Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Georg Solti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra|
High-voltage treatment of a high-voltage piece
Bruce Hodges | New York, NY | 09/11/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Even though I own at least four other versions of this symphony, I stumbled across a copy of this, despite caveats from friends about Solti's approach to Shostakovich. Yes, it must be said that this is probably not the most subtle interpretation of one of Shostakovich's masterpieces. But if you are in the mood for a harrowing, barreling experience, Solti's electricity will certainly satisfy. I disagree slightly with those who think the Tenth is Shostakovich's greatest symphony; it is *one* of his greatest, but there are others that are its equal. But it is easy to see why this remains a favorite, since it contains many powerful sequences. Solti's version of the second "Allegro" is stunning. This four-minute display of orchestral virtuosity almost never fails to impress, and one can almost forgive Sir Georg if one feels a bit bludgeoned afterward; the playing is at such a high level, and the excitement generated is almost palpable. If ultimately Solti does not reveal some of the deeper emotions in the score (such as Karajan, who recorded this piece twice), this is nevertheless a marvelous recording, showing the conductor in peak form during his last years with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Decca's sound is very good, considering that this is a live recording. The bass is a bit over-prominent, but not unlistenable. Those who are fans of Solti or the great orchestra, or those who like their Shostakovich played with maximum steeliness should relish this disc."
Bruce Hodges | 01/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While Solti may not be the best interpreter of Shostakovich ( as he himself admitted, when at one of his last concerts with the CSO, he turned to the audience and reportedly said something along the lines that he never used to like Shostakovich until the end of his life), i do believe this recording captures all the terrifying moments, the contemplative moments simply because of the way the CSO brings it across and not neccessarily because of Solti's approach...one must also remember that because this is a live recording, more atmosphere is going to be given, as well, as a vivid sharp focus.
The "Stalin" Scherzo is at its best right here. I have never heard it performed more precise and at the dynamic level it is performed here. It is amazing. Of course, the brass shine, as always with the CSO and they obviously add a lot of weight, especially the trombone octaves that come along halfway through the piece. Again, very focused, intense and precise playing.
OF course the 4th movement is much the same way. The ending is taken at such a breakneck tempo as if to stretch the players' virtuosity but not dispel it. The dramatic moments in this movement fortunately match the earth-shattering moments in the Scherzo. At the end, the listener is left with an irrevocable sense of triumph. Kudos to the timpani player and the way the rest of the orchestra pushes ahead to the final notes, as if to give it even more momentum and thrust.
The climax of the first movement might be slighty underplayed if one were to truly know the piece in and out and know every last thing Shostakovich was trying to say through it, but to most people it will suffice. The only plausible explanation is that these climaxes are taken to fast, I think. Otherwise they are fine. Lastly I think the first 9 or so minutes that begin the entire work are played with just the right amount of introspection, very contemplative. The clarinet solo is chilling.
Solti and his team might have missed a FEW things that other seasoned Shostakovich interpreters would not have, but they pull this entire work off convincingly."
Music Is Everything | Colorado Springs, CO USA | 12/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the most difficult Shostakovich symphonies to perform. It's a sprawling work into which Shostakovich poured all of his angst and renewed triumph after the death of Stalin, who tormented Shostakovich for years and had forbidden him to write any more symphonies. Shostakovich was a broken man, and this performance conveys this in the opening passages of the symphony perfectly--followed by his resurgence a few minutes into the piece. The second movement is a short and brutal indictment of Stalin, and then Shostakovich turns to introspection, working out his angst in the remainder of the piece, with that haunting horn calling for the return to humanity. The piece ends in absolute triumph, with Shostakovich's musical monogram pounded out in the tympani and the whole orchestra in pure joy.
This is a live recording, but don't fret--not too much audience noise and no obvious mistakes from this fantastic orchestra. The energy is palpable and you get a keen sense of Solti's greatest gift--his sense of structure and timing.
I never tire of hearing this performance and found myself addicted to it for months, during which I must have listened to it more than 50 times. This is a Shostakovich 10 to listen to and love. Enjoy."