Shostakovich's works
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juneamour

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I just searched the forum and realized that there was no thread to discuss Shostakovich. There are some discussions in scattered threads and very hard to follow.
Can we start this new one to focus on his works?

My first question is, are there any complete symphonies of Shostakovich available? Any suggestions?
 
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Shosta

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I own a lot of records of Shostakovich but just one complete cycle of his Symphonies: Rudolf Barshai with the WDR SinfonieOrchester.
This cycle is a bargain. Good recordings and fantastics performances.
Of the other records i have i like specially the 10th Symphony conducted by Mravinsky. Others good recordings come from Haitink, Temirkanov (i like this conductor, i like the diferent sound of russian orchestras, ¡¡¡metals!!!), Kondrashin, Rozthdensvensky...

I like a lot the music of Shosta:The quartets, the quintet with piano and the 24 preludes&fugues for piano. And don't forget Lady MacBetch of Msenk. I assist to a performance with Rostropovich as conductor three or four years ago. That was one of the best performances in the last five years at Teatro Real in Madrid.

In the end i like those 'solitary deserts' in slow movements and those 'ironic harhsness' in a lot of movements and works.
 
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Tyson

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For the Symphonies, Barshai and Kondrashin would be my top recs, with Barshai giving a deeper, more "russian melancholy" interpretation, while Kondrashin is madcap, intense, over the top. Barshai has the best recorded sound of all the sets.

For the String Quartets, the Borodin's would be my top choice, similar in conception to the Kondrashin symphonies, very intensely russian. I'd also recommend the Emerson Quartet set, for a more "absolute music" aesthetic.
 
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saint.panda

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Shosta

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Tyson
For the String Quartets, the Borodin's would be my top choice,


I agree with the Borodin. And comes with the quintet with the 'giant' Richter at piano.
 
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DarkAngel

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Very hard to buy any 1-15 set by one conductor for two reasons:
-not many 1-15 sets exist
-hard to be consistently good with all the different styles represented.

Only complete sets easy to find now are:
Haitink/London
Barshai/Brilliant Classics

Also 4-11 symphonies are the core standard orchestral symphonies and you should collect these first, 12-15 are hybrids with vocals sections you may not like as much so test the waters first. Symphony 1 is best of the early 1-3 works.

I have several Haitink/London Cds, great sound with balanced performance style, but lacks a little fire and manic energy compared to my favorites.

The Jarvi/Chandos Cds hold up very well and add a bit of excitement lacking with Haitink, also Jarvi does very well with modern Russian composers, his Prokefiev symphonies are reference.

The new series by Gergiev/Phillips is proceeding nicely, first few CDs sound very promising and can be purchased without reservation.

There are other partial sets out there by Ashkenazy/London, Jansons/EMI to name a few plus occasioanlly there surfaces an older complete set by one of the Rusian conductors like Kondrashin, Mravinsky etc but often expensive and with spotty sound quality and not around for long before vanishing again, these can be extremely volitile performances.
 
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Tyson

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I'd also recommend Vengerov doing the Violin Concerto's, and (suprisingly), Maisky doing the Cello Concerto's. That's if you want great performances in very good modern sound. Otherwise the classic accounts of Oistrakh and Rostropovich are unsurpassed, IMO.
 
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ilikemonkeys

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there usually is a lingering thread about Shostakovich.

I really like him and his works, but they're a little hard for me to listen to lately.

Recently I've put his works on the backburner to enjoy the various Bach Cello works.

I think I have like six or seven of Shostakovich's symphonies. I like the 7th the best. The Gergiev on Philips is one of my favorites. He uses two orchestras. Its a little loud though.

BILL
 
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Shosta

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ilikemonkeys
Recently I've put his works on the backburner to enjoy the various Bach Cello works.


You could try the Preludes and fugues for piano of Shostakovich. Which, i think, are a great tribute to Bach.
The suites for Cello solo of Britten,friend of Shostakovich , is another work that I remember now that is an impressive tribute (now for cello).
 
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FalconP

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Shostakovich's 24 Preludes and Fugues are not often mentioned by music lovers, but I think it is essential listening to anyone who wants to understand Shostakovich. Shostakovich's famous symphonies, quartets and concertos may give people the impression of an angst-ridden, victim-of-his-time, struggling-against-oppression personality. The Prelude and Fugues, however, let us see the other sides of this composer -- at times serious, passionate, energetic, but can also be humorous, tender, and wistful. This is great music that is great fun to listen to, and I think it allows us a glimpse of the composer's true self.
 
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Shosta

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Quote:

Originally Posted by FalconP
Shostakovich's 24 Preludes and Fugues are not often mentioned by music lovers, but I think it is essential listening to anyone who wants to understand Shostakovich. Shostakovich's famous symphonies, quartets and concertos may give people the impression of an angst-ridden, victim-of-his-time, struggling-against-oppression personality. The Prelude and Fugues, however, let us see the other sides of this composer -- at times serious, passionate, energetic, but can also be humorous, tender, and wistful. This is great music that is great fun to listen to, and I think it allows us a glimpse of the composer's true self.


Well said. I agree 100% with you.
I own two versions, Ashkenazy/DECCA and Scherbakov/Naxos. Both of them are of high level in my opinion.
 
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Doc Sarvis

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Fierce debate rages among Shostakovich fans as to the best recorded version of the 24 preludes and fugues. Of the two Nicolayeva versions, one on Melodya (hard to find but apparently available cheap as a reissue) and Hyperion (available, but expensive), opinion goes down the middle as to which is better. In general, though, her interpretation is regarded as authorative, since Shostakovich supposedly had her in mind when he wrote them.

Later recordings sound radically different. I have a Keith Jarrett (!) recording that I have always enjoyed. He takes much faster tempi and avoids fluxuation, this is supposedly more consistent with Shosty's metranome markings (despite the statement above about Nicolayeva). Some people like it, others seem to hate it. I like it - I think that much of the objection about Jarrett stems from resentment that a jazz musician would dare to "cross over".

I've also heard good things about Ashkenazy, as well as Scherbakov (super discount version on Naxos). I haven't heard those two, however.
 
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MusicJunkie

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I have the Ashkenazy Preludes and Fuges and I like it very much. I haven't heard any other recordings of it so I don't know how it compares but to me it sounds terrific. Excellent sonics as well as crisp playing. I listen to a lot of Shostakovich and these pieces are some of my favorites of his.

MJ
 
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Mark from HFR

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I'd like to put in a word for Shostakovich's 14th Symphony, one of the great masterpieces, not just of Shostakovich, but of all time. Dark but cathartic. Best recording so far: Mark Wigglesworth/BBC National Orchestra of Wales on Bis.
 
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Bunnyears

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I'd also like to plug the Kremer/Argerich/Maisky recording of the Shostakovich Piano Trio No.2 (DG). What an amazing recording!
 
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