Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Dmitry Shostakovich, Mikhail Pletnev, Russian National Orchestra|
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 11 [Hybrid SACD]
A restrained reading of Shostakovich's historical tableau
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 04/17/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"You have to throw everything you've got at the Shostakovich 11th to save it from itself. The structure is episodic, the themes verge on movie music, the scenario is politically correct to the point of being Bolshevik nostalgia. Convincing accounts have come from Marvinsnky and Stokowski, to which I would add Semyon Bychkov in his early phase on Philips. I don't seek out this work, and when it's overplayed and turns vulgar -- as happens with Rostropovich's live reading with the London Sym. -- my attention wanders long before the finale. The first thing I noticed here was the quietly dignified playing of the Russian Naitonal Orch. -- there's no chance that Pletnev will let the work turn gooey or bloated. In addition, the recorded sound (as heard through two-channel stereo) is full, detailed, and warm.
Why only four stars, then? Because in addition to avoiding the pitfalls in this dicey music, a conductor needs to stamp it with his own original ideas. Pletnev doesn't do that, a frequent fault with his overly refined conducting. The first movement isn't taut or mysterious as it sets the stage, nor is the assault before the Winter Palace ferocious enough. The triumphal final movement feels a bit half-hearted. Overall, Pletnev takes a soft, melancholy view of the whole symphony, a viable approach but one that leaves my attention wandering as much as the old bombastic accounts did, but for the opposite reason.
For those who monitor such things, the performance lasts 62 min., the same as Stokowski's famous recording form Houston, and took place live in Brussels in 2005."