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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the power of music, 26 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Shostakovich: Prologue To 'Orango'; Symphony No.4 (Audio CD)
This is an incredible release. 'Orango' is, of course only a torso (well not even that) and we have no idea just how it would have progressed had Shostakovich continued with it. Given the political situation in the USSR at the time it's not surprising it was abandoned as it may well have been Shostakovich signing his own death warrant. What remains is astonishing. A 31-minute prologue with music that is light years away from 'Socialist Realism'. Had it been known it must surely have given the musical apatrchiks the screaming hab-dabs. The music and the text are viciously satirical and parodistic. Brittle yet abrasive. On the surface it may seem to be an attack on the capitalist West but once you start to look deeply into it it can be seen as an attack on Stalin (Orango?, the Master of Ceremonies?) and the way the revolution had betrayed its ideals. The music may well sound 'high spirited' but is on a knife edge and is a mask for the terror - always be seen to be smiling 'life's better, life is good' (or so we're told). The Fourth Symphony of course traverses this terrain too only in a far more 'obvious' way. This is Shostakovich looking into Hell - the Hell that the USSR had become in the 1930s. Of the symphonies this dark, doom-laden masterpiece has always been my favourite and this is a superb performance. My only slight cavil is that it is so well played it's a bit too 'polite' and doesn't have the wildness and edge it gets in performances, particularly Russian ones. Having said that this is an essential recording and anyone who loves Shostakovich's music will want it in their collection. The notes are thought-provoking and excellent. 5 stars all round.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad to have it!, 23 Jun. 2013
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Philip Rundall (Cambridge U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shostakovich: Prologue To 'Orango'; Symphony No.4 (Audio CD)
I recently attended the performance of Orango, followed by Symphony No.4 at the Royal Festival Hall. It was a fabulous evening starting with Gerard McBurney etc discussing how Orango came to be discovered and how he went about orchestrating the piece from the piano score. The performances were wonderful, so to have the recording of the premiere that took place in Los Angeles is great. It is beautifully recorded too. It's a pairing that works, in my view.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modernist 4th, 9 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Shostakovich: Prologue To 'Orango'; Symphony No.4 (Audio CD)
One can wonder why the 4th symphony with all 'mythos' surrounding it is still not so often recorded and performed. Usually it is done by emphasizing hollow and tragic emotions linked to it (supposedly or apparently). Here we, however, have a new vision; what if the 4th is a mature modernist symphony? For Salonen (and I think for Rattle in his interpretation 20 years ago) this means first the need to expose the structure of the work and then meet the possible emotions uncovered. (And this is even more needed in the case of Orango which otherwise shows itself only as a carnivalist by-product). And yes, this is a fresh 4th, the one which shows one new face after another in repeated listening. The first rate sound and production helps in this, sure.
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Shostakovich: Prologue To 'Orango'; Symphony No.4
Shostakovich: Prologue To 'Orango'; Symphony No.4 by D. Shostakovich (Audio CD - 2012)
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