Shostakovich: The Symphonies

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Leonard
Twenty years in the making, this 2007 cycle of the complete symphonies of Shostakovich marks a milestone in the career of Vladimir Ashkenazy. The Russian émigré pianist turned conductor began the cycle with the Royal Philharmonic in 1987 with the "Fifth" and followed that with the "First" and "Sixth" in 1988, the "Second" and "Ninth" in 1989, the "Tenth" and "Fifthteenth" in 1990, the "Eighth" in 1991, and the "Third" and "Twelfth" in 1992. He shifted to the St. Petersburg Philharmonic for the "Eleventh" in 1994 and the "Seventh" in 1995, and then to the NHK Symphony for the "Thirteenth" in 2000, and, finally, the "Fourth" and "Fourteenth" in 2006. Whatever the orchestra ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Leonard
Twenty years in the making, this 2007 cycle of the complete symphonies of Shostakovich marks a milestone in the career of Vladimir Ashkenazy. The Russian émigré pianist turned conductor began the cycle with the Royal Philharmonic in 1987 with the "Fifth" and followed that with the "First" and "Sixth" in 1988, the "Second" and "Ninth" in 1989, the "Tenth" and "Fifthteenth" in 1990, the "Eighth" in 1991, and the "Third" and "Twelfth" in 1992. He shifted to the St. Petersburg Philharmonic for the "Eleventh" in 1994 and the "Seventh" in 1995, and then to the NHK Symphony for the "Thirteenth" in 2000, and, finally, the "Fourth" and "Fourteenth" in 2006. Whatever the orchestra and whenever the date, Ashkenazy's fundamental approach to the composer remained unchanged: this is Shostakovich played big, bright, brawny, and above all heroic. There's passion in his "First" and pathos in his "Eighth," rhetoric in his "Second" and "Third" and realism in his "Eleventh" and "Twelfth," but above all there's courage in his "Fifth," bravery in his "Seventh," triumph in his "Tenth," strength in his "Thirteenth," and against-all-odds victory in his "Fifthteenth." The "Fourth" and "Fourteenth," the last recorded symphonies, are leaner in texture, darker in tone, and sterner in manner then the rest but no less persuasive. Each orchestra's playing is highly individualistic -- the English Royal Philharmonic is warmly colored, the Russian St. Petersburg Philharmonic is strongly rhythmic, and the Japanese NHK Symphony is brilliantly virtuosic -- but each plays with consummate musicality and obvious affection for Ashkenazy. Considering the variety of venues, Decca's lush digital sound is remarkably consistent. Compared with Barshai's ardent authenticity, Mravinsky's grim austerity, Kondrashin's urgent advocacy, and Rozhdestvensky's violent irony, Ashkenazy's direct approach may seem too straightforward for some listeners, but his honesty, sincerity, and efficacy cannot be denied. By the way, the NHK "Fourth" is a new recording. Ashkenazy first recorded the work in 1989 with the Royal Philharmonic. And for the record, the earlier performance is bigger, brighter, brawnier, and more unambiguously heroic than the later performance.
Gramophone - David Gutman
This kind of plain-spoken Shostakovich could make a good benchmark library choice.... There's much to be said for the present set of sturdy, central, "un-aristocratic" performances, decently annotated with full texts and translations.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/10/2007
  • Label: Decca
  • UPC: 028947587484
  • Catalog Number: 000897202
  • Sales rank: 109,985

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–4 Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (32:19)
  2. 5–7 Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 54 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (31:11)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Festive Overture, for orchestra in A major, Op. 96 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (6:00)
  2. 2 October, symphonic poem, Op. 131 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (12:47)
  3. 3 Symphony No. 2 in B flat major (To October), Op. 14: Largo - Allegro molto - "My shli, my prosili rabot - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (17:13)
  4. 4–10 The Song of the Forests, oratorio, for tenor, bass, childrens chorus, chorus & orchestra, Op. 81 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (36:28)
Disc 3
  1. 1–4 Symphony No. 12 in D minor, Op. 112 (The Year 1917 - in Memory of Lenin) - David Willcocks & Dmitry Shostakovich (41:16)
  2. 5–8 Symphony No. 3 in E flat major (The First of May), Op. 20 - David Willcocks & Dmitry Shostakovich (28:29)
Disc 4
  1. 1–5 Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Op. 43 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (61:07)
Disc 5
  1. 1–4 Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (47:42)
  2. 5–9 Fragments (5), for small orchestra, Op. 42 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (8:56)
Disc 6
  1. 1 Shostakovich broadcasts from besieged Leningrad in 1941 - Spoken Word (0:53)
  2. 2–5 Symphony No. 7 in C major (Leningrad), Op. 60 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (69:42)
Disc 7
  1. 1 Mournful-Triumphal Prelude in Memory of the Heroes of Stalingrad, Op. 130 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (2:49)
  2. 2–6 Symphony No. 8 in C minor, Op. 65 (Stalingrad) - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (60:55)
  3. 3 Novorossisk Chimes (The Fire of Eternal Glory), for orchestra - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (2:42)
Disc 8
  1. 1–5 Chamber Symphony in C minor, Op. 110a (arr. by Barshai from String Quartet No. 8 ) - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (23:06)
  2. 6–9 Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op. 93 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (51:48)
Disc 9
  1. 1–4 Symphony No. 11 in G minor, Op. 103 (The Year 1905) - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (55:21)
Disc 10
  1. 1–5 Symphony No. 13 in B flat minor, Op. 113 (Babi Yar) - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (54:07)
Disc 11
  1. 1–11 Symphony No. 14 for soprano, bass, strings & percussion, Op. 135 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Guillaume Apollinaire (50:14)
Disc 12
  1. 1–5 Symphony No. 9 in E flat major, Op. 70 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (25:06)
  2. 6–9 Symphony No. 15 in A major, Op. 141 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Vladimir Ashkenazy (40:10)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Vladimir Ashkenazy Primary Artist
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