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This review is from: Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 1/ 3 (Audio CD)
I have little to add to Daniel Hogan's excellent review. I agree with every word. Like the performance of the Tenth, tempos seem natural an unforced throughout even allowing for some particularly animated playing in the first symphony finale. The playing is world class again and the recording is top class too.
I doubt if the First could sound better though there is still an element of the student rather than master about it. The orchestra handles the many solos superbly and here Shostakovich shows his own identity with a masterly orchestration.
I must confess I must be one of the few people in the world to have a soft spot for the Third. It is one of my guilty pleasures. Its choral finale is mercifully short (Shostakovich apparently found the text laughable himself) and while the work sets out to depict some communist bombast there is a great deal of evocative tone painting throughout: this really is the music of youth and spring. It is unusual to catch Shostakovich indulging in landscape painting but it is to be found here. Overall it is bright and showy with a more profuse orchestration than the First, though the growing influence of Mahler is still hard to detect - it really comes to the fore in the Fourth.
As in much early Shostakovich the music is keen to shock with his customary nervy melodic lines, twists, harmonic raspberries and orchestral washes rather than the more boney and soloistic First. Just to confirm its radical credentials Shostakovich made a point of not repeating any themes: a linked four movement structure is clear but any thoughts of sonata form or rondos go out of the window. A shame you might feel that he abandoned his mastery of form shown in the first.
This Naxos series is rapidly turning into the one to beat. If you're feeling particularly mean, why not wait for the full set to be completed and buy the box set when it is released. If not, this disc, like all the others to date is the best version of recent years. Highly recommended.