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Shostakovich - Symphony No 8 (LSO, Rostropovich) [Hybrid SACD]

London Symphony Orchestra , Dmitry Shostakovich , Mstislav Rostropovich Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Conductor: Mstislav Rostropovich
  • Composer: Dmitry Shostakovich
  • Audio CD (6 Jun 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: Lso Live
  • ASIN: B00099FV9C
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 375,657 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Product Description

Although it was written at a time of great optimism in the Soviet Union with the Nazis in retreat, Shostakovich's Eighth Symphony is imbued with a deep sense of sorrow and fear of the future. Whereas the authorities expected a victorius anthem, Shostakovich appeared too affected by the bloody cost of the war. Mstislav Rostropovich again proves that no other conductor is able to so intimately understand the feelings of his dear friend.

Product Description

I will ship by EMS or SAL items in stock in Japan. It is approximately 7-14days on delivery date. You wholeheartedly support customers as satisfactory. Thank you for you seeing it.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for a particular point of view! 13 Nov 2006
By Colin Fortune VINE VOICE
You won't find the anger and fire of Mravinski and the Lenigrad Orchestra here. Instead Rostropovich gives a striking and memorable almost doom-laden performance, which I find remarkable and irresitable. The sound is good and the interpretation magnificent - though some people will miss the frenzy of the ostinato in the third movement that is the hallmark of other Russian interpretations. For me the slower and horribly relentless tempo works just as well. A fine and valid (if alternative) point of view for what could just be Shostakovich's greatest symphony.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Taken too slowly, power and coherence are lost 5 July 2006
By Autonomeus - Published on Amazon.com
Mstislav Rostropovich knows the power of slowing the tempo. He has consistently used it to convey the false triumph, the horror, of the finale of Shostakovich's 5th Symphony -- his 1983 DG recording with the National Symphony Orchestra is my choice for the best recording of all time (see my review). To take another (in)famous example, Celibidache has been roundly criticized for his exaggeratedly slow tempos in Bruckner, but this produces, in the live recording of Bruckner's 8th with Celibidache leading the Munich Philharmonic, a unique and incredibly powerful performance. Clearly there is nothing inherently wrong with a slower tempo, as Rostropovich showed with his earlier LSO Live recording of Shostakovich's 11th Symphony (see my review).

Unfortunately, it doesn't always work. And despite the beautiful and precise performance by the LSO and another superb LSO Live recording of the November 2004 concert at the Barbican, this 8th drags and fails to capture the drama, energy, intensity, fear, panic and horror of war that makes it the Guernica of 20th century music and one of Shostakovich's most powerful symphonies. Listening to this recording, you wouldn't know that it is one of the best and most powerful compositions of the 20th century!

The time for this performance is 68'45". By contrast, Rostropovich's 1991 recording with his National Symphony Orchestra on Teldec ran just over 61' (see my review), slightly faster than Haitink's powerful 62' recording on Decca (see my review). Solti's 1989 recording with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Decca, now out-of-print, my choice for the best 8th, also runs 62'.

The most serious problem with this Rostropovich/LSO performance comes with the second and third movements, the Allegretto and the Allegro non troppo. These are the movements that convey the utter horror of war, if they are played properly. Solti nails them, and Haitink takes them just slightly too insanely fast, which still works. But -- my apologies to Rostropovich, who knew Shostakovich well and claims unique insight into the composer's intentions -- he does not create the taut forward drive and momentum to bring this mighty symphony to life. The fast movements were the fatal flaw in his otherwise excellent Teldec recording, and now with the LSO, the outcome is even worse. There are beatiful passages to be found within, but the overall story is lost, and with it the meaning.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rostropovich can't hold the whole work together, but parts are very moving 25 Aug 2009
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
The great Rostropovich turned himself into an accomplished conductor over the years, and nobody had a more personal link to Shostakovich, who wrote his two cello concertos for him. But the 8th Sym. is dauntingly difficult to hold together. There is almost half an hour of unalloyed grief in the first movement, followed by a pair of shrieking scherzos, after which the work tapers off into a bleak Passacaglia and then a gray finale interrupted by a series of seemingly disparate intrusions. In this live reading with the LSO, Rostropovich improves upon his first recording with the National Symphony. Having made two previous CDs of the piece under Previn, the orchestra is technicallly assured throughout. But the conductor is mostly secure from episode to episode. There's not enough cumulative tragedy, and some stretches feel almost shapeless.

Still, this music is Russian to the core, and so is Rostropovich -- when he finds a vein of emotion, the effect is urgent and moving (as in the middle sections of the first movement). The first scherzo is raw but has impact; the second feels like bits and pieces cobbled together. The roiling apocalypse that opens the fourth movement is well captured by the engineers, although nothing matches its impact in concert. The subdued Passacaglia, here exceptionally hushed and slow, conveys the emotional exhaustion that it should. The conductor's empathy with Shostakovich's suffering is quite moving. The same continues into the finale, where the LSO's exceptional soloists provide a high level of execution in episodes that can feel quotidian. Rostropovich, however, isn't quite up to capturing the irony of the curdled circus music in the middle.

Because of his unique connection to the composer, I'm giving four stars despite some slackness in the conducting. As for the LSO and the engineering, both are fine.
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