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Shostakovich: Prologue To 'Orango'; Symphony No.4 [Box set]

Esa-Pekka Salonen Audio CD
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Frequently Bought Together

Shostakovich: Prologue To 'Orango'; Symphony No.4 + Salonen: "Out Of Nowhere" - Violin Concerto (2009); Nyx (2011)
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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 Jun 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 105,861 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Disc 1:

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Dmitri Shostakovich: Prologue to Orango - Orchestrated by Gerard Mc Burney - 1. AdagioLos Angeles Philharmonic 4:30£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Dmitri Shostakovich: Prologue to Orango - Orchestrated by Gerard Mc Burney - 2. Alla marciaJordan Bisch 2:22£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Dmitri Shostakovich: Prologue to Orango - Orchestrated by Gerard Mc Burney - 3. AndantinoRyan McKinny 2:50£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Dmitri Shostakovich: Prologue to Orango - Orchestrated by Gerard Mc Burney - 4. AndanteLos Angeles Philharmonic 2:58£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Dmitri Shostakovich: Prologue to Orango - Orchestrated by Gerard Mc Burney - 5. AllegroLos Angeles Philharmonic 5:09£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Dmitri Shostakovich: Prologue to Orango - Orchestrated by Gerard Mc Burney - 6. ModeratoRyan McKinny 2:23£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Dmitri Shostakovich: Prologue to Orango - Orchestrated by Gerard Mc Burney - 7. Alla marciaMichael Fabiano 1:38£0.39  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Dmitri Shostakovich: Prologue to Orango - Orchestrated by Gerard Mc Burney - 8. Allegro moderatoMichael Fabiano 2:11£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Dmitri Shostakovich: Prologue to Orango - Orchestrated by Gerard Mc Burney - 9. AllegrettoLos Angeles Philharmonic 1:12£0.39  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Dmitri Shostakovich: Prologue to Orango - Orchestrated by Gerard Mc Burney - 10. AgitatoEugene Brancoveanu 2:03£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Dmitri Shostakovich: Prologue to Orango - Orchestrated by Gerard Mc Burney - 11. AllegrettoAbdiel Gonzalez 4:38£0.79  Buy MP3 

Disc 2:

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No.4 In C Minor, Op.43 - 1. Allegretto poco moderato - Presto (Live At Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles / 2012)Los Angeles Philharmonic27:14Album Only
Listen  2. Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No.4 In C Minor, Op.43 - 2. Moderato con moto (Live At Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles / 2012)Los Angeles Philharmonic 9:08£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No.4 In C Minor, Op.43 - 3. Largo - Allegro (Live At Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles / 2012)Los Angeles Philharmonic28:10Album Only

Product Description

DGG 4790249; DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON - Germania; Classica Orchestrale

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the power of music 26 Jun 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is an incredible release. 'Orango' is, of course only a torso (well not even that) and we have no idea just how it would have progressed had Shostakovich continued with it. Given the political situation in the USSR at the time it's not surprising it was abandoned as it may well have been Shostakovich signing his own death warrant. What remains is astonishing. A 31-minute prologue with music that is light years away from 'Socialist Realism'. Had it been known it must surely have given the musical apatrchiks the screaming hab-dabs. The music and the text are viciously satirical and parodistic. Brittle yet abrasive. On the surface it may seem to be an attack on the capitalist West but once you start to look deeply into it it can be seen as an attack on Stalin (Orango?, the Master of Ceremonies?) and the way the revolution had betrayed its ideals. The music may well sound 'high spirited' but is on a knife edge and is a mask for the terror - always be seen to be smiling 'life's better, life is good' (or so we're told). The Fourth Symphony of course traverses this terrain too only in a far more 'obvious' way. This is Shostakovich looking into Hell - the Hell that the USSR had become in the 1930s. Of the symphonies this dark, doom-laden masterpiece has always been my favourite and this is a superb performance. My only slight cavil is that it is so well played it's a bit too 'polite' and doesn't have the wildness and edge it gets in performances, particularly Russian ones. Having said that this is an essential recording and anyone who loves Shostakovich's music will want it in their collection. The notes are thought-provoking and excellent. 5 stars all round.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad to have it! 23 Jun 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I recently attended the performance of Orango, followed by Symphony No.4 at the Royal Festival Hall. It was a fabulous evening starting with Gerard McBurney etc discussing how Orango came to be discovered and how he went about orchestrating the piece from the piano score. The performances were wonderful, so to have the recording of the premiere that took place in Los Angeles is great. It is beautifully recorded too. It's a pairing that works, in my view.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modernist 4th 9 Nov 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
One can wonder why the 4th symphony with all 'mythos' surrounding it is still not so often recorded and performed. Usually it is done by emphasizing hollow and tragic emotions linked to it (supposedly or apparently). Here we, however, have a new vision; what if the 4th is a mature modernist symphony? For Salonen (and I think for Rattle in his interpretation 20 years ago) this means first the need to expose the structure of the work and then meet the possible emotions uncovered. (And this is even more needed in the case of Orango which otherwise shows itself only as a carnivalist by-product). And yes, this is a fresh 4th, the one which shows one new face after another in repeated listening. The first rate sound and production helps in this, sure.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shostakovich Unbound 28 Sep 2012
By Erik North - Published on
Format:Audio CD
One would have thought that everything anyone wanted to know about Dmitri Shostakovich, one of the greatest composers of 20th century classical music from any country, would have long since been bought out into the open by now. But as this 2-CD recording by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen shows, that isn't yet quite the case.

The wildcard in this particular deck here is the 32 minute-long prologue composed in 1932 by Shostakovich as the preamble for a full-length satirical opera entitled "Orango", sketches of which were found following the composer's death in 1975. But nobody really knew anything about this strange work, title aside, until 2004. The proposed libretto is almost science fiction-like, an experiment in crossbreeding apes with humans to produce a hybrid species, the "Orango" of the title. What would have happened had Shostakovich actually completed the work is anyone's guess, but it's likely it never would have passed muster with the powers-that-be at the time, namely the world's most musically tin-eared tyrant Joseph Stalin. As it is, the Orango Prologue has been resurrected into orchestral form by Gerald McBurney at the invitation of the composer's widow Irina; and while every bit as wild as the libretto suggests, its performance here by a solid cast, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and the L.A. Philharmonic under Salonen suggests that there may still be more about Shostakovich to come that the world hasn't yet heard about.

On the second CD is the better known Fourth Symphony, a work that Shostakovich completed in 1936 and had ready for performance later that year--a performance that never materialized, thanks to, you guessed it, Stalin. In fact, it wasn't until December 1961, a quarter of a century later, that the work finally appeared in concert, with Kirill Kondrashin leading its performance by the Moscow Philharmonic; and by that time, Stalin had been dead for nearly nine years. Like many of his other fifteen symphonic sojourns, the Fourth is pure Shostakovich, with references to some of his other works, and throwbacks to Mahler and even to Mozart, complete with huge orchestral forces.

This Salonen/L.A. Phil performance joins a crowded but distinguished Shostakovich field as being worthy of a listen, not only because of the Fourth Symphony, but also because of "Orango", a work that will likely stir a lot of debate and discussion, which is something that all great music should do.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Wouldn't be Surprised if this CD was Nominated for a Grammy 10 July 2012
By Dmitri - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
'Orango' steals it's overture from the Shostakovich ballet "The Bolt" and much of the other purely instrumental material from "Hypothetically Murdered." That leaves room only for the music that supports the vocal and singing part of the Prologue. While the curiosity factor is high for this once lost piece and it's premiere wetted the appetite of those who attended it. For me the lack of originality of the music being stolen from one piece to make this piece work is disappointing to say the least.

As for Salonen's Shostakovich 4th symphony it may well work it's way into a Grammy this coming Winter. Salonen it seems doesn't get a step wrong in this grueling, over an hour long symphony. A lot of the success it seems in this Shostakovich 4th is the partnership between conductor and orchestra. Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic show a high standard of excellence in the playing and interpretation of this piece. This may be the most successful playing of a Shostakovich symphony since Hebert von Karajan did the 10th around 30 years ago.

The 4th symphony is divided into three movements. The first movement is in inverted sonata-form. The degree of loud dissonance is high. There are marches and dances throughout the first movement. Some start up and as quickly as they appear and then they are gone. This music was so radical that when the Leningrad Philharmonic (St. Petersburg SO) first rehearsed it back in 1936 the musicians called it "crazy music." The music was so radical Shostakovich abandoned it until 1961 when it was unearthed. At first Shostakovich said that maybe he should make some revisions, but then on second thought he decided not to change a single note. "Let them eat it" he was known to say about the priemere of his 4th symphony in 1961.

The second movement is in ABA form. It is a bitter-sweet scherzo. It finally brings some relief from the assault of the half hour long first movement. There is a strange clock-like ticking of percussion at the end of this movement which Shostakovich would use again in his Cello Concerto No.2 and his 15th symphony.

The final movement starts with a funeral march. This is very similar to the march that Mahler used in his 1st symphony. Out of all the despair the strings seem to be reaching higher and higher only to come to have a happy climax which is quickly disspelled by train of music with the brass "tooting" their horns. It is at this point that Salonen makes his only mistake as far as I can tell. The music is played too fast for my liking. The come two little concertos one for a brass instrument and one for the bassoon. Another climax comes after these "concertos." But then again...crash. The massive symphony collapses on itself. The final moments of suicide. The only answer the music has is death.

So I believe this double CD will at the very least be nominated for a Grammy. It would be quite unexpected if it won because Bernard Haitink and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra did the 4th back a couple of years ago and won.

I'll give this item fives stars or 9 out of 10 for it's better points.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Orango" fragment is manic fun, and Salonen's Fourth Symphony a model of cogent, clear music-making 28 Jun 2012
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Amazon has made a hash of presenting this intriguing program. First, the so-called editorial Review that is abruptly chopped off is actually director Peter Sellars' program note to his staging of the prologue to "Orango." The entire note can be read - and is very much worth reading - at DG's webiste.


There you will also find a long note from arranger Gerard McBurney, who was commissioned to flesh out a 13-page piano score that Shostakovich put in a drawer and never revisited after 1932. The proposed opera would have been an antic, helter-skelter satire aimed nominally as Western depravity (Orango, who is a human-ape hybrid, rises to become a ruthless press mogul, wildcat investor, and hater of the pure Soviet state), but the real purpose seems to be a scatter-gun parody of the social turmoil that was erupting in Russia just before Stalin consolidated power, expunged any ideal of a brave new world, and began the mass horror known as the Terror.

The Prologue isn't advanced modernism on the order of "The Nose" or "Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District," the only two completed operas from Shostakovich. It's a manic music-hall romp that the composer cobbled together in a few days before abandoning the project. Since these are first thoughts, hastily sketched and heavily borrowing on earlier suppressed works like "The Bolt," I think the importance of "Orango" isn't great. If you love Shostakovich's populist film music, this new discovery will entertain you. I imagine the best use of it was exactly the theatrical staging that Peter Sellars devised for the L.A. premiere last year. So much crude japery, ribald confusion, and blunt satire is ripe for lurid theatricalaity - at one point the captured Orango, who has fallen form his capitalist dominance to be sold to a Moscow circus as a freak, leaps off stage to try and rape a visiting journalist from the West.

As a performance on disc, the piece is fragmentary and full of hijinks, well captured by a handful of singers and Salonen, who directs with surprisingly crude enthusiasm. The connection with the Fourth Sym. is that it was also suppressed, but much deeper into the Stalin purges, in 1936. A party official interrupted the first rehearsal and forced the compose to withdraw the symphony; the atmosphere of repression lifted enough by 1961 for Shostakovich to feel safe enough to let Kiril Kondrashin premiere the work.

Sellars and McBurney give an interesting new rationale for this sprawling, episodic work - they see it as a crazy quilt of artistic despair reflecting Shostakovich's doomed idealism. Sellars goes so far as to call the finale, which is full of buried quotations form earlier Shostakovich scores, including "Orango," a kind of graveyard deliberately constructed by the composer. I am intrigued. For a long time it baffled me how the fourth could ever be turned into a coherent work; it is far more zany and wrenching in its contrasts than the model of a Mahler symphony on which it is based. If the symphony in Mahler's eyes had to embrace a whole world, the Fourth embraces a universal madhouse.

To accept this view, however, you need to account for the strains of tenderness and simple melody that emerge quite frequently. Only the Machine Age clang of the opening evokes madness or terror. I think it more likely that Shostakovich was stretching his modernist wings to see if he could construct a kind of vast mural, replete with everything the experimental Twenties had inspired in him - that was a shared ambition throughout the brief spring of Soviet avant-garde art before Stalin shut it down with mass murder. In any event, while it was being composed, in 1935 and 1936, the insane apparatus of a totalitarian state was being solidified all around Shostakovich, so I'm sympathetic to the idea that in an elusive, emotionally painful way the Fourth reflects the composer's mounting sense of threat. The inmates were running the asylum, and they would kill anyone who said so.

Salonen has a sketchyo background on disc for Shostakovich, having accompanied the two piano concertos and the first violin concerto. But he's a natural, capable of making every strand in this mad mosaic clear as crystal, summoning excellent playing from the L.A. Phil., and constructing a cool, detached panorama that is convincing, even if one misses the impassioned commitment of Gergiev or the thrust and parry of Kondrashin. It's a toss-up whether "Orango" will ever receive a second recording, but this two-fer is a highly recommendable premiere.
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Occupy Everything!" 26 Jun 2012
By Grady Harp - Published on
Format:Audio CD
This recording is an exceptional one in many ways. Not only is it the world premiere recording of the Prologue to Shostakovich's 1932 satiric opera ORANGO but it also captures all the flavor of the world premiere performance by the forces represented here - the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The LA Master Chorale, a number of distinguished singers all conducted with spirit an dverve by Esa-Pekka Salonen. The only missing element here is the extravagantly inventive staging for the premiere by Peter Sellars. A musicologist discovered a sketch of its prologue in a Russian archive in 2004. LA Times critic Mark Swed stated, 'As conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, staged by Peter Sellars and orchestrated by Gerard McBurney, the premiere, in fact, was no bolt out of the blue at all. Shostakovich, who feverishly wrote a half-hour of music (probably in only a couple of days before breaking off the project), began it with the overture from another satiric theater work, his ballet "The Bolt."'

The libretto by the experimental Russian science-fiction writer Alexei Tolstoy and his assistant Alexander Starchakov begins with unscrupulous science: the resonances of "Orango" with our time would be inescapable. A French biologist inseminates a female ape with his own sperm. Her offspring, Orango, becomes a virulently anti-Communist newspaper mogul, speculates irresponsibly in the stock market, takes a trophy wife, attempts rape and goes bankrupt during an international financial crisis. The prologue is full of incident, with workers' choruses and crazy dances, a silly zoologist and a pair of supercilious skeptical foreigners. Orango's ultimate fate was to be sold by his wife to a circus, and he is paraded as a freak in a cage by The Entertainer. If this is a representation of anything, it is of a world out of control. The strong cast here is Ryan McKinney as the smooth The Entertainer, and Eugene Brancoveanu as the galumphing Orango, Sussana by soprano Yulia Van Doren, bass-baritone' Jordan Bisch as Veselchak, tenor, Michael Fabiano as the Zoologist, and tenor Paul Marsh as 'Timur Bekbosunov. The music is raucous as is the tale. The performance dances off the CD and into the room with gusto and extraordinarily fine singing and playing.

As if this `event ` captured weren't enough, Salonen's formidable performance in the Fourth Symphony is well worth the presence of this recording. As one commentor described it, `The score is in three movements -- long and crazy outer ones, with a short, ingratiating intermezzo in the middle. This, too, was suppressed music. Shostakovich, fearing for his life, put it away after finishing it in 1936 and didn't allow it to be performed for 25 years. The first movement contains a diabolical fugue for sprinting strings that is madness itself. The finale is often demented, vacillating between banality, pomposity and stark tragedy, with hints of childlike sweetness further mucking up the picture. Salonen's interpretation of this work presents the Fourth as a series of compulsively listenable, bizarrely characterized incidents, each toppled, unrelentingly by the next. The L.A. Phil with Salonen is, on every level, brilliant. Grady Harp, June 12
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