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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shostakovich Hits the Bottle, 17 Jan 2010
Mr. A. R. Boyes "Alan Boyes" (Newcastle, England) - See all my reviews
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There is much to enjoy in this symphony but I've taken one star away because the a sound quality of the live recording is not great and I think the symphony lasts a little too long. Tishchenko has a habit of taking a catchy theme and repeating too often in different harmonic and orchestral guises - it smacks of string out his material a little too far at times.

Having said that, I enjoyed it very much. There is a spirit of a manic, drunk Shostakovich in the first two movements - sounding like a jovial and at the same time bitter celebration. The following two movements seem to cover the same ground for too long and the finale brings the work to a positive climax - again, perhaps labouring over the main theme a little too long.

Tishchenko was a Shostakovich pupil and there is much that sounds like early Shostakovich mixed with a little Schnittke along the way. The first movements begins in whimsical fashion but soon becomes more bitter and antagonistic before building to a rather drunken (on a scale of two bottles of vodka)and surreal climax. The following scherzo dances with manic abandon and increasing grotesquerie (if there is such a word). You wonder just who's party this movement is depicting.

The first slow movement recites a slightly folksy lament that is repeated with a more sarcastic edge as if this lament is a hollow gesture. There's more than a hint of a "morning after the night before" from the previous movements! The second slow movement seems to me to be one too many before the finale blows away the gloom even if it quietly introduces themeses that will dominate the finale.

Tishchenko doesn't have the most individual musical voice - it often sounds very self consciously like early Shostakovich with the bitterness of his later works thrown in - but there is plenty sincere expression shining through a work that doesn't pull its punches.
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