Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collection)

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hollowman
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Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collection)

Post by hollowman » Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:23 pm

PrestoClassical has a pretty complete list here:
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/w/81084

I have the complete Melodiya/Kondrashin collection, and much of Haitink. Until I found this list, I didn't know the cycle had been represented THIS MANY TIMES on recorded media.

I think the Kondrashin is generally the highest rated, but I haven't heard them all. Maybe the best collection is a DIY mix-n-match.

About the Kondrashin set ... released 2x (1994 and 2007) on Melodiya. I have the '94. If you have both, are there [b]major[/b] diffs. between the two? Melodiya sound quality is not always consistent so maybe the latter (2007) version improved things.

Thx!
Last edited by hollowman on Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Modernistfan
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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by Modernistfan » Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:36 pm

This is a very tough call.

In my view, Haitink is not Russian enough or emotional enough (blame my Russian ancestry--my father's side of the family is from Shchedrin in Belarus, and my mother's side is from a small town near Kishinev in Moldova, both part of the Russian Empire in the old days).

The problem with the Kondrashin is the sound, as noted. Additionally, as noted by Presto, there is a HUGE problem with the Thirteenth Symphony in that, no doubt because of political pressure, they used the bowdlerized text to reduce the specific references to the massacre of the Jews at Babi Yar. That has stopped me from buying the cycle. There is another complete Russian cycle conducted by Gennady Rozhdestvensky, but that is somewhat difficult to find. (I have not heard it.) There was an issue of that cycle on Melodiya when that label was part of RCA; it is out of print, but still available used at a not terribly high price (about $70.00 on Amazon US); I do not know whether they used the original text of Yevtushenko's poetry in that cycle. The sound may be an issue with that cycle as well. (Mravinsky never recorded a full cycle; he broke with Shostakovich over the Thirteenth Symphony ("Babi Yar") honoring the Holocaust victims in Kiev and using Yevtushenko's poetry (according to some accounts, Mravinsky was something of an anti-Semite, unfortunately).

Two complete cycles that are very good, if not quite the last word, are Mariss Jansons on EMI and Vladimir Ashkenazy on Decca. Both split the cycle over several orchestras. Both are generally available and reasonably priced.

I am collecting the Petrenko series on Naxos with the Liverpool orchestra; generally, it is excellent, and may be the best of all when complete.

There is also a cycle with Dmitri Kitaenko conducting the Gürzenich Orchestra of Köln on Capriccio. This set is on SACD. I have not heard this at all.

One cycle that has gotten considerable praise is on Brilliant Classics; it is conducted by Rudolf Barshai with the WDR Symphony Orchestra, also of Köln. Availability of this had been somewhat spotty, but it is now generally available. I had it but sold it; it is good, but somewhat undercharacterized.

There is also another complete cycle on MD&G with Roman Kofman and the Beethoven Orchestra of Bonn. I have not heard these, but the reviews have been generally very negative.

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by barney » Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:01 pm

I have all the symphonies, some several times, but not one complete cycle. Into my mail this week came a DG Collectors Edition box of the complete symphonies, which I look forward to listening to, but features different conductors: Bernstein, Chung, Jarvi, Karajan, Previn, Rostropovich

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by Modernistfan » Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:32 pm

Some further corrections: The Rozhdestvensky Melodiya/BMG Amazon US price that I quoted is for a 10-CD set, issued later, that includes only the symphonies. There were a number of fillers in the original 14-CD set, some of quite rare repertoire, and I have part of the set issued in 1- or 2-CD chunks that included some of the fillers that I wanted. The original 14-CD set is going for something north of $250.00 on Amazon.

There is also the Rostropovich set on Warner Classics. This has divided critical opinion; I found it a bit too slow, and I also sold it.

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by THEHORN » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:11 pm

The EMI set with Mariss Jansons conducting the St.Petersburg Phil,OsloPhil,Pittsburgh sym, V.P.O., B.P.O.,
Philadelphia orch , and BavarianR.S.O. can holdits own amongthe others and has a lot going for it .

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by Modernistfan » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:19 pm

As I said in an earlier post, I would avoid that new DG compilation. The Järvi recordings are not bad, although I am of the opinion that he conducts the "battle" scene of the second movement of the Eleventh Symphony too fast, as though he is rushing to make the 3:15 p.m. express train for Moscow. The real problems in that set are the Sixth and Ninth Symphonies, which are the later Bernstein recordings with the Vienna Philharmonic. Bernstein's earlier Shostakovich recordings were excellent; the earliest Fifth on Columbia (now Sony) is a classic, but his later recordings were not nearly so good. Bernstein is a classic case of an artist listening too much to critics.

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by hollowman » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:35 pm

The NAC Podcast from a few weeks ago explored the 10th:
http://nac-cna.ca/en/podcasts/explore-t ... h-symphony
NAC has covered Shostakovich a few times and a common comment is that Russian orchestras perform "crazy fast". I found this with Kondrashin/Moscow Phil. Orch. I'm not sure I could live with anything "tamer" ;) Controlled/tight (=not sloppy) "crazy-fast" playing is quite a treat!

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:12 pm

Barshai, Kitaenko, Kondrashin, Jansons, all good sets, Mravinsky sadly did not record the entire cycle.

Stay away from Askenazy, Rattle, Rostropovich and the Composers son...

Mark Wigglesworth is working his way thru these Symphonies too, a nice set of recordings.
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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by sans maitre » Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:39 pm

For the money, it's hard to beat Rudolph Barshai and the WDR

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by John F » Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:16 pm

For me, no one conductor has the measure of all the symphonies. Mravinsky might have, but he never conducted six of them. Some of Rostropovich's recordings are extraordinary, but his cycle is uneven. Individual recordings that are touchstones for me, in addition to Mravinsky's, include Markevitch with #1, Rodzinski with #5 (London, not Cleveland), Gergiev with #7, Mitropoulos with #10, Stokowski with #11, and Barshai's Moscow Chanber Orchestra recording of #14 with Vishnevskaya and Reshetin.
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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by hollowman » Fri Feb 21, 2014 12:08 am

Stokowski with #11
It's here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fML3OXHudcw
(Wow! Even with YouTube's limited audio, that recording sounds super!)
Didn't know about this. I know Stokowski style (=interpretation, re-interpretation) doesn't appeal to many hard-core classical fans but I find he adds layers of richness that often surpass the orig. composer/composition.

Dunno if Szell ever experimented with Shostakovitch but that speed, grace and precision would've been an interesting combo.

What about the few Solti's:
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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by Heck148 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 1:11 pm

I don't favor any complete set for this great scope of symphonies - I pick and choose amongst individual performances -

some of my favorite conductors -

#1 - Bernstein/CSO
#3 - Rostropovich
#4 - Rozh'ky, Previn, Haitink
#5 - Bernstein
#6 - Bernstein, Reiner
#7 - Bernstein/CSO/DG
#8 - Solti, Mravinsky
#9 - Kurtz/NYPO, Solti/Carnergie Hall Proj
#10 - Stokowski, Mitropoulos
#11 - Mravinsky, Stokowski
#13 - Solti
#14- Bernstein, Rostropovich
#15 - Solti

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by barney » Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:47 pm

Modernistfan wrote:As I said in an earlier post, I would avoid that new DG compilation. The Järvi recordings are not bad, although I am of the opinion that he conducts the "battle" scene of the second movement of the Eleventh Symphony too fast, as though he is rushing to make the 3:15 p.m. express train for Moscow. The real problems in that set are the Sixth and Ninth Symphonies, which are the later Bernstein recordings with the Vienna Philharmonic. Bernstein's earlier Shostakovich recordings were excellent; the earliest Fifth on Columbia (now Sony) is a classic, but his later recordings were not nearly so good. Bernstein is a classic case of an artist listening too much to critics.
Thanks for the summary. I will listen with that in mind. I quite enjoy having different conductors' approach so readily available, in similar sets for other composers. But they are usually a bit mixed. So, as John F observes, are (often) sets by one conductor/set of forces.

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by barney » Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:51 pm

John F wrote:For me, no one conductor has the measure of all the symphonies. Mravinsky might have, but he never conducted six of them. Some of Rostropovich's recordings are extraordinary, but his cycle is uneven. Individual recordings that are touchstones for me, in addition to Mravinsky's, include Markevitch with #1, Rodzinski with #5 (London, not Cleveland), Gergiev with #7, Mitropoulos with #10, Stokowski with #11, and Barshai's Moscow Chanber Orchestra recording of #14 with Vishnevskaya and Reshetin.
Gergiev did the 7th in Melbourne a few years ago. I had first heard it live with the Melbourne Symphony under Oleg Caetani, a very fine conductor, only a few months before and been enormously impressed (live is nearly always better than recordings, in my view, for a number of reasons, though I am very grateful for recordings). Then Gergiev came for the Melbourne Festival with his Leningrad team, and it was one of the extraordinary, unforgettable concerts that one treasures for the rest of one's life.

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by hollowman » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:29 am

Being a "modern" composer, I wonder if (or how much) Shostakovich composed for recorded media (as opposed to live performance)?

Speaking of recordings ...
I know that the scale of some of his works -- like Mahler -- needs a good/powerful recording. Wimpy recordings, like some of those from USSR days, do subtract much of the dynamism and power that Shostakovich seems to want to convey.

Hmm ... some of the later Solti digital recordings are beginning to entice me ;)

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by John F » Sat Feb 22, 2014 5:56 am

Shostakovich wrote a lot of film scores, and that's a "recorded medium," isn't it? But he composed nothing on commission from Mk/Melodiya or any other record company or for any radio or television network, as far as I can tell. And in the Soviet Union it would have been pointless to compose for those state-controlled media without a commission.
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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by Heck148 » Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:18 am

hollowman wrote:Hmm ... some of the later Solti digital recordings are beginning to entice me ;)
Check them out, very fine - Solti came to Shostakovich pretty late in his career, but they were made for each other.

I heard him perform #8 with CSO, in Boston Symphony Hall....one of the most memorable concerts ever....really powerful stuff...as good or better than his excellent "live" 1989 recording for Decca.

His #9 with Carnegie Hall Project Orchestra [6/94] is really superb....

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by slofstra » Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:12 am

hollowman wrote:Being a "modern" composer, I wonder if (or how much) Shostakovich composed for recorded media (as opposed to live performance)?

Speaking of recordings ...
I know that the scale of some of his works -- like Mahler -- needs a good/powerful recording. Wimpy recordings, like some of those from USSR days, do subtract much of the dynamism and power that Shostakovich seems to want to convey.

Hmm ... some of the later Solti digital recordings are beginning to entice me ;)
He very much composed for the stage, orchestra or otherwise, given the one book I read on his life.

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by slofstra » Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:33 am

hollowman wrote:The NAC Podcast from a few weeks ago explored the 10th:
http://nac-cna.ca/en/podcasts/explore-t ... h-symphony
NAC has covered Shostakovich a few times and a common comment is that Russian orchestras perform "crazy fast". I found this with Kondrashin/Moscow Phil. Orch. I'm not sure I could live with anything "tamer" ;) Controlled/tight (=not sloppy) "crazy-fast" playing is quite a treat!
That's an interesting distinction, and the ideal approach depends tremendously on the symphony. Someone commented above as to not liking Haitink's controlled, and presumably, tamer approach, but I just listened to his Shostakovich/ Seventh/ LSO the other day, and the controlled first 'Bolero' style movement sounded perfect. The entire performance sounded great.

Shostakovich often wrote in a comic/subversive style, never moreso than in his 9th, which is one of my favourites of his symphonies. I wouldn't venture which of the five versions I have is the best at this moment. I have Bernstein, Gergiev, Kondrashin, Petrenko and Haitink. I think I liked them all.

One of my favourites across all the performances and symphonies is the more recent Haitink / CSO/ 4th in SACD sound. It's a tour-de-force, and one where good sound does make a big difference.

I have had the Haitink/ LSO/ Concertgebouw cycle for many years, listened to it once a year or so, and supplemented with "singles". Of the singles, I do like the Russians, Petrenko, Gergiev, Kondrashin and Mravinsky, but keep coming back to the Haitink cycle.

I also remember Haitink being rather "off the cuff" about Shostakovich in an interview. He was asked to record some of the symphonies without prior acquaintance, it struck me. And then it was as if he said, "well, I'll give that a whirl and see how it goes". I should dig that interview up some time in order to be fair about it. Rather disillusioning to think that conductors can't go just where the muse leads them.

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by John F » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:32 pm

I should think most if not all recordings of the 2nd and 3rd symphonies were made by conductors with no previous knowledge of the music. Concert performances are very rare because both works require a chorus and are quite short. More generally, cycles like the Mozart and Haydn symphonies are necessarily learned for recordings since no conductor ever has the opportunity to conduct all the works in concert.
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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by hollowman » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:29 am

From Sept, 2013:
hr-Sinfonieorchesters / Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra!
Schostakowitsch: 10. Sinfonie ∙ hr-Sinfonieorchester ∙ Stanisław Skrowaczewski
Not bad, you get the whole thing in HD (with the modern recording goodness I noted earlier)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2Rtd4tnFwU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2Rtd4tnFwU[/youtube]

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by hollowman » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:43 am

John F wrote:Shostakovich wrote a lot of film scores, and that's a "recorded medium," isn't it? But he composed nothing on commission from Mk/Melodiya or any other record company or for any radio or television network, as far as I can tell. And in the Soviet Union it would have been pointless to compose for those state-controlled media without a commission.
I think he did the film stuff mostly to appease the political folks in charge (Stalin, et. al.) ... they liked films a lot but they did not like Shostakovich -- essentially, then, DS did film to stay alive.

Interesting comment about the USSR and its native recorded media ... I don't think LPs were uncommon. And the black market for innocent imports -- like cigarettes, Japanese electronics, tapes and LPs -- were "okay" by the polits ... or the public would've seriously revolted.

All that said, Shostakovich's music is not really for the masses, even in the freest modern society.

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by Cosi bel do » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:45 am

Modernistfan wrote:Some further corrections: The Rozhdestvensky Melodiya/BMG Amazon US price that I quoted is for a 10-CD set, issued later, that includes only the symphonies. There were a number of fillers in the original 14-CD set, some of quite rare repertoire, and I have part of the set issued in 1- or 2-CD chunks that included some of the fillers that I wanted. The original 14-CD set is going for something north of $250.00 on Amazon.

There is also the Rostropovich set on Warner Classics. This has divided critical opinion; I found it a bit too slow, and I also sold it.
Yes I have the complete Rozhdestvensky symphonies on twofers (with all the fillers you were praising).

It is clearly, in my opinion, the best Shostakovich cycle recorded so far. Of course Kondrashin is also excellent, but with a few weaknesses and also not the best sound (this is partly Melodiya's fault, as I already heard Japanese releases of a couple symphonies from this same cycle, and they sounded really better, incredible).

Rozhdestvensky has a perfect orchestra with all the russian violence, pathos and virtuosity that Haitink and Jansons lack in most of the symphonies (let alone Rostropovitch...).

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by slofstra » Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:36 am

hollowman wrote:
John F wrote:Shostakovich wrote a lot of film scores, and that's a "recorded medium," isn't it? But he composed nothing on commission from Mk/Melodiya or any other record company or for any radio or television network, as far as I can tell. And in the Soviet Union it would have been pointless to compose for those state-controlled media without a commission.
I think he did the film stuff mostly to appease the political folks in charge (Stalin, et. al.) ... they liked films a lot but they did not like Shostakovich -- essentially, then, DS did film to stay alive.

Interesting comment about the USSR and its native recorded media ... I don't think LPs were uncommon. And the black market for innocent imports -- like cigarettes, Japanese electronics, tapes and LPs -- were "okay" by the polits ... or the public would've seriously revolted.

All that said, Shostakovich's music is not really for the masses, even in the freest modern society.
Arguably, your last statement is true by definition. Might as well say that Shostakovich is serious music, and serious music is not for the masses. This isn't to slight the mass taste. In general, there is more overall demand for music to be played in elevators, bratwurst festivals and discos, than to be played for serious listening in living rooms or dens. So the former will sell more.

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by Cosi bel do » Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:54 am

Still, Shostakovich concerts have always seduced a wider public than other composers whose reputation is more difficult.

I would add that Shostakovich, and classical music in general, was certainly not less accessible in USSR than it is today in western societies, for education as well as social reasons.

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by maestrob » Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:10 pm

My preferred cycle of Shostakovich symphonies right now would be Oleg Caetani, hands down. Petrenko's cycle is also very good, but I don't care for his overblown interpretation of V (Your mileage may vary).

Kondrashin's Melodiya cycle suffers from constricted sound, it's true, but no one can fault the excitement and energy or the commitment of the players to what obviously was a historic occasion (or series), recorded while the composer was still alive.

Rozhdestvensky's cycle is, although hard to find, absolutely first rate.

Putting together a set of individual performances might look like this:

I: Bernstein/Chicago (coupled with VII)
IV: Ormandy or Chung: Philadelphia
V: Bernstein DVD (recorded in Tokyo) or Caetani if you prefer a slower last movement
VI: Caetani or Petrenko
VII: Bernstein /Chicago or Rozhdestvensky or Gergiev
VIII: Mravinsky (BBC Live: Western premiere)
IX: Caetani or Petrenko
X: Von Karajan/Berlin or Ormandy/Philadelphia
XI: Stokowski/Houston (dated sound, but electrifying performance!)
XII: Caetani
XIII: Ormandy/Philadelphia
XIV: Haitink (in original languages)/Ormandy: Philadelphia in Russian
XIV: Rozhdestvensky or Petrenko

These are just personal preferences YMMV.

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:55 pm

slofstra wrote:
hollowman wrote:
John F wrote:Shostakovich wrote a lot of film scores, and that's a "recorded medium," isn't it? But he composed nothing on commission from Mk/Melodiya or any other record company or for any radio or television network, as far as I can tell. And in the Soviet Union it would have been pointless to compose for those state-controlled media without a commission.
I think he did the film stuff mostly to appease the political folks in charge (Stalin, et. al.) ... they liked films a lot but they did not like Shostakovich -- essentially, then, DS did film to stay alive.

Interesting comment about the USSR and its native recorded media ... I don't think LPs were uncommon. And the black market for innocent imports -- like cigarettes, Japanese electronics, tapes and LPs -- were "okay" by the polits ... or the public would've seriously revolted.

All that said, Shostakovich's music is not really for the masses, even in the freest modern society.
Arguably, your last statement is true by definition. Might as well say that Shostakovich is serious music, and serious music is not for the masses. This isn't to slight the mass taste. In general, there is more overall demand for music to be played in elevators, bratwurst festivals and discos, than to be played for serious listening in living rooms or dens. So the former will sell more.
Speaking as a Pleb, my taste is sleighted, and, as a devotee of Shosty the Terrible I object most strenuously to any reference to German Sausages in a Thread about his music.
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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by Modernistfan » Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:30 am

There is also a 16-CD set of the Rozhdestvensky interpretations that has surfaced on the label Venezia, not available in the US but available in Japan. This seems to include everything on the 14-CD Melodiya set referred to previously plus some additional fillers, including a recording of the Cello Concerto No. 1 with Mikhail Khomitser. The cost is 6090 yen (about $60.00), but shipping to North America adds 1600 yen (about $15.50; I thought it would be more for a 16-CD set). I may order this from HMV Japan (but not at this point; I am holding back on further CD purchases to humor my sweet, ever-loving wife.

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by hollowman » Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:34 am

Cosi bel do wrote:Of course Kondrashin is also excellent, but with a few weaknesses and also not the best sound (this is partly Melodiya's fault, as I already heard Japanese releases of a couple symphonies from this same cycle, and they sounded really better, incredible).
Japanese releases of the Kondrashin/Melodiya/BMG cycle? I have the BMG/Melodiya from 1994, and it is pretty spotty ... some material sounds okay, but much is pathetic. Are you saying the Japan release somehow improves the same Kondrashin/Melodiya cycle?

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by Cosi bel do » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:50 am

Yes exactly, there is another, better release of that same full set (same recordings, different remastering). Better than the BMG release (that was horrible indeed, I had it too for a while) and better than the more recent Melodiya release (far better than the BMG, but still not the best sound possible).

I'm not sure but I guess it must be this Venezia release :

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by Modernistfan » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:30 pm

Does anyone know if the Rozhdestvensky Thirteenth Symphony uses the original text in the first movement ("Babi Yar") or the bowdlerized version? This was recorded in 1985, I believe, so that there is at least a possibility that they had gone back to the original version, as it was recorded significantly later than the Kondrashin version. If it uses the original Yevtushenko text, I will likely buy this set in the Venezia version, but I would like to find out. (I may be able to check if I have one of the 2-CD chunks of the Rozhdestvensky set that includes the Thirteenth and compare what is being sung with the Russian text that I have in several other versions; I probably can spot the difference. However, I may not get to this for a while.)

I just checked, and I do not have the Rozhdestvensky Thirteenth in the BMG/Melodiya edition. If anyone does have it (or the Venezia set), can they possibly post whether or not that recording uses the original text of Yevtushenko's "Babi Yar" or uses the same bowdlerized text that the earlier Kondrashin recording presumably was forced to use by the apparatchiks? Thanks in advance.

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by Cosi bel do » Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:04 pm

I just checked. The booklet says Evtushenko, and nothing else (but the lyrics are not printed nor translated, in my BMG edition). Not that I would hear the difference.

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by ContrapunctusIX » Tue Feb 25, 2014 7:36 pm

I have a number of assorted one offs from all sorts of conductors, but only three complete cycles:

Jansons
Haitink
Barshai

Of the three, I'm partial to the Barshai, though all three cycles have commendable qualities.

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by piston » Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:56 pm

I also vote for Barshai. Let's not go into two-minute comparative segments of his symphonies, PLEASE! That sort of discographic exercise is way too anal for me.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:17 am

piston wrote:I also vote for Barshai. Let's not go into two-minute comparative segments of his symphonies, PLEASE! That sort of discographic exercise is way too anal for me.
I don't see anyone suggesting that, where do you see it mentioned?
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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by hollowman » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:42 am

I just dug into my boxed-up CD collection -- thought I'd ripped the better ones onto my HDD ;) -- and found some DS...
Perhaps the mother lode was: National Symp Orch & Mstislav Rostropovich - Shostakovich Sy. 8 (TELDEC, 1992) --- an Oct. 1991 recording done at JFK Center, Wash. D.C.
TELDEC digital recordings** are usually top-notch, and this one is no exception ... the performance is very good.

** Despite the USA location, all the production and engineering team have German names. Ironic .... all these krauts come into my country's capitol, and run the show ;) Damn ferners ... stealin' our jobs ... Especially when excellent U.S.-native producers and engineers could have been used. Man ... and Ruskie in charge of my country's National Orch., too*** ... next you'll be tellin' me I caint fly my confederate flag and fire my shotgun.

***Was this a cold-war political move? ... MS banned in USSR, then defected to USA in 1974, and then from 1977 until 1994, he was musical director and conductor of the U.S. National Symphony Orchestra in Washington. All sounds very Shostakovichy ;)
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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by hollowman » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:59 am

This release set of the 15 symps by Kondrashin/Moscow Phil Orch. was mastered in 2003 -2007 (Melodiya and Korea's AULOS CLASSICS ) using DSD (this is not an SACD, tho' .... I think):
(be sure to read the extensive review on the musicweb-international page, link above. It seems that Aulos is the version to have and that the Korean team's use of the original Melodiya master tape solved a lot of issues with poor sound that plagued the earlier BMG/Melodiya releases )
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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by hollowman » Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:09 pm

shostakovich.org/symphony.htm ranks as follows:

Symphony No. 1: Bernstein (DG 27632)
Symphony No. 4: Kondrashin (BMG-Melodiya 19840 -- Europe only)
Symphony No. 5: Maxim Shostakovich (BMG-RCA 32041)
Symphony No. 6: Mravinsky (BMG-Melodiya 25198)
Symphony No. 7: Bernstein (DG 27632)
Symphony No. 8: Mravinsky (Russian Disc 10917)
Symphony No. 9: Jarvi (Chandos 8587)
Symphony No. 10: Mravinsky (BMG-Melodiya 25198)
Symphony No. 11: Stokowski (EMI/Angel 65206)
Symphony No. 13: Kondrashin (Russian Disc 11191)
Symphony No. 14: Rostropovich (Revelation 10101)
Symphony No. 15: Haitink (London 417581)

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle)

Post by karlhenning » Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:51 pm

Modernistfan wrote:. . . The Järvi recordings are not bad[....]
His recording of the Fourth is spoilt by over-reverberant acoustics.

Thread Duty: My favorite is Maksim Dmitriyevich, (although we have already had Chalkie's ritual scorning of it :mrgreen:

A close second is probably Jansons (I say probably, because I am not sure I've heard all 15 under his direction); certainly his recordings of the Fifteenth (LSO), Tenth (Phila.) and Eighth (Pittsburgh) are outstanding.

I'll join in the chorus of praise for Petrenko, too: his recordings of the Fourth and Leningrad, in particular, are stellar.

Cheers,
~Karl
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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle)

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:06 pm

karlhenning wrote:
Modernistfan wrote:. . . The Järvi recordings are not bad[....]
His recording of the Fourth is spoilt by over-reverberant acoustics.

Thread Duty: My favorite is Maksim Dmitriyevich, (although we have already had Chalkie's ritual scorning of it :mrgreen:

A close second is probably Jansons (I say probably, because I am not sure I've heard all 15 under his direction); certainly his recordings of the Fifteenth (LSO), Tenth (Phila.) and Eighth (Pittsburgh) are outstanding.

I'll join in the chorus of praise for Petrenko, too: his recordings of the Fourth and Leningrad, in particular, are stellar.

Cheers,
~Karl
At least he was not the only one scorned, there were four, including Le Rat, a Russian Pianist and that famous Russian Cellist turned Conductor.

Given my love of Soviet Conductors it's interesting that three of the four are Russian, I just wish two of them had stuck to their day jobs.
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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by karlhenning » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:50 pm

Rattle hasn't recorded the lot, has he, Chalkie?

I've heard his Fourth, which is good.

Oh! And Caetani . . . I've only heard his Fourth, Ninth and Tenth. Good, indeed.

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by maestrob » Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:13 pm

karlhenning wrote:Rattle hasn't recorded the lot, has he, Chalkie?

I've heard his Fourth, which is good.

Oh! And Caetani . . . I've only heard his Fourth, Ninth and Tenth. Good, indeed.

Cheers,
~Karl
Hi, Karl......

Run, do not walk, to Amazon & get the rest of the Caetani cycle: you will be pleased beyond words, my friend. They are live recordings and generate an electricity that rivals if not betters Petrenko. His Fifth is outstanding! Happy listening....... :D

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by hollowman » Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:21 am

What about Haitink?
Serious classical aficionados (like this forum) don't seem to mention this conductor's cycle too much.
Performance-wise, is he (his cycle) spotty, or just ordinary? (IMO, decent and consistent (throughout cycle) but does not excel at any point)
That said ... seems to be one of the best-sellers on Amazon, tho' **. (Does he soften DS for the bewildered herd...mass consumption?)
I have some of the Haitink/Decca releases and the sound quality is very good. Also, the orchestras that Haitink is paired up with are heavyweights (LondonPO, and Concetgebouw Orch.)

** This could partly be the result of Decca/London's (now part of media giant Universal Music Group) marketing budget ... helps when Borders and Wal-Mart public-display shelves stock this stuff

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by John F » Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:53 am

For me, Haitink's Decca recordings of Shostakovich are honest enough but rarely anything more. Seems like a mismatch of temperaments to me. And it was a serious mistake to sing Symphony #14 in the poems' original languages rather than the Russian texts that Shostakovich actually set to music.
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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:07 am

What's there to say about Haitink?

Not much, actually nothing really...
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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by Heck148 » Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:13 am

hollowman wrote:What about Haitink?
Serious classical aficionados (like this forum) don't seem to mention this conductor's cycle too much.
..... Also, the orchestras that Haitink is paired up with are heavyweights (LondonPO, and Concetgebouw Orch.)
Haitink oftentimes seems too tepid, too reserved...However, his recent Shost #4 with CSO is very fine.
Amsterdam CBO sounds good, a little light-hitting for my taste...also, of particular interest to me, the solo bassoon of that period was pretty weak. I've never considered the LondonPO really first-rate under most conductors - Boult and Solti seemed to be the only ones, TMK, to stimulate it to sound like a first-rank orchestra.

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by Heck148 » Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:13 am

delete, 2ble posting, sorry...

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by John F » Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:45 am

Heck148 wrote:Haitink oftentimes seems too tepid, too reserved...However, his recent Shost #4 with CSO is very fine.
I haven't heard it, but maybe he gained from living with the music and conducting it in concerts. Haitink must have learned many of the symphonies for the Decca recording sessions, which may explain his restraint in interpreting them - that and his temperament.
John Francis

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by Heck148 » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:57 am

John F wrote:
Heck148 wrote:Haitink oftentimes seems too tepid, too reserved...However, his recent Shost #4 with CSO is very fine.
I haven't heard it, but maybe he gained from living with the music and conducting it in concerts. Haitink must have learned many of the symphonies for the Decca recording sessions, which may explain his restraint in interpreting them - that and his temperament.
Haitink is a pretty solid conductor...when combined with an orchestra that is naturally more aggressive than most, the results can be quite stunning.

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Re: Shostakovich: Symps. 1-15 (your favorite cycle collectio

Post by maestrob » Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:11 pm

Heck148 wrote:
John F wrote:
Heck148 wrote:Haitink oftentimes seems too tepid, too reserved...However, his recent Shost #4 with CSO is very fine.
I haven't heard it, but maybe he gained from living with the music and conducting it in concerts. Haitink must have learned many of the symphonies for the Decca recording sessions, which may explain his restraint in interpreting them - that and his temperament.
Haitink is a pretty solid conductor...when combined with an orchestra that is naturally more aggressive than most, the results can be quite stunning.
Well said.

I would put it that Haitink conducts slightly behind the beat, or just plain too slowly. His interpretations generally bland me out, no matter what the repertoire, even with great orchestras like Chicago or the Concertgebouw, he lacks the energy that makes for an exciting performance. De gustibus and all that.

Simply put, he's too slow, sometimes by just a hair, but it's too slow, nonetheless.

........and yes, I've heard the "new" Shostakovich IV, and though Chicago plays magnificently, the interpretation is just dull.

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