Search - Dmitry Shostakovich, Rudolf Barshai, Theodore Kuchar :: Shostakovich Edition complete symphonies [Box Set] [Includes Interview DVD]

Shostakovich Edition complete symphonies [Box Set] [Includes Interview DVD]
Dmitry Shostakovich, Rudolf Barshai, Theodore Kuchar
Shostakovich Edition complete symphonies [Box Set] [Includes Interview DVD]
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Classical
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (3) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (4) - Disc #4
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #5
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #6
  •  Track Listings (4) - Disc #7
  •  Track Listings (4) - Disc #8
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #9
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #10
  •  Track Listings (4) - Disc #11
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #12
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #13
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #14
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #15
  •  Track Listings (20) - Disc #16
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #17
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #18
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #19
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #20
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #21
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #22
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #23
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #24
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #25
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #26
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #27


Larger Image

CD Details


CD Reviews

Remarkable performances at an unbeatable price
Vanilor | Colorado | 01/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is the perfect set for anyone who loves Shostakovich, or anyone just finding out about Shostakovich who wants to easily get all his major works. Included are the complete symphonies, including the chamber symphonies, a few discs of suites and film music, all six concertos, the complete string quartets, and three discs of assorted chamber music.

You'd have trouble finding a single sub-par performance in the whole set. Practically everything is given a very good, if not excellent performance. Rudolf Barshai, a personal fried of Shostakovich (who knew him for decades) conducts the symphonies. These eleven discs form my personal favorite Shostakovich symphony cycle. Theodore Kuchar conducts some of the suites, and you'll even find Mravinsky conducting the Violin Concerto No. 1, with none other than David Oistrakh as the soloist in both concertos. Several virtual-unknowns can be found in the chamber music, but these pieces - Shostakovich's most engrossing chamber repertoire, like the Piano Trio No. 2, Sonata for Viola and Piano, and the two Piano Sonatas - all sound fantastic. The Rubio Quartet round off the set with the complete cycle of string quartets. I prefer the Fitzwilliam set, but this is still a very good cycle."
A compelling survey of most of Shostakovich's major works
Michael Schell | | 12/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The description provided by Amazon as I write this in December 2009 implies that this remarkable 27 CD box set is just a collection of Shostakovich symphonies. This is incorrect: you get not just the 15 symphonies, but also most of his other major works except for the operas and the preludes and fugues for piano. A few minor works are thrown in, representing the part of Shostakovich's output that was necessarily didactic: this includes some film and ballet music, and a few miscellaneous orchestral works. We are spared the patriotic cantatas, scores for second rate Soviet films, and most of the other hack work he was obliged to produce, unworthy of his talents. Shostakovich was a prolific composer by 20th Century standards, and his output was uneven.

The Barshai/WDS Sinfonieorchester cycle of the 15 symphonies has been reviewed elsewhere. You probably won't be disappointed with them. The sound is clear, and many details come through (unfortunately including quite a bit of chair creaking and page turning). You have the benediction of an interpretive approach informed by direct collaboration with Shostakovich, executed by one of Germany's best orchestras for modern music. Barshai takes the ending of the 5th Symphony at the slow tempo increasingly favored by conductors nowadays. The scherzo of the 6th Symphony is initially taken at a tempo that the orchestra really can't play, as evinced by the first ascending run in the full woodwinds, whose tongues aren't quite up to the task. They solve it by slightly slowing the tempo leading out of that so that the rest of the movement goes a little less quickly. The "wedge" motif at the start of the 13th Symphony sounds sinister in the hands of these muted trumpets, and really does suggest a knife poking at an unfortunate victim of one of the pogroms described in Yevtushenko's text. The static endings of the 4th and 8th Symphonies, in minor and major respectively, are harrowing and angelic respectively. And these are just a few highlights.

The bonus DVD interview with Barshai is a disappointment. Perhaps I'm missing details accessible to a German speaker, but judging from the translation, the discussion mainly concerns various anecdotes of the premier of the 5th Symphony. Barshai claims that one passage in the Symphony was "corrected" by a Soviet censor to remove a simultaneous cross-relationship (B-natural and B-flat). Too bad there's no cutaway either to the orchestra playing this passage, or to the score pages in question. Thus we're left wondering exactly where this passage is. Likewise, there is footage of Barshai rehearsing one of the violin concertos, but the video director seems never to have seen a conductor before. So enchanted is he by the sight of the maestro waving his arms in front of an orchestra (often in slow motion) that he cuts away as soon as Barshai raises his hand to stop the orchestra -- right when things might actually get interesting! We never hear a word from Barshai in rehearsal: no instructions to the musicians, no interpretive insights revealed, no publishing errors corrected based on first-hand knowledge. Those who've never worked with Barshai are left wondering whether he's a world class conductor with an all-encompassing emotional attachment to the music (à la Bernstein) or an incisive grasp of the music that can see through a composition like a crystal (à la Boulez), or if he's instead a journeyman conductor fortunate enough to get to work "on reputation" with the capable instrumentalists of the WDS Sinfonieorchester.

If your familiarity with Shostakovich is based only on his most popular, backward-looking works (like most of the symphonies), then spend some time with the late string quartets, which are more clearly influenced by modernism. Though conservative by 20th Century standards, they are adventurous by the standards of the pre-glasnost Soviet Union, and are among the composer's most deeply personal and introspective works. Toward the end of his life, Shostakovich started to expand his harmonic language in a way very similar to Britten's development during his last decade, and this is reflected more directly in the works for smaller ensemble, including chamber music like this, and the 14th Symphony, which is scored only for two voices, two percussionists and some strings. The Flemish musicians of the Rubio Quartet do not disappoint, with an interesting approach of recording "live" performances before a small invited studio audience. Working through these 15 string quartets was the highlight of my time spent canvassing this set.

Shostakovich Edition is attractively packaged in a predictably bright red motif. Each CD gets a cardboard sleeve, and there's a nice booklet with the program notes (no CD-ROM to print out). The notes could have been better edited: they look to have been cut and pasted from the individual albums whence they came, as many biographical details repeat over and over as you move from genre to genre. But they're more insightful and readable than the notes that accompany most Brilliant Classics releases. Another plus: the recorded sound is impeccable throughout, and the transfers are devoid of the engineering glitches that crept into Brilliant's Brahms and Rachmaninoff sets. If you enjoy Shostakovich's music, or want to get to know it better, then this set will be a great addition to your collection. The only hitch, really, is that this set is priced much higher than most Brilliant Classics collections, so it's probably going to be a more compelling purchase if you can find it discounted, either used from, or else new from Amazon France, Germany or UK, who currently list it for about half the price of Amazon's US Web site."