A perfect record
Goncalo C. Cardoso | Coimbra, Portugal | 01/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This record impressed me from beginning to end with its perfectly chosen program and superb interpretation. Shostakovich's chamber symphony op. 110A is the orchestration of his 8th string quartet, op.110. This is a mournful, angst filled and beautiful work, possibly the most expressive of his quartets. The orchestration played here is not the one of Rudolph Barshai for string orchestra, that the composer approved, but a later one by Saulius Sondeckis, who is also the conductor in this recording. The main difference is that Sondeckis' has a part for timpani, sparse and well used, which is a welcome addition to the dynamic range of the orchestration. The playing of the St. Petersburg Camerata is wonderful and, though necessarily different, leaves nothing to be desired relative to the expressiveness and immediacy of the original string quartet version.
Haydn wrote his 49th symphony, later dubbed "The Passion", to be performed during holy week. I find it a masterful work, most notably because it maintains an appropriate dark feeling throughout all its movements while keeping with the typical forms of a classical symphony (it includes an Allegro di molto, a Menuet and a Presto). Listening to it made me recall the way that Bach made each of his cello suites coherent and distinct from each other in ambience, though they all share the same dance forms. The program ends quietly with Hindemith's Funeral Music for Viola and String Orchestra. It is a short and mostly calm work, with some moments of anguish but more subdued than in Shostakovich. Violist Dimitri Jakubovsky uses a beautiful and straight tone that suits this ambience of resignation perfectly.
Throughout, the playing is warm and accurate and the sound is very good, with the soloist correctly placed in relation to the orchestra in the last work. A record of incredible good taste."