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Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 10 Hybrid SACD - DSD

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, April 12, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

For the third release in his Shostakovich symphony cycle, Valery Gergiev again couples two works from different stages in the composer s career. Although Shostakovich s symphonies are usually highly programmatic, the third and tenth symphonies are among his most enigmatic works. The third was first performed in January 1930, its final movement setting a text by Semyon Isaakovich Kirsanov praising May Day and the revolution. Shostakovich stated that the work, expresses the spirit of peaceful reconstruction, yet much of the music is dark and somber in tone. The tenth is one of his most popular and frequently heard works.
First performed in December 1953, the great Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya claimed that the symphony was, a composer s testament of misery, forever damning a tyrant.


Editor's Choice - ''This superbly recorded disc remains, for me at least, one of the few indispensable Shostakovich CDs of recent years.'' --Gramophone Magazine

''A winning Shostakovich disc from Gergiev and the Mariinsky... this is a very fine performance of the Tenth and probably as good a performance of the negligible Third as you're likely to hear... Gergiev's performance maps the eventful contours of this work [Symphony No 10] with great sensitivity. The melancholy first movement unfolds with a palpable sense of dread and sorrow, the second movement crackles with violent energy, and the third has all the sardonic wit of Mahler's night-music interludes. The last movement builds to its wild celebratory final pages with the proper sense of inevitability. Throughout, the Mariinsky players give their all, fired up no doubt by the presence of a live audience. This is a very, very fine Tenth Symphony, certainly among the best in SACD.'' --Audiophile Audition

''Gergiev works wonders with the Third... wonderfully expressive woodwind playing.'' --BBC Music Magazine
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Mariinsky Orchestra
  • Conductor: Valery Gergiev
  • Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich
  • Audio CD (April 12, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: Mariinsky
  • ASIN: B004OD0NEW
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,672 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 22, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Gergiev is not only a great interpreter of Shostakovich but a great reviser of how we hear the symphonies; he often lends them a more serious and reflective approach. but there's not much that he can do with Sym. #3 "May Day," which is one of the composer's weakest efforts. Written in four movements to be played continuously, there's really no symphonic development here, just a series of gestures and episodes, some of which crop up only once, that appear to be haphazardly thrown together. The Third can be taken as a laboratory of experimental devices that would flower in the Fourth Sym., which is also a strange grab bag of mixed moods and themes with little discipline but a great deal more interest.

For the first time in my experience, Gergiev seems uninvolved in a Shostakovich score, moving from episode to episode with functional, proficient playing and little more. What can he do? The themes in the Third feel like second-drawer Shostakovich, and the choral ending, based on a piece of empty Soviet rhetoric addressed to May Day, is painfully empty of sincerity. (May 1 was adopted by international socialism as a day to commemorate laborers everywhere and later commandeered by the Soviet regime to celebrate the overthrow of the Czar.) For a more committed attempt to salvage this score, I turn to Rozhdestvensky, whose reading can be found on various labels like Moscow Studio and Melodiya.

We all know that the Third is inserted here as a prelude to one of Shostakovich's most acclaimed works, the Sym. #10, the greatest masterpiece of the composer's that Gergiev had yet to record. It's been twenty years in coming, ever since he began his long, drawn-out Shostakovich cycle on Philips.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Some may find it strange that I bought this for Shostakovich's Third Symphony and not the Tenth. There are so few offerings available of the Third that is was easy to narrow it down to Gergiev or Jarvii and a couple of others. I already had Rostropovich's version but wanted to hear a more modern approach. The Gergiev with the Mariinsky had been classified as a more classical interpretation plus it had one of my favorites, the Tenth on disc as a decided bonus!

Those that claim the Shostakovich Third as a generally incoherent piece of propaganda from the fledgling Soviet empire are most likely correct. Commissioned to celebrate May Day, it was warmly embraced by the Soviet officials. While Rostropovich records the symphony in 6 tracks (I don't think that "movements" is quite right here), Gergiev uses only three. Ironically, the more modern Gergiev version parallels a common formula Shostakovich tended to use in many of his symphonies: Section 1: quiet atmosphere with underlying unrest, Section 2: violent outburst of uprising and/or revolution, and Section 3: Victory over oppressive forces. Throughout this symphony, however, Shostakovich doesn't seem develop any theme I can detect, but instead provides a smattering of ideas pasted together in a somewhat haphazard fashion. These musical bits do point to a future Shostakovich and in particular the Fourth Symphony and for this reason alone the symphony should be dusted off every once in a while and given a re-listen.

Gergiev gives the Third Symphony a good try and does a far better job than my Rostropovich. Gergiev is in full control of his orchestra who perform to their usual high standards.

The problem with this album is the Tenth which some consider one of Shostakovich's masterpieces.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a spectacular recording of extraordinary quality. Led by the wonderful Valery Gergiev, the Mariinsky orchestra thrives under his direction and interpretation of these two symphonies and release a breath of fresh air into the well-known tenth symphony. An interesting pairing, Shostakovich's rarely heard third symphony is exciting and unpredictable, while the masterful performance of the tenth is gripping.
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