A truly beautiful recording,
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This review is from: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 2 to October, Symphony No. 15 (Audio CD)
The two symphonies are hugely contrasting and come from the opposite ends of Shostakovich's (1906-1975) life and career. The 'Second Symphony' was written in 1927 with the composer aged twenty-one while the 'Fifteenth' the composer's last in 1971 four years before his death.
The recording is excellent throughout with particularly moving the slow movements- the second and fourth - of the 'Fifteenth Symphony'.
The 'Second Symphony is short (18:28 minutes) in duration and was commissioned to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. It represents an accommodation between modernist means and revolutionary ends. It comprises an instrumental first half and a choral second half. The instrumental first half consists of four contrasted sections which the choral second part complements in its four distinct verses.
The 'Fifteenth' marks a re engagement with an abstract approach to symphony and is truly sublime. The 'Fifteenth' is a four-movement composition with very unconventional and original form in each movement. There are sheer contrasts in scoring and expression while quotations from Rossini's William Tell Overture and eerie references to Wagner's Gotterdammeung and Tristan und Isolde, to the last and perhaps most imaginative of the composer's passacaglias permeate the music. The ending is enigmatic.