Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10; Passacaglia Interlude from Act II of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
Boston Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons
DG 0289 479 5059 2 [64:50]
So, how does one approach conducting and recording the greatest symphony of the 20th Century? A strong and varied attack, I think. Attack may be too strong a word for a musical task, but faced with the daunting prospects of ‘competing’ with the Mravinksys and Karajans of this world, attack may not be strong enough. Karajan thought so much of Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony he recorded it twice, analogue and digital. Both are supreme examples of the recorded arts and are easily the benchmarks by which all are measured.
In these uber digital and streaming days, the Russians have new champions of their greatest composer. Well, one Latvian. Valery Gergiev and Vasily Petrenko, the Russians, are fine interpreters Shostakovich’s works, and Petrenko has given us a dynamite modern recording in his complete set with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra on Naxos. I thought it might not be bettered for some time. It has all you need — a very good recording, a great interpretation, fine playing, with the rough and ready Shostakovich needs for a good Russian boot in the arse. If you have it and only require one recording, read no further. You’re set.
But if you are like me and ravage any new recording of the 10th ‘till the bits are sore, then read on. We have a masterpiece on our hands.
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