Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Dmitri Shostakovich, Sir Georg Solti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra|
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8
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SOLTI AND CHICAGO DELIVER!!!
Music Man | Santa Monica, CA USA | 10/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sir Georg Solti and the CSO give a taut, dramatic, spectacular performance of what at one time was one of Shostakovich's least recorded and underperformed symphonies. They play their collective hearts out - why do we never hear kudos for the magnificant CSO winds and strings? - and wrench every drop of emotion from an amazingly complex and hauntingly beautiful score. The recording is stunning, the playing is terrific and the music is uniquely Shostakovich. Try it!!!"
A phenomenally well played, often quite moving Eighth
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 06/09/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Solti came to Shostakovich late; he was 77 when he made his first recording, of the Eighth, in live concerts from Jan. 1989. Despite the leaps in improved playing made by Russian orchestras, one immediately hears a higher level of virtuosity from the CSO, not so much in loud bravura passages as in the softer ones, where the delicacy and exquisite blending are very touching. Solti defies expectation by leading the quietest, most reflective reading of the first movement I've ever encountered. He avoids driving the music or reaching for wrenching climaxes until halfway through, at which point the music turns crushingly tragic. Decca's recording is crystal clear, allowing us to hear every coloration in the wide-spread harmonies. It's rare to hear a conductor who has the courage to let this long (25 min.) Adagio unfold from withdrawn melancholy to catastrophe-- for that alone, this recording is special.
The original reviewer in the Gramophone heard the beauties in the first movement but was gravely disappointed by the other four movements, finding the two Scherzos not savage enough and the last two movements bland. I don't hear that at all. It's true that Solti doesn't make the first Scherzo as biting as it could be, but the orchestral playing is too phenomenal to overlook, and what Solti misses in bite he makes up in depth and power. The second Scherzo is based on deadpan repetitions of a robotic perpetuo mobile in the strings interrupted by hysterical shrieks in the winds and premonitions of doom in the percussion. I've heard this zany movement played more neurotically but never this beautifully -- every color in the orchestra is exploited fully. As in the first Schrzo, the cumulative power has great visceral impact.
The Largo in passacaglia form rests largely in the strings, where the CSO and Decca's engineers excel, bringing out remarkable subtleties. The spare texture and broken phrases at the close of the Eighth remind me of T. S. Eliot's phrase about shoring up fragments against our ruin -- a despairing hope that the composer must have known intimately. Many nuances in the orchestration, such as the flutes double-tonguing like buzzing insects, are beautifully realized here.
I came to this CD feeling that Solti's late Shostakovich often falters, but this Eighth is a noble performance that stands among the very best."