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Thread: Shostakovich Cycle

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    Junior Member PoliteNewYorker's Avatar
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    Default Shostakovich Cycle

    So, I'm just getting really into Shostakovich, and have nearly a complete (Symphonic) cycle. (Missing only the third), but with various conductors/performances. I basically buy what I can afford, and that's usually used stuff. I'm wondering if - A. I have been buying the right performances, and B. looking for new recommendations on the best performances, so I can get the most out of this music:


    What I currently have:

    Symphony No. 1 - USSR Symphony Philharmonic Orchestra/Markevitch
    Symphony No. 2 - Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Jansons
    Symphony No. 4 - Birmingham SO/Rattle
    Symphony No. 5 - Concertgebouw/Haitink
    Symphony No. 6 - Oslo PO/Jansons
    Symphony No. 7 - NBC SO/Toscanini (Shostakovich is said to have hated this interpenetration, but I fail to see why. Is there better?)
    Symphony No. 8 - Concertgebouw/Haitink
    Symphony No. 9 - Oslo PO/Jansons
    Symphony No. 10 - Concertgebouw/Flor
    Symphony No. 11 - Concertgebouw/Haitink
    Symphony No. 12 - Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Jansons
    Symphony No. 13 - NY Phil/Masur/Yevtushenko
    Symphony No. 14 - NY Phil/Bernstein
    Symphony No. 15 - Leningrad PO/Mravinsky


    So bottom line, I like all of these performances a lot, but I'm wondering what else is out there.
    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by PoliteNewYorker; Dec-20-2009 at 22:16.

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    Since Rostropovich (Mstislav) was in very close relationship with Shostakovich, you definitively have to listen to his interpretations. If you have enough cash you can purchase the whole set including complete symphonies counducted by him.

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    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoliteNewYorker View Post
    Symphony No. 7 - NBC SO/Toscanini (Shostakovich is said to have hated this interpenetration, but I fail to see why. Is there better?)
    Bernstein/Chicago Symphony is by general consensus the greatest interpretation this symphony has received. The interpretation is spectacular, and the bass trombone solo near the end is so incredibly powerful--and that's only the tip of the iceberg of what this interpretation encompasses. You should find it.
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

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    Senior Member SamGuss's Avatar
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    While I am still getting to know Shostakovich and putting together my own cycle for him, this particular piece stands out to me and finds itself being replayed a lot around here:

    http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/...?album_id=1615

    It's his 7th performed by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Kurt Masur.
    Remember the 3 SW's: Some Will, Some Won't, So What!

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    Senior Member SamGuss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by World Violist View Post
    Bernstein/Chicago Symphony is by general consensus the greatest interpretation this symphony has received. The interpretation is spectacular, and the bass trombone solo near the end is so incredibly powerful--and that's only the tip of the iceberg of what this interpretation encompasses. You should find it.
    This recording is on my hit list too.
    Remember the 3 SW's: Some Will, Some Won't, So What!

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    Senior Member emiellucifuge's Avatar
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    Mravinsky + Leningrad

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    I've been working my way through the whole Haitink set. Certain ones I particularly recommend (of those you don't have):

    4th, 14th

    Also quite good: 1st, 9th, 10th

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    Thanks for this listing. I don't have the third symphony and would invite recommendations.

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    I second Haitink for #14.

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    Senior Member Conor71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tahnak View Post
    Thanks for this listing. I don't have the third symphony and would invite recommendations.
    Jansons is very good in the first 3 symphonies I think - the 3rd (& 14th) are available on this disc (the complete cycle, should you be considering getting it, is very good too!):


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    Junior Member PoliteNewYorker's Avatar
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    Would somebody be so kind as to recommend me a better symphony no. 10 than the nearly-unknown Klaus Peter Flor?

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    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoliteNewYorker View Post
    Would somebody be so kind as to recommend me a better symphony no. 10 than the nearly-unknown Klaus Peter Flor?
    I have only one recording of the tenth, with Paavo Jarvi and the Cincinnati Symphony. I think the scherzo movement isn't really vicious enough, though. You may want to look up the recording by Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic. It's a classic.
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PoliteNewYorker View Post
    Would somebody be so kind as to recommend me a better symphony no. 10 than the nearly-unknown Klaus Peter Flor?
    Karajan's first recording with the Berliners (on DG) or Mariss Janssons (EMI).

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    Senior Member Moldyoldie's Avatar
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    I'm going to limit my "must hear" recommendations to the following:

    No. 5
    - Bernstein/NYPO...unabashedly heroic with the composer's supposed imprimatur.
    - Rostropovich/NSO (DG or Teldec, haven't heard his LSO)...a finale that stretches you on a rack!
    - M. Shostakovich/LSO or Czech PO...uniquely subdued and introspective. The LSO on Collins is somewhat compromised by dullish sound, however.

    No. 7
    - Bernstein/CSO...wowzer!

    No. 8
    - Previn/LSO (EMI, not DG)...makes this the most powerful symphonic statement of the 20th century!
    - Mravinsky/Leningrad Ph....searing intensity
    - Haitink/COA...a great orchestra and powerful interpretation

    No. 10
    - Sanderling/Berlin SO
    - Karajan/BPO (either)
    (Many consider this the composer's greatest symphony; I'd defer and say it's No. 8)

    No. 11
    - De Preist/Helsinki PO (not Oregon)...this is the best I've yet heard of this, raising it above mere Soviet cinematicism. Vivid, in-your-face recording!

    No. 15
    - Sanderling/Berlin or Cleveland...a distinctly haunting finale.


    I've yet to hear any of the vaunted Kondrashin, Rozhdestvensky, or Barshai cycles. Mravinsky's authority is often compromised by sound issues. I found the young Bychkov's earlier recordings with the Berlin Philharmonic to be singularly disappointing; I've yet to hear any of his more recent releases from Cologne (same orchestra as Barshai). Caetani's cycle from Italy is vividly recorded, committedly performed, and uniquely alacritous, but often needlessly brusque -- thus, much of the music's power is compromised, IMO.

    Overall, and perhaps surprisingly, I would recommend Sanderling's incomplete cycle with the Berlin SO as combining consistently lucid and authoritative performances with perfectly fine recorded sound at an affordable price -- a great entry point for the novice listener. Also overall, I find Previn to be the most sympathetic, least superficial, and most satisfying western interpreter, more so than even Haitink. Many sing the praises of the UK's Wigglesworth in this regard, though I've yet to hear him. What I've heard from Jansons and Gergiev sounds mostly prosaic to my ears. Not so Neeme Järvi, however -- worth hearing, especially in No. 4 and No. 6.
    Last edited by Moldyoldie; Feb-21-2010 at 23:06.
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    Has anybody listened to any of the Shostakovich cycle (incomplete so far) by Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic? I'm not a Shostakovich-buff, but I've read quite a lot of good reviews of his recordings.

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