upon the occasion of the Soviet Union's fortieth anniversary, the Eleventh Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich ''officially'' commemorated the peasant protests of 1905--and the bloody massacre with which Tsar Nicholas responded. The music itself, however, suggests Shostakovich had a more daring ''program'' in mind: the Soviet Union's ruthless military suppression of the Hungarian uprising the year before. It is arguably Shostakovich's most explicit, emotional and daring indictment of the Soviet state and the totalitarian nightmare it had become--a tour-de-force for virtuoso orchestra showing the influences of Modest Mussorgsky and Gustav Mahler, built on melodic material from Russian and Bolshevik revolutionary songs. Semyon Bychkov, who has achieved a reputation as a master interpreter of Shostakovich through his Avie recordings of the Seventh and Eighth Symphonies, leads the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln in an overpowering performance, captured in demonstration-quality, state of the art surround sound.
A fast, no-nonsense reading that minimizes the score's hollo
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 09/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Shostakovich spent so many decades deceiving and sidestepping the Soviet terror machine that he never lost the habit of covering up his true intentions. Ostensibly the Sym. #11 was a patriotic pictorial written to celebrate the Soviet state through the eyes of an earlier unsuccessful uprising against the Czar in 1905. The work is his most populist "big" symphony, full of easy tunes and cinematic clashes between suffering peasants and a cruel ruler. In retrospect suggestions have been made that the cruelty depicted is Stalin's instead.
As pure music, much of the score is on the level of movie music, and Bychkov seems to sense a heavy layer of insincerity. Like every other conductor, he has to thread his way through the Eleventh's moments of glib, even oily sentimentality. Bychkov's strategy is to refuse to linger over the melodrama, to bring down to scale all the overblown intentions that make the Eleventh seem hollow. Stokowski took the opposite tack in his famous recording from Houston (on Everest), magnifying the score's vulgarity to the point that it crossed the line and became pop epic.
For me, bychkov has taken the more convincing approach, but I should admit that I find the Eleventh hard to swallow. Getting past the fake rhetoric works for me, while true devotees may feel that Bychkov isn't taking the patriotic pageantry seriously enough. The finale is actualy cheeky rather than menacing. For bone-crunching melodrama one can turn to Rostropovich and the London Symphony; for searing intensity to Mravisnky on various Russian reissue labels. I think Bychkov gives the cleanest, non-nonsense traversal."