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Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 10 Hybrid SACD

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD, 20 Jul 2018
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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 July 2018)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: Pentatone
  • ASIN: B07D55MD7L
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
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  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 187,752 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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33:54 Album Only
10:12 Album Only
30:34 Album Only
Disc 2
24:22 Album Only
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Digital Booklet: Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 10
Digital Booklet: Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 10
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Product Description

Fear, Loathing and Redemption in the Troubled Symphonies of Shostakovich The spirit of Gustav Mahler looms over the pages of Shostakovich's turbulent, sprawling and enigmatic Symphony No. 4, a work so uncompromising that for many years he suppressed its performance, fearing public censure. Mixing bombast with banality, savagery with sarcasm, this baffling yet profound work is also one of his most startlingly original. It's paired with his ever popular Symphony No. 10, a brooding and lyrical masterpiece which is said to contain a musical portrait of Joseph Stalin in the impetuous second movement and in whose third and fourth movements Shostakovich artfully weaves a musical motif based on his own name which emerges resplendent in the spirited finale.This triumphant release (under the baton of Mikhail Pletnev) is the latest in a series of recordings for PENTATONE by the Russian National Orchestra. Their Shostakovich cycle (also on PENTATONE) was widely acclaimed as the most exciting cycle of the Shostakovich symphonies to be put down on disc, and easily the best recorded. ( The Symphony No. 7, conducted Paavo Järvi, won the Diapason d Or de l année 2015 and was nominated for a 2016 Grammy Award for Best Surround Sound recording.


Compared to the superb recordings released in the 1990s by the newly created Russian National Orchestra under their founder Mikhail Pletnev, this latest instalment of Pentatone's Shostakovich cycle isn't in the same league. Nor does it compete with the formidable competition offered by Kondrashin, Rostropovich or Neeme Jarvi among others. The quality of the orchestra's individual players remains impressive. What seems to have substantially fallen away is Pletnev's ability to inspire them to their best. A central problem in this Fourth Symphony is suggested by its recorded duration at just under 75 minutes, about ten minutes longer than standard. Sure enough, a ploddingly slow main tempo for the first movement undercuts much of the music's inexorable power, while at the same time thwarting the orchestra's palpable urge to make things happen. The short central Scherzo and huge finale are similarly afflicted; the coda's bleak tragedy does come across, but this is leaving it very late. And the flaring weight of tone unleashed by the Symphony's huge orchestral forces sounds strangely constricted by the recorded sound. With its standard-sized line-up of players, the Tenth Symphony feels SYMPHONIES N OS . 4 &1 0 less short-changed in this respect, and Pletnev allows the opening movement's long spans of musical thought to unfold with sure-footed control. But the blowtorch ferocity of the Scherzo (one of Shostakovich's most vengeful portraits of Stalin, his nation's then newly deceased leader) isn't fully unleashed; nor is the interplay of the finale's moodswings between introspection and wild optimism. Malcolm Hayes PERFORMANCE *** RECORDING ***. --BBC Music Magazine

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Most helpful customer reviews on 2.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
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2.0 out of 5 starsUsually a great fan of Pletnev, but this is not good
16 July 2018 - Published on
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3.0 out of 5 starstwo stars for the 4th, 4 stars for the 10th
11 July 2018 - Published on
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