A collection that fills an important gap
George R. Holley | Moorhead, Minnesota | 06/27/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This collection comes in a box with seven double-discs, each with a booklet describing the work and about the conductor's relationship with the composer and his work by Sigrid Neef. No librettos are enclosed, which does hamper the full appreciation, although fans are likely to have copies of a few of these works lying about. Although all of these recordings have appeared in other guises and formats, this remarkable collection is worthy of consideration. Rozhdestvensky had an interesting relationship with the composer, although never given the opportunity to premier his major symphonic works, the conductor was of critical importance in reviving the "lost" or "unknown" Shostakovich. Rozhdestvensky's excavation into the composer's past resulted in premiering or reviving a vast body of work. An example of this is displayed on, although not limited to, the "Orchestral Works." This conductors travails through the complete symphonies are not likely to be first choice for many, however, this collection does offer a chance to hear a 1980's Soviet run through of one of the most important symphonic cycles of the 20th century."
Rozhdestvensky's excellent Shostakovich cycle
L. Johan Modée | Earth | 03/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gennadi Rozhdestvensky's Shostakovich symphony cycle from the 1980s is, in my view, one of the three best cycles. These three are, in my preference order:
1. Kondrashin (originally Melodiya, now Russiandvd - a new remaster, available from Amazon sellers and at Ebay).
2. Rozhdestvensky (originally Melodiya, but it exists now also in a new Russian remaster from the VENEZIA label, in a fine slimline box which you can find at HMV's internet shop in Japan or at Ebay).
3. Barshai (originally Regis, now in a Brilliant Classics box.)
The standard bargain choice is the Barshai box, which boasts very fine playing and fine sound. Kondrashin, my first choice, is quite expensive. But the Rozhdestvensky set should not be overlooked. First, the interpretations are both illuminating and moving, carefully structured and (mostly) beautifully played by a real Russian orchestra in fine form. Second, the new remaster - available at Ebay and at HMV in Japan - is a real bargain. You may grab it for $ 30 or less. Third, the remastered sound is mostly OK, even if Melodiya's original recordings are a bit harsh. However, this is a minor complaint. Kondrashin's set has much worse sound and costs more money. But in both cases, we have excellent, classical, powerful interpretations that hardly can be surpassed.
Shostakovich collectors need all cycles above, of course. But I warmly recommend a serious search for Gennadi Rozhdestvensky's excellent cycle in its new incarnation."