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Thread: Shostakovich Symphony #5

  1. #16
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    I recently listened to these versions: Haitink, Barshai, Kondraishin. The Barhsai is a surprisingly great cycle and there's nothing wrong his 5th. But I still think Haitink's 5th is the best.

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  3. #17
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    Kondrashin's 5th was one of the weaker of his Shostakovich set and I don't usually recommend it. I have now aquired a CD copy of the Maxim Shostakovich/USSR Symphony Orchestra recording and remain convinced of its fine pedigree.

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    Due to the famousness of the late 1950's Bernstein recording, Bernstein's second recording of the 5th, also with the New York Phil., and also on Sony/BMG is frequently overlooked. This was taped live in Tokyo, Japan in 1979 (I believe it is indeed the same performance available on DVD.) The 1st Mvt. is slow still, but a little bit less. Lenny knew he recorded the finale way too fast the first time, and though still fast in '79, it is less so and more right sounding. He does not rush the final chords here, and even gives them a resounding proper sound of irony. My favorite 5th was/is the late 60's Ormandy/Philadelphia which was on Columbia Masterworks LP originally, and re-issued briefly on Sony Essential Classics during the 90's. It was paired with orchestral highlights from Prokofiev's "The Love for Three Oranges" and the Polka from Shostakovich's "Age of Gold." All are very fine performances indeed. The entire CD will give you much listening pleasure. You should be able to find some surplus or second hand copies on amazon I would think. I also agree with the Ancerl/Czech Phil. performance mentioned above, but I do prefer the 60's Ormandy.

  5. #19
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    I'll be attending some concerts this month where I'll be able to listen to the 5th and 9th (for the first time). Checking out potential CDs, it seems they're often bundled together. The contenders for me right now are: Gergiev, Haitink, Petrenko. Any further recommendations?

    (Is Gergiev's 'War symphonies' set any good? - includes 4-to-9, though relatively a bit pricey at about 60$)
    (alternately, I could get a 5-cd set of Petrenko, incl. 1, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11 for 30$, from a Naxos sale)
    (or would getting the full cycle by Maxim Shostakovich be worth it?)

    I'm just getting acquainted with Shostakovich. Just heard his 1st violin concerto (Oistrakh playing) yesterday. The 3rd movement/passacaglia... Words fail me - just fantastic!
    Last edited by Llyranor; Apr-05-2011 at 03:21.

  6. #20
    Senior Member Conor71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaneyes View Post
    I have the Haitink Cycle and think its very strong, idiomatic and in excellent sound - mostly very good performances too apart from the 1st and 2nd which are a bit shabby - excellent 5th! .

    The other 5th's Ive heard are from Jansons and Rostropovich with the NSO - The Latter was my first exposure to this Symphony and I rate it very highly too!.

  7. #21
    Senior Member Kontrapunctus's Avatar
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    I like Yakov Kreizberg's (R.I.P.) on Pentatone. The coda is played rather slowly and has massive power.

    Lately, Gergiev has not worked for me (He used to be one of my favorites). I haven't heard his 5th, but his 11th is shockingly low-powered, as is his Mahler cycle. He all but phoned in Mahler's 5th! The audio on the LSO Live label is mastered at an extremely low level, as are the Mariinsky recordings, which further blunts their impact.

  8. #22
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    Is anyone familiar with Yuri Ahronovitch with the Stockholm Philharmonic? It sounds good to me, but I'm not an expert on these things yet.


  9. #23
    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    A recently-uploaded documentary about the symphony:


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  11. #24
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    Jansons with VPO was recommended on Building a Library a few years ago, and I wholeheartedly concur.

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    I love Bernstein's famous '59 recording....very exciting, dramatic, thrilling...must have been something live in Boston Symphony Hall. NYPO sounds fabulous, some super playing from all sections. Yes, he takes the finale at a lightning clip, but it's thoroughly convincing, I find it much more effective than the slower tempo...(from experience, composers don't always get it right with tempo)...Lenny moves the closing pages right along as well, and this works very well. At the slow, drawn out tempo, the brass begins to run out of gas, sustaining the rising line at a slow tempo is very taxing...the faster tempo produces a tremendous climax...Previn/CSO is very good also, often coupled with their superb DS #4.

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    I think Bernstein's tempo in the finale actually conveys the "stupid, sarcastic" nature of Shostakovich's intentions better than the deadly-slow ones - it truly sounds empty, vapid, and bombastic like a sardonic mockery of Soviet propaganda. The slow versions actually give me more of a "hard-earned victory" sensation, which is not how I see it.

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    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    I have two recordings: the Bernstein recording and this obscure recording I got at a local FYE (who knows how they got it; I can barely find it on the internet)

    1585192876351.jpg

    It's decent I guess, but I think perhaps I should try another.

    I tend to agree that the Bernstein finale is too fast, especially if he's going way faster than what Shostakovich himself wanted (I don't know much Theory, so I can't say).
    Last edited by adriesba; Mar-26-2020 at 04:27.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    I think Bernstein's tempo in the finale actually conveys the "stupid, sarcastic" nature of Shostakovich's intentions better than the deadly-slow ones - it truly sounds empty, vapid, and bombastic like a sardonic mockery of Soviet propaganda. The slow versions actually give me more of a "hard-earned victory" sensation, which is not how I see it.
    I like how Bernstein's finale just explodes, erupts, in this furious tidal wave of sound energy that continues uninterrupted for minutes on end...remarkable...I agree, I don't hear a great triumphant "victory" here...

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  18. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by adriesba View Post
    I tend to agree that the Bernstein finale is too fast, especially if he's going way faster than what Shostakovich himself wanted (I don't know much Theory, so I can't say).
    But Shostakovich liked it when Bernstein conducted it in Russia, with DS in the audience...in my experience, composers often respond positively to performance tempo that differ from the one they indicated...it may shed whole new light on a work.

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  20. #30
    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heck148 View Post
    But Shostakovich liked it when Bernstein conducted it in Russia, with DS in the audience...in my experience, composers often respond positively to performance tempo that differ from the one they indicated...it may shed whole new light on a work.
    Interesting, maybe I'll have to look into it more. I just wish I understood Theory more.

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