Delos has been making superior recordings in Dallas throughout Litton's tenure with the orchestra, yet too often his sense of caution has undermined a potentially great recording. Here the balance is more favorable -- musicianship and sonics combine for a thrilling experience. One has only to listen to the massed strings in the first movement of the Shostakovich Sixth, which depends on a full orchestral sonority from the groaning basses through sighing violins and elegaic violins. Here we get the whole spectrum in full, rich sound. The second movement is rollicking without being too manic; the finale gallops a la William Tell with suitable panache. a very rewarding reading all around.
The Tenth is a more ambitious and complex work, considered by many to be the composer's symphonic masterpiece. Litton must contend with masterful recordings by Stokowski, Karajan, and Mravinsky (mysteriously, Bernstein never recorded this monumental work, although he did Sym. #1, #5, #6, #7, and #9). Litton's account isn't in that league, but he's carried over the line by spectacular sound and very committed playing by his Dallas musicians. the first movement doesn't emerge as one powerful rising arc. The Scherzo hits with great impact, not as biting as Mravinsky but powered by deep, full orchestral sound. (I don't hear the satiric edge that the Amazon reviewer does.) Happily, Litton is forceful and diret in the next movement, which I often find mincing and tentative. Shostakovich's biggest symphonies have a tendency to end disappointingly, usually in sorrow rather than triumph, and the Tenth's ending isn't easy. Litton enjoys one of the most vivid renditions, again thanks to great sound and playing.
In all, the total package here rises to a very high level. Strongly recommended as an exciting listen.