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Thread: Best Shotakovich Symphony Recordings

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    Senior Member phoenixshade's Avatar
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    Default Best Shotakovich Symphony Recordings

    At the risk of being redundant (again), I'd like to ask opinions on the best recordings of Shostakovich's symphonies, because I'm looking to expand my collection here, and when searching the forums for "best Shostakovich recordings," the search engine decided that the word "best" was too common and discarded it.

    Right now, I've only heard enough recordings of two of the symphonies to form anything resembling an educated opinion. They are:

    Symphony No. 5 – Neeme Järvi and the Scottish National Orchestra (Chandos CHAN 8650)
    Symphony No. 7 "Leningrad" – Karel Ančerl and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (Supraphon 11 1952-2)

    I have recordings of the 1st, 6th, 9th, 10th, 12th, and 14th, but I've only heard one or two recordings for each (well, I've heard more for the 10th, but I don't know whose), so I'm hardly in a position to call any of them "the best."
    Last edited by phoenixshade; Dec-14-2008 at 08:11. Reason: I almost forgot I own the 9th, a live recording coupled with Beethoven's 5th...

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    Ancerl has a magnificent 10th with the Czech orchestra.

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    One of my all time favorite recordings of the Shostakovich 5th is with Evgeny Mravinsky and the Leningrad Philharmonic. Mravinsky gave the premiere of most of Shostakovich's symphonies and his recordings are authoritative. His 5th is a searing experience from beginning to end. No other recording I have heard so far comes close, but I am open to suggestions.

    As far as the other symphonies, I suggest you find the Shostakovich cycle that was issued two years ago by EMI with Mariss Jansons. Jansons' performances are in the best sound available and most of the orchestras play wonderfully for him. I especially recommend his recording of the 8th. It's a recording that I have been listening to a lot lately. It is simply marvelous and he handles the third movement (Scherzo) in a way that truly strikes terror.
    Jansons' recording of the 10th is also wonderful. His Scherzo is terrifying, while the finale truly whips itself into a frenzy towards the end.

    For other recordings of the 8th, I also highly recommend Gergiev's recording and Mravinsky's recording on Philips with the Leningrad Philharmonic. I don't know if the Mravinsky has ever been reissued, but it is a classic. A blistering recording of this tragic work, if there ever was one.

    I've heard good things about Gergiev's recordings of the War Symphonies (4-9), but have never heard it.

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    4 - ormandy/philly
    5 - mitropolous/nypo
    7 - bernstein/chicago
    10 - karajan/berlin

    dj

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    Symphony No. 10- Karajan/BPO
    Symphony No. 15 Ormandy/Phil.
    Symphony Nos. 6 & 12 Haitink/Concertgebouw

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    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rondo View Post
    Symphony Nos. 6 & 12 Haitink/Concertgebouw
    When a virtuoso orchestra commits to '12,' they can really come close to 'making the sale.' Yeah- I have this recording- and a good one it is!

    Now (at the budget end of the spectrum) I was really pleasantly surprised by the Rahbari/Belgian RO version of 5 & 9 on Naxos. (I regret having donated it prior to my relocation.) Alternatively, I found Bychkov's full-priced take on 5 (Philips) to be irredeemable. I don't regret parting with that one.

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    I would mention Mitropoulos' account of the 10th, with the NYP: somber, sinister and terrifying; and Barshai's great performance of the 13th with the WDR.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_town/Philly View Post
    When a virtuoso orchestra commits to '12,' they can really come close to 'making the sale.' Yeah- I have this recording- and a good one it is!

    Now (at the budget end of the spectrum) I was really pleasantly surprised by the Rahbari/Belgian RO version of 5 & 9 on Naxos. (I regret having donated it prior to my relocation.) Alternatively, I found Bychkov's full-priced take on 5 (Philips) to be irredeemable. I don't regret parting with that one.
    You should also hear Shostakovich's 11th performed by Jansons/Philadelphia. It's worth a whirl!

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    Skrowazewski has a very good recording of 6th with Halle Orchestra. It's on Halle's own label.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    No. 8 w/ Andre Previn/London Symphony 1973 on EMI.

    This is a budget price CD and it's an awesome recording!

    http://www.amazon.com/Shostakovich-S...7270864&sr=1-4
    kv466 likes this.

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    As something of a self-professed Shostakovich 'expert' (I did a thesis on him and have more recordings of his symphonies than I care to count), here are my recommendations:

    No 1: Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy
    No 2: Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra/Kirill Kondrashin
    No 3: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko
    No 4: Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra/Kirill Kondrashin
    No 5: USSR Symphony Orchestra/Maxim Shostakovich
    No 6: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Paavo Berglund
    No 7: Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra/Kirill Kondrashin (honourable mention: BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Mark Wigglesworth)
    No 8: Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra/Yevgeny Mravinsky (honourable mention: WDR Symphony Orchestra/Rudolf Barshai)
    No 9: Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra/Kirill Kondrashin
    No 10: Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra/Yevgeny Mravinsky (honourable mention: USSR Symphony O/Yevgeny Svetlanov)
    No 11: London Symphony Orchestra/Mstislav Rostropovich
    No 12: Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra/Yevgeny Mravinsky (honorable mention: Philharmonia Orchestra/Georges Prêtre)
    No 13: Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra/Kirill Kondrashin (several recordings/soloists, including live world premiere)
    No 14: Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra/Kirill Kondrashin (honourable mention: Moscow Chamber Orchestra/Rudolf Barshai)
    No 15: Dresden Staatskapelle/Kirill Kondrashin (honourable mention: Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra/Yevgeny Mravinsky)
    Last edited by Delicious Manager; Sep-29-2011 at 11:11.
    dmg, samurai and chalkpie like this.

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    I think the recording of 4th by Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra under Ladislav Slovak on Naxos is fantastic: http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item...._code=8.550625

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    Quote Originally Posted by bumtz View Post
    I think the recording of 4th by Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra under Ladislav Slovak on Naxos is fantastic: http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item...._code=8.550625
    I'm afraid, to my ears, the Slovak series was something of a disaster - mostly due to a conductor who obviously didn't 'get' Shostakovich's music and an orchestra not quite up to the job. The development section of the first movement of the 4th is a travesty - completely misunderstood.

    I urge you to listen to the 1962 Kondrashin recording with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra - you might be surprised at how different it all sounds.

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    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    I too find the Slovak 10 somewhat lifeless, though I haven´t heard any of the others. Some might find qualities in him, but the Russians usually have their own passionate approach to Shosty ...
    Am a bit puzzled about about the recommendation of Mravinsky in 15, where there are some inaccuracies in the playing and some less succesful climaxes IMO ??
    Last edited by joen_cph; Sep-30-2011 at 11:58.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Delicious Manager View Post
    I'm afraid, to my ears, the Slovak series was something of a disaster - mostly due to a conductor who obviously didn't 'get' Shostakovich's music and an orchestra not quite up to the job. The development section of the first movement of the 4th is a travesty - completely misunderstood.

    I urge you to listen to the 1962 Kondrashin recording with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra - you might be surprised at how different it all sounds.
    Thanks for the recommendation, I might check it out eventually. But honestly, I am totally happy with Slovak, my only other point of reference for 4th being solid Barshai / WDR. Also, looks like Kondrashin 4th is available only as a part of a rather pricey all-symphonies set, and I don't feel I need to buy the whole cycle.
    Last edited by bumtz; Sep-30-2011 at 14:23.

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