Mark Wigglesworth continues his Shostakovich cycle on BIS, performing with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir Symphonies Nos. 1 to 3. The First Symphony was in fact the graduation piece that completed his studies at the Leningrad Conservatory, but to quote Mark Wigglesworth, Shostakovichs trade-mark musical gestures are all immediately obvious and was an immediate success. The Second and Third symphonies are still rarely performed in concert. At least nominally, there is a political theme to both works - the Second was a commission from the State Publishing House to honour the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution and The Third, with its subtitle The First of May, was a celebration of the international Workers Day.
This splendid Dutch band and chorus are persuasive advocates for the "socialist" Second and Third, but they shine in a by turns dazzling and soulful account of the ever-astonishing First. --Hugh Canning, Sunday Times
Wigglesworth and the Netherlands Radio Orchestra do a fine job in clarifying the tangled textures, and in making their choral finales seem a bit more than just propagandist doggerel. --Andrew Clements, The Guardian
As previously in this series the SACD sound is as refined and detailed as the music-making, while the conductor's own booklet notes touch on salient issues without the need for extraneous polemic… Those wanting an up-to-date and idiomatic option should get the present disc. --Richard Whitehouse, International Record Review
Wigglesworth coaxes a wealth of detail out of his players, and they respond with gusto and agility… Among many highlights are the lusty singing of the Netherlands Radio Choir… anyone drawn to this coupling should not hesitate to invest. --David Fanning, Gramophone
I don't recall being gripped quite as much by [the First] as in this present recording by Mark Wigglesworth and his Netherlands forces. Their relish in the Symphony's vibrant kaleidoscope of characters and colours, all caught in a fine recording, hold your attention - even throughout passages that sound less than inspired in other hands. --- 5*/5* --Daniel Jaffé, BBC Music Magazine