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Shostakovich: Symphonies, Nos 2 & 12


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Audio CD, January 10, 2006
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Shostakovich: Symphonies, Nos 2 & 12 + Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Symphonieorchester Bayerischen Rundfunk
  • Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich
  • Audio CD (January 10, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • ASIN: B000BL98M4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,971 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Largo -
2. Poco Meno Mosso/Allegro Molto
3. Chorus: 'To October'
4. I: Revolutionary Petrograd
5. II: Razliv
6. III: Aurora
7. IV: The Dawn Of Humanity

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

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I also recommend Janson's last release in this series of symphonies nos.
Samuel Stephens
The themes and development are mature Shostakovich and the effect of the work is overpowering, calling for a very large orchestra.
Grady Harp
Some I like better than others, but will have enjoyable listening for years to come.
Ed

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Though the mighty symphonies of Dmitri Shostakovich stand solidly on their own as musical compositions, the underlying Russian history that is mirrored in the times in which each symphony was composed sheds even more light on the non-musical content. The rarely performed Symphony No. 2 in B flat major was not listed as a symphony as such on the original score title page: instead it is called 'To October - A Symphonic Dedication'. The work is a strange one, full of experimental sonorities including a brooding, almost choral sounding opening movement, a second movement which begins with a trio for solo violin, clarinet and bassoon soon mutating to a full blown cacophony of winds versus strings, a factory whistle blast (horns and trombones) serves as introduction for the choral movement, 'To October'. While the opening of the work challenges the 'new decadent Western music', the choral ode is richly tonal, the chorus singing about the begging for work and bread until Lenin brought the October Revolution and an end to suffering on the part of the peoples of Russia - clearly composed to satisfy the political demands of the regime in power. It works! Mariss Janssons conducts the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus is a deeply moving performance.

Symphony No. 12 in D minor (The Year 1917 - in Memory of Lenin) is far more familiar to audiences and though it, too, references the influence of Lenin on the Russian the work does not rely on words or chorus nor does it separate into movements. The sections - 'Revolutionary Petrograd', 'Razlif' (Lenin's hiding place in a peasant's hut), 'Aurora' (the battle ship that signaled the beginning of the October Revolution), and 'The Dawn of Humanity' - are played without separation.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Stephens on June 16, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
These are arguably Dmitry Shostakovich's least admirable efforts (aka: his worst) among his fifteen symphonies. Symphony No.2 was written as a pseudo-tone poem celebrating the bolshevik October revolution. The excellent liner notes narrate an interesting tale, tracing the genesis of Symphonies 2 and 12, Shostakovich's two "Bolshevik Symphonies."

The second symphony is quite interesting, aside from the propagandistic message. The orchestral material is modernistic in the way that the First symphony is, but with a more biting edge. The choral part won't bother you, even if you read the text because it's a very generic and lame message anyhow. It isn't a masterpiece, but it's still very much worth hearing.

The twelfth symphony was Shostakovich's attempt in writing a "Lenin" symphony. The tenth symphony is his "Stalin" symphony, though most of his "war symphonies" contain some message/portrait against Stalin to some degree. Whereas Stalin was unequivocally the antagonist and the enemy to Shostakovich, Lenin (seems) to have been admired. The 12th is in four movements, each with a subtitle. The liner notes discuss the significance of these titles far better than I can here. The musical quality of this work isn't as experimental as that of the 2nd symphony, but it's still Shostakovich. The music is somewhat shallow, as if the composer wasn't agreeing to what he was writing. But even when the musical quality is low, Shostakovich is still worth hearing.

Mariss Jansons leads the definitive accounts of both symphonies. There is no complaint about sound, orchestral capabilities etc. As far as considering this disc: if you are a Shostakovich fan trying to complete your symphonies collection by purchasing individual discs, then this is your best buy.
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Format: Audio CD
07-18-2014 We know, from his own lips, that the Symphonies 4 thru 8, were written by Shotakovich in partat least, with thwe shadow of WWII overhead and also the terrible domestic conditions under which th average Russian citizen found himself. The composer began writing this 7th Symphony in 1931 early and was nearly complete by the time the invading German army had reaced the outskirts of Leningrad and begun that awful 900 some day siege which cost the metropolis over a million souls, mostly due to starvation, disease and exposure to the brutal Russian winters. Surrounded as they were, Stalin's help was poor and meager. The people of what was formerly St. Petersburg were left to their own devices and to survive alone. Many did, many did not.
For too long, I was under the assumption that the "victorious" melodies and chorales in many of Shostakovich's works reflected the victory over the Nazis. In part, yes, but in larger part they are a curious mixture of anti-German sentiments and the "glory of the Revolution," as official declaration would have it. A classic example is the 5th Symphony's finale which is, again according to the composer, the triumph of Stalinism and Communism. This makes for a macabre grandeur found in no other music and since Stalin wanted no "bad news" but only Socialist glee, it was the correct interpretation. Hence, in much of this composer's work, there are few, if any, people's victories. The relentless brutality of the opening movement's repetitive driving theme is well presented by Jansons and his Oslo Philharmonic on this EMI 1988 CD, running a generous 68:45, a little longer than most.
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