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Shostakovich - Complete Symphonies [Box set]

Dmitry Shostakovich , Rudolf Barshai , West German Radio Symphony Orchestra , Alla Simoni , Moscow Choral Academy , et al. Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
Price: £18.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Orchestra: West German Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Rudolf Barshai
  • Composer: Dmitry Shostakovich
  • Audio CD (1 Nov 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 11
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Brilliant Classics
  • ASIN: B00005UW2B
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,047 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Product Description

Shostakovich's music is the music of 20th Century Russia, from the turbulent revolution, through the horrors of war to the communistic repression. It is the cry of a soul in torment, expressing grief, despair in a highly personal way, through irony or bitter truth. The symphonies span Shostakovich's whole life, and form a milestone in the symphonic repertoire. They are frequently played, and have gained nearly the same popularity as Mahler's symphonies.

A stupendous new recording by Russian conductor Rudolf Barshai, an authority in this repertoire, as he has worked closely together with the composer for a long time, and premiered the 14th symphony.

Great sound from the Köllner Philharmonie, one of the world's best concert halls.

Product Description

-La musica di Shostakovich è la musica della Russia del XX secolo, dai turbolenti anni della Rivoluzione, attraverso gli orrori della guerra fino alla repressione comunista. Si tratta del pianto di un'anima tormentata, che esprime dolore e disperazione in un modo molto personale attraverso l'ironia o l'amara verità. Le Sinfonie abbracciano l'intera vita di Shostakovich e costituiscono una pietra miliare nel repertorio sinfonico. Vengono eseguite spesso e hanno ottenuto quasi la stessa popolarità delle Sinfonie di Mahler.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
165 of 168 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I am actually more than mildly surprised to see this boxed set of the Shostakovich symphonies, performed by Rudolf Barshai and the Southwest Radio Orchestra (Germany) listed here. Brilliant Classics is not a label that gets wide distribution (although one can find releases on this label if one knows where to look).
Any – perhaps every – collector of the Shostakovich symphonies can put together a listing of his or her favorite performances, work-by-work, without once referring to this Barshai boxed set. I know that I can, and that such a listing for me would include performances by Bernstein (the 5th), Gergiev (the 7th) Haitink (several, but most especially the 8th and the 15th), both Janssons and Karajan (the 10th), Ormandy (the 4th), Rostropovich (the 11th, in his new LSO Live recording), Stokowski (the 1st and the 11th) and Zander (the 5th). All of these (and more) are already in my library, and I wouldn't want to be without any of them.
But all of this is beside the point. In virtually every way (including performance and sonics), these Barshai recordings are highly competitive, and, as an integral complete set, are topped only by the Haitink set (at considerably higher cost). Barshai, for many years, was a close associate of Shostakovich (and the arranger of, among other pieces, Shostakovich's remarkable 8th Quartet for chamber orchestra as his "Chamber Symphony"), and he has this music in his blood. This long personal association means that Barshai understands not only what we have come to call "authentic performance practice," but all of the myriad "hidden meanings" to be found in this most autobiographical of composers.
Overall, the weaknesses are very few. The packaging is Spartan, and the documentation even less than that.
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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There are better - but not at this price! 8 Jan 2004
Format:Audio CD
Barshai and Shostakovich were long associates, and Barshai's farmiliarity shows right through this set, which pulls the best out of a mid-ranking German regional orchestra. The real strengths of this set are its remarkable consistency of conducting, playing and sound quality over such a long cycle - none of it absolutely mindblowing, but all of it very good. The discs were originally released as single CDs over a 6 year period which probably helped keep conductor and orchestra fresh.
Its main rivals are the Naxos CSPO set which, sorry, doesn't begin to compare either in terms of performance or recording quality, and the Haitinck which costs considerably more.
It is thin on background material, but then again so much Shostakovich background remains disputed that most synopses fall down by presenting only one side of the argument anyway.
This boxed set has become my 'core' set for symphonies by my favourite composer - and it costs barely more than a full price version of a single long symphony. Just don't give yourself indigestion if you're new to Shostakovich - 5, 7, 10 and this wonderful interpretation of 15 are the ones to start with. The 'clockwork' fading out at the end of the last symphony, with Shostakovich aware that he way dying, is absolutely haunting.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
The performances and recordings in this set vary between good and outstanding. For me, symphonies 4, 6 and 8 are the most impressive. I have never heard the first movement of the 6th Symphony played with such glowing intensity, whilst the 8th Symphony rivals the 1960 Mravinsky performance recorded by the BBC. Most of the other symphonies are also given first class performances. The least impressive performances are probably the 5th and 11th symphonies, which are a little unexciting, and the 7th where Barshai sounds unconvinced by the ending. (No recording of the 7th matches Bernstein's 1987 performance on DG.) However, taken as a whole this is most impressive. Orchestral playing and recording quality are also excellent.
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101 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INTERPRETATIONS 16 Nov 2004
Format:Audio CD
As a rule I avoid complete sets. I own performances of all the symphonies of Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms and Sibelius, for instance, but selected individually. Shostakovich seems to me a slightly different case. His music appears to me to be something of a diary of his feelings, and when it came to his string quartets I found it helpful to listen to them in sequence played by the same group, so I have taken the same approach now with his symphonies. These are a more complex issue than the quartets are, because there were external influences, to put it mildly, on the content of the symphonies. He had to dance a grim paso doble with the Soviet authorities regarding these, and even without that he lived through a grisly era that is to some extent recorded in the symphonies through his own volition. I've also taken the view that a detailed assessment of 15 symphonies on 11 discs, including individual comparisons with other versions, is beyond the scope of a short review. All I would say in general is that there is not a bad performance in all this large set, and that Barshai's readings at least stand comparison with other first-class readings of individual symphonies that I have heard recently from Haitink, Previn, Karajan, Andrew Davis and Rozhdestvensky. Barshai was the composer's pupil, he gave the premiere of the 14th symphony, he was intimately associated with this music all his life, he understands it with the marrow of his bones, and I can recommend his set unreservedly to anyone wanting to gain a better insight into the life's work of this grand and gloomy 20th century master.
Open any book or article on Shostakovich and you will reliably find a lot of comment on WWII, on Leningrad, on Stalin, on Zhdanov and on conditions in the Soviet Union.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars download
10/10 brilliant set of the 15 symphonies very well played and at a great price well pleased. ...... ...... ..... ..... ...... ...... ..... ....
Published 2 months ago by J. D. Ruddick
4.0 out of 5 stars Great value for a full set of 11 CDs
After a London concert, I wanted recordings the 5th and 6th Symphonies, but as is often the case, once you have listened to some of a composers work, you want to here more. Read more
Published 3 months ago by SurreyJohn
5.0 out of 5 stars An impressive overview of the Shostakovich symphonies at a bargain...
I find all of the symphonies in this bargain set are very well played and conducted, with excellent sound. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Bill Glen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great worker-day rendition of marvelous music
Rudolph Barshai is a conductor and viola player who feels the music he performs deeply. He has the capacity to take you right into its core. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Misha
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, dedicated cycle.
I am rediscovering this cycle, thanks to an enhanced headphone setup. I have only listened to the first four symphonies again recently, but now find them to be absolutely superb. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Christopher Hardy
4.0 out of 5 stars A thought provoking and illuminating set of readings of persuasive...
The individual reviews of symphonies 4, 5, 6, 9, 10 and 15 listed below, being the most familiar along with 1 and 8, are intended to give specific responses to those key works as a... Read more
Published 8 months ago by I. Giles
5.0 out of 5 stars COMPLETE SHOSTAKOVICH
Published 8 months ago by N. LEWIS
5.0 out of 5 stars Greta value collection
I was unfamilair with all 15 symphonies of Shostakovick but had heard 5, 10 and 11 as they are popular. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Very accomplished playing - something missing though
Solid playing, clear recording with perfect acoustics. Each symphony well constructed and I felt there was a clear plan for each.
What was missing. Read more
Published 13 months ago by David Allsopp
5.0 out of 5 stars An Authentic Bargain
I was aware of this set for some time, having a few of the individual cds in my collection. They sounded excellent but never explored further. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mr. A. R. Boyes
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