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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful recording
I fell in love with this symphony some years ago after having been lucky enough to have played it and own several different recordings. I rushed out to buy this particular one after seeing Gergiev conducting it with the LSO. It was a fantastic live performance and this CD is every bit as enthralling. This is by far the most enjoyable recording of it that I have. I think...
Published on 3 May 2008 by Helen Morris

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars bit disappointing
After hearing the Marinsky band and Gergiev give an absolutely shattering performance of this symphony in a Promenade Concert, I was rather disappointed by this disc. The playing is good enough but the recording is nothing like the standard Rostropovich set with the Atlanta orchestra. Trouble is one has the impression there is simply not enough space on the disc for the...
Published on 20 May 2010 by J. James


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful recording, 3 May 2008
By 
Helen Morris (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shostakovich: Symphony No.4 (Audio CD)
I fell in love with this symphony some years ago after having been lucky enough to have played it and own several different recordings. I rushed out to buy this particular one after seeing Gergiev conducting it with the LSO. It was a fantastic live performance and this CD is every bit as enthralling. This is by far the most enjoyable recording of it that I have. I think it captures the essence of the piece remarkably and is incredibly passionate. It's not until you hear Gergiev's interpretation that you can see how other recordings pale in comparison. If you only buy one recording of this symphony, make it this one!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A performance of great power and conviction, 21 Jan 2013
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shostakovich: Symphony No.4 (Audio CD)
This live concert, recorded in 2001 in the Mariinsky Theatre, is a very powerful experience and only suffers by comparison with the same forces unleashed upon an unsuspecting promenade concert crowd judging by their absolutely stunned and prolonged silence at the conclusion. This symphony is, of course, the one that got Shostakovich in trouble with the Russian authorities and led to the 'apologetic' fifth which, when the ending is played slowly as it should be rather than victoriously, now appears to be not so apologetic after all. Nevertheless Shostakovich never again wrote such searing and uncompromising music in symphonic form and one can see why it created the authority backlash. It is intriguing to wonder where the composer's music would have led without such a restraining hold.

Gergiev here has a complete grip on this deeply dramatic, disturbed and powerful work. The climaxes bite home with tremendous power and conviction and the quieter sections have that desolate emptiness that Russians are so adept at portraying in their music making.

The orchestra is completely at one with Gergiev and it is clear that this interpretation has matured over a considerable time. The performance thus gains enormously in a corporate unity of purpose. The over-riding impression at the conclusion is one of great emotional and physical power driven by an overwhelming conviction in the music.

This very fine composition can be described as lacking in cohesion but when played really well as here, this view can be totally disproved. I have spent some years trying to get the perfect performance of this work but of course that is a futile quest as indeed it would be with any piece of music. What I now have is a small selection of very fine and satisfying readings but Gergiev has just that little bit extra. Perhaps it is just that this is a totally Russian performance of a Russian creation and given to a Russian audience on home ground (the Mariinsky).

Fortunately the recording is up to the task and in that respect is far superior to the BBC broadcast which simply could not cope with the dynamic range except by reducing the levels at the biggest moments.

I would therefore suggest that this disc warrants very serious consideration by those who are looking for an 'only' performance and also for those building a collection of fine alternative performances.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fresh, almost childlike excitement from Gergiev, 28 July 2009
By 
Klingsor (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shostakovich: Symphony No.4 (Audio CD)
My only recording of this piece so far is with Haitink, and this one is superior in every respect. My main problem with this symphony is lack of distinctive thematic development and sketchiness of motifs in the first movement, but Gergiev overview puts everything into its place. He is conducting the episodes as they come, doesn't look back and plays for the moment. He takes no prisoners - as brutal and merciless as much as Shostakovich is (and I finally understood why this music would come as an ideological offence). For survivors, Gergiev has a full bag of witty tricks in a finely shaped scherzo and a massive dynamic build up of the largo. Later on, the orchestra is in a full swing, as if they are let out loose, while the conductor doesn't miss a single shade of Shostakovich's irony and cynicism. The rest is what we all know so very well from later Shostakovich - Mahlerian triumph of [...] over [...] (fill in the blanks as you deem fit), all very uplifting and admirably executed.

I still don't admire this symphony more than before, but at least in this performance is a great fun and pure enjoyment - a bit like childish excitement of a great day out at Legoland.

The recording is a bit dry and rough around the edges, but I find that in tune with the conductor's vision. What bothers me more are too discreet back channels, especially during many of the louder passages, where the sound image is still quite constricted and not as transparent as it could be.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars bit disappointing, 20 May 2010
By 
J. James - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shostakovich: Symphony No.4 (Audio CD)
After hearing the Marinsky band and Gergiev give an absolutely shattering performance of this symphony in a Promenade Concert, I was rather disappointed by this disc. The playing is good enough but the recording is nothing like the standard Rostropovich set with the Atlanta orchestra. Trouble is one has the impression there is simply not enough space on the disc for the massive brass section - so they lack that ability to have you jump off your seat. Pity, because the Marinsky and Gergiev should be one of the great combinations for Shostakovich or any other Russian music.
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Shostakovich: Symphony No.4
Shostakovich: Symphony No.4 by St Petersburg Kirov Orchestra (Audio CD - 2004)
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