- Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10
- Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47
Ironic, tragic, virtuosic, and modernist, this is, oddly enough, the music that Karel Ancerl and the Czech Philharmonic were born to play. Although, of course, Ancerl and the Czechs excelled at the rich repertoire of Czech orchestral music, their country's occupation by the Nazis and then the Soviets made them the right performers for Shostakovich's "First" and "Fifth." The black irony, the bitter tragedy, the enormous virtuosity, and the wholehearted modernism of Shostakovich's "First" and "Fifth" matched the dreadful situation of the Czechs all too closely. While some listeners might prefer the relentless intensity of a great Russian performance or the massive muscularity of an American performance, the strong, supple, and sympathetic playing of Ancerl and the Czech's performance is honest to the hard truths of Shostakovich's music. And while some listeners might object that Ancerl and the Czechs are too lyrical for Shostakovich's monumental scores, others listeners might assert that their soul-deep humanity makes them the ideal interpreters of his music. Supraphon's remastering of the early-'60s stereo is deep, detailed, warm, and vivid.