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Thread: Individual Shostakovich symphony recordings

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    Default Individual Shostakovich symphony recordings

    There was a recent post of complete Shostakovich cycles...but what about individual symphony performances that stand out above the rest?

    I am thinking here of the Berglund 4th or the Stokowski 5th or the Jarvi 7th?

    So which recordings would you say would be "required" listening or additions to any complete cycle set(s)?

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    for Shostakovich symphonies I collect by individual recordings, no complete sets:

    #1 - Bernstein/CSO
    #4 - Previn/CSO
    Kondrashin/MoscowPO

    #5 - Bernstein/NYPO '59
    Previn/CSO

    #6 - Reiner/PittsSO
    #7 - Bernstein/CSO
    #8 - Solti/CSO
    Mravinsky/LenPO 9/60

    #9 - Kurtz/NYP 4/47 [remarkably good sound!!]
    Solti/Carnegie Hall Project

    #10 - Stokowski/CSO
    Mitropoulos/NYPO

    #11 - Stokowski/HoustonSO
    Mravinsky/LenPO
    #15 - Solti/CSO
    Last edited by Heck148; Jan-15-2020 at 16:58.

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    #7 Bernstein/CSO
    #4 Ormandy/Philly
    #5 Mitropoulos/NYPO

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    A few stand outs for me (leaving aside any by Kondrashin that are in his set):

    Ormandy in#1 (I prefer it greatly to Bernstein) or Ancerl
    Caetani or the live (German) Kondrashin #4 (he's good in 5 and a few of the others, too)
    Ancerl in #5
    Svetlanov in #10 (but Karajan - especially if you can find the live one recorded in Moscow - must be heard ... and then there is Ancerl)
    Currentzis in #14 - even if you think you don't like the work try this one.
    Last edited by Enthusiast; Jan-16-2020 at 14:57.

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    It seems I am likely to repeat others' thoughts here, but maybe that just means endorsement!?

    No.1 - Ormandy is proper fun
    No.5 - Ancerl/Czech PO, and I'm sorry, but I like Haitink here
    No.6 - An underrated masterpiece. Berglund in Bournemouth stands out for me
    No.7 - Not a great symphony in my eyes, but Ancerl makes a damned good case for it
    No.10 - Mravinsky /Leningrad PO (Erato label still?)
    No.11 - This one's Berglund's gem (Bournemouth SO)
    No.12 - A piece of propagandist tripe, but Mravinsky makes it sound something like a masterpiece! (Erato?)
    No.13 - Kondrashin/Bavarian RSO & Ch/John Shirley Quirk. Live on Philips, a harrowingly moving experience
    No.15 - I am sure impossible to get hold of, but Shostakovich Jnr did this with the London PO, and it was on the now-defunct Collins label. Makes it sound weirder and quirkier than some others. Haitink makes it sound more dead serious, which is of course a perfectly valid way of looking at things.

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    Despite Dieter Fischer-Dieskau's theatrical over-emphasis in his parts, Haitink's recording of the 14th is noteworthy as his version has the texts sung in Spanish, French and German in keeping with whoever originally wrote them - an option the composer sanctioned - rather than the original which were sung in Russian, but it's Kondrashin's recording of the usual version with the Moscow PO which is the one for me.

    '...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).

    ὃν οἱ θεοὶ φιλοῦσιν ἀποθνῄσκει νέος [Those whom the gods love die young] - Menander

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    This is not an area that I have delved extensively into, so I'll just add a couple that I really enjoy: Maxim Shostakovich in the 5th and Vasily Petrenko in the 10th. I remember being blown away by the blazing heat of the Petrenko, especially in the terrifyingly intense first movement. That recording also has fond memories for me as the scherzo of the 10th was the first time I actually laughed out loud at a piece of music. It's just so over the top, regardless of any "depictions" he may have had it in mind, that I find it darned near impossible not to chuckle at. Unforgiving, acidic sarcasm at its finest. Oh, and that Bernstein/CSO 7th. I find it next to impossible to sit through this entire symphony at once, but if I ever decide to try it out again, this is what I will turn to. I have heard excerpts of it, and the Chicago brass is unmatched.

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    #1: Bernstein/Chicago
    #4: Rozhdestvensky BBC SO (on video)
    #5: Rostropovich NSO (their earlier recording)
    #11: Wigglesworth
    #13: Kondrashin (with Eizen); Wigglesworth
    #14: Rostropovich (with a Russian orchestra)
    #15: Sanderling/Cleveland

    I don't like the other symphonies, and thus the only recordings I have are in a complete set (Barshai)

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    I see that an edit I did on my post above changed the meaning in an unintended way as well as making the correction I desired. My post should read:

    A few stand outs for me (leaving aside any by Kondrashin that are in his set - those are nearly all good):

    Ormandy in#1 (I prefer it greatly to Bernstein) or Ancerl
    Caetani (he's good in 5 and a few of the others, too) or the live (German) Kondrashin #4
    Ancerl in #5
    Svetlanov in #10 (but Karajan - especially if you can find the live one recorded in Moscow - must be heard ... and then there is Ancerl)
    Currentzis in #14 - even if you think you don't like the work try this one.

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    Senior Member Olias's Avatar
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    I'll add another vote for Bernstein/CSO for the 1st and 7th Symphonies. That really is a candidate for the proverbial desert island CD.

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