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Thread: Shostakovich symphonies

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    Default Shostakovich symphonies

    Which are your favorite shostakovich symphonies? Which ones are over or underrated in your opinion?

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    Senior Member Joe B's Avatar
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    My favorite Shostakovich symphony is "Symphony #10". As to which are over or underrated I'll leave that to others. Symphony #10, String Quartet #8, and Piano Concerto #2 are at the top of my list for this composer.
    I love music. I want music. I need music.

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Fourth to tenth - whatever their moods and strengths/weaknesses for me this a cycle within a cycle, and a powerful one at that.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    People's tastes in Shostakovich vary a lot in my experience. The symphonies I especially enjoy are 1, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, and 15.


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    It would be difficult for me to say which ones are overrated. I do think that #12 is underrated.
    My favorite is probably #4. Out of all of them I have listened to 5 and 7 the most.

    I feel his masterpieces of the genre are 4, 5, 10 and 13. A case for the same stature can be made for 1, 8, 11, 14 and 15.
    6 is very interesting in itself. 9 was a guffaw to those great and grand 9th's of history. I think it's a great work.
    2 and 3 were experimental and are worth listening to. I only have one recording of these works. The Rostropovich/Teldec which represents each of them very nicely.

    I like 7 very much. The Bernstein/Chicago/DG recording spoiled me quickly. It was the first recording of 7 I purchased. One of Lenny's greatest in my opinion.

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    Senior Member Brahmsian Colors's Avatar
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    The Fourth and Seventh are my faves. I prefer Kondrashin in both as well as Haitink for the Seventh.

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    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    Aside from nos. 2 and 3, I love them all. I'd probably give top position to no. 10.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Ones I like less:

    2 & 3, naturally.
    4 I've listened to it many times and it still annoys me.
    8 Too long, too grim.
    11 Like a movie score. Simply not eventful enough.
    12 Pedestrian.
    13 & 14 Somehow, I could never get into either one.


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    Interesting, my favorite recording of the 7th is with Gergiev conducting the Kirov Orchestra. The last movement is unbelievably powerful.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    My all-time favorite Leningrad is Bernstein/Chicago. Very long, very massive. This one never lets up.



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    I love all the Shostakovich's symphonies, except the #14. Vocal soloists in symphonies are not my cup of tea (there are some exceptions). My overall favorite is the #8.

    An eventual order: 8, 5, 11, 10, 4, 13, 12, 6, 7, 15, 9, 1, 3, 2, 14

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    Senior Member Eva Yojimbo's Avatar
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    #4 is my favorite, perhaps because it was the one most inspired by Mahler. I also really like #14.

    Beyond that, I think the rest of them are problematic at best. 1, 5, 7, 8, and 10 all have some good stuff, but are flawed in various ways. 2-3 are awful, 11-13 and 15 are forgettable also-rans. I've actually come to prefer the more smaller-scale stuff like 6 and 9; perhaps I've come to think Shosta was best when he wasn't striving after romantic grandness but allowed his humorous, more concise and classical side to shine. Maybe also why I prefer his string quartets to his symphonies.

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    Senior Member Minor Sixthist's Avatar
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    The finale of the 7th is one of my favorite finales. The 5th has lots of heart wrenching moments and honestly some parts I find so eerie and sinister...I'm thinking the flute solo toward the end of the first movement. It's so tortured. It gives me the chills.
    Last edited by Minor Sixthist; May-27-2018 at 03:50.

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    Roughly my order would be

    7,14* - 10,13 - 4,5 - 1,6,8,9 - 11,12,15 - 2,3

    but even 2 and 3 I like to hear.

    * although for me this is more a (great) song cycle than a symphony.
    Allüberall und ewig blauen licht die Fernen! Ewig ... ewig ...

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    #1 (a brashly wonderful, concise and characterful first effort) and #5 (except for that finale). #4 is intense, and #15 is enigmatic and fascinating, but not too often please. In general I have little taste for S's symphonies.

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