I don't have any basis of comparison for this recording, and I don't find that I want to rush out and find a performance to compare. That fact alone tells me that this got to me -- it's harrowing, often in its restraint which at times seems overwhelmed by the big, dissonant climaxes. The Telarc sound is wonderfully clear (1994), and Levi doesn't seem to be imposing himself on the music at all -- it unfolds very naturally in all its moods. As one reviewer says, for all the length of the first movement -- and the basic simplicity of the motivic material -- it doesn't seem too long (unlike the Seventh Symphony in this respect). It seems to teach you to be patient and listen to it. Partly, it's because there's a kind of dance-like feeling to it, as if the whole symphony is a kind of stripped-down terrible ballet. There's no Tchaikovskian orchestral richness here -- it's spare, even though it unfolds like a narrative, and it's interesting that the booklet notes talk of the horrors of the Second World War as the Soviet Union experienced it, so the senses of lament and panic and fear and exhaustion that the music seems at its various stages to embody can be attached to that historical circumstance. But even without knowing that, the listener would be drawn in to the drama within the sound world of this symphony. It's not a piece you want to play often, but it is undeniably powerful.