Shostakovich: Symphony No. 11 'The Year 1905'
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Shostakovich: Symphony No. 11 'The Year 1905'

April 5, 2005

Also available in CD Format
  Song Title
Symphony No. 11 in G minor, Op. 103 'The Year 1905': I. Palace Square: Adagio
Symphony No. 11 in G minor, Op. 103 'The Year 1905': II. 9 January: Allegro
Symphony No. 11 in G minor, Op. 103 'The Year 1905': III. In memoriam: Adagio
Symphony No. 11 in G minor, Op. 103 'The Year 1905': IV. Tocsin: Allegro non troppo

Product Details

  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2002
  • Label: LSO Live
  • Copyright: 2002 London Symphony Orchestra Ltd
  • Total Length: 1:12:25
  • Genres:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,876 Paid in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 Paid in MP3 Albums)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In short order, my favorite performance of this work. September 19, 2002
Format:Audio CD
I first experienced this work many years ago, when Capitol Records (now part of EMI) released an LP set by Leopold Stokowski and the Houston Symphony Orchestra (still a favorite of mine, and presently available in well-mastered CD form from EMI). In subsequent years, I added performances by Bernard Haitink, Rudolf Barshai, and Rostropovich himself, when he had been the conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra. But it took only one hearing of this new "LSO Live" performance, with Rostropovich conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, for it to go to the top of this rather small pile of Shostakovich 11th Symphony recordings.

Shostakovich's 11th Symphony is a rather long, and very brooding, work. Ostensibly written to commemorate the 1905 Russian Revolution, its date of writing also suggests that it might contain one of his frequent "hidden messages," this one as a personal response to the Hungarian uprising and subsequent Soviet invasion of 1956. But perhaps it's best to ignore this highly-specific subtext, and simply accept the work as a more universal "commemoration to the victims of oppression everywhere."

Some Shostakovich symphonies (certainly the 1st, 5th, 8th and 10th, and perhaps the 6th and 9th) are heard in the concert hall much more frequently than this work, or for that matter, his other "war" symphony, the 7th ("Leningrad") Symphony. It follows - largely, anyway - that this work is not nearly as frequently recorded.

But, unless you are one who needs multiple versions of everything, this Rostropovich/LSO recording is likely to be the only one you'll ever need. Recorded live, it is, in a word, stunning.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Refreshing Look at Shostakovich October 2, 2002
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This recording of Dimitri Shostakovich's 11th Symphony is a bit unusual: Mstislav Rostropovich adopted a much slower tempo in all of the movements. In fact, his recording is 16 minutes longer than the premiere recording by Mravinsky (Russian Revelation). The result is that the descriptive music, almost cinematic, is given a broader sweep. The brooding quality of the first movement is intensified and the violent confrontation of Bloody Sunday in the second movement seems all the more violent. (Gennady Rozhdestvensky has recorded the 11th with a second movement a minute longer than this recording). Rostropovich was quoted as applying the music of this symphony to the terrorist attacks of September 11, so this performance is more of an event. The slower tempos do make this symphony seem like one of the war symphonies (the 8th in particular) and more inspired than the faster tempos, say of Kondrashin (who recorded the 11th at a time of 54 minutes).
Although this recording with the London Symphony was a live performance there is no background noise and no applause at the end of the symphony, only the reverberation of the bells as the sound fades. This is a must have recording for Shostakovich lovers.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Soundtrack to the end of the world. August 12, 2004
Format:Audio CD
I have never heard a more intense, powerful and mindblowing piece of classical music than Shostakovich's Second momement to his 11th symphony. I recommend the cd just for the second movement alone. He captures the terror of the 1905 revolution or any horrific event with this music. This piece is organized chaos, and thats a great thing. If the end of the world comes, (and I hope it doenst for a while) I'd very much like this piece playing when it happens. At least, I'll listen to a great piece of music when I'm killed by giant monsters.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High emotional involvement December 26, 2005
Format:Audio CD
Shostakovich's 11th Symphony is more programmatic than most of his work in the symphonic canon and approaches his Symphony 7 "Leningrad" in spirit and word. Both are long and overstated symphonies about Russian history replete with ceremonial bombast and regular thematic repitition.

This symphony is billed as Shostakovich's take on the 1905 Russian pre-revolution although many analysts argue it is instead modeled after the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1953. In either case it paints a portrait of people and events with discontent bubbling not far below the surface then boiling over into a cauldron of mania.

Like in his integral set of Shostakovich symphonies, Rostropovich's response to this music is highly emotional and broadly paced. He takes more than 72 minutes to get through the score compared to conductors that traverse the music in closer to an hour. In his still famous performance in Houston, Stokowksi's total time was about 10 minutes shy of Rostropovich's concert recording for the LSO Live label.

I would characterize Rostropovich's approach to this music as nearly silent brooding punctuated by terror. This is most obvious in the way he presents the two quieter movements (1 and 3) and follows them with the more boisterous movements (2 and 4). The contrast between the quiet brooding of the opening section, which is said to represent people gathering at the palace, and the savage militaristic rhythms of the timpani- and brass-driven mania of the second movement (where the palace guard opens fire on the crowd) is exemplary of his approach.

Comapred to conductors who direct this score as concert music, Rostropovich's approach is more personal and far more Russian.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One for the books
Yes, I'm an admitted Shostakovitch devotee, and Symphonies #1,5 and 10 always had my attention . But this CD of the #11 trumps them all. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Andrew Plaut
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the best rendition, but still good.
I've heard it performed better, but it's hard not to like this symphony, no matter how you hear it. But I couldn't object to its price ($4 for a digital download? HECK YES.)
Published 5 months ago by Brandon Rappuhn
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good rendition.
Far from the best. But this is an adequate rendition of my favorite work by Shostakovich. For the money, I world say it is worth it.
Published 13 months ago by Lance H. Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Version in Dynamic Sound
Thanks to John Kwok for an eloquent defense of this "slow" reading of a masterpiece. It's indeed an inspired interpretation, though I'd be willing to bet donuts to dimes that when... Read more
Published on May 31, 2010 by R. Kopp
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible LSO Sound: Adjust it up, adjust it down, adjust...Geez!
LSO engineers have the Barbican to deal with (horrible sound space) and they seem to make it worse, turning out spectacularly bad sound. Read more
Published on March 20, 2010 by G. Bell
4.0 out of 5 stars Rotropovich's Best Effort In Shostakovich
This is an award winning live performance of the Shostakovich 11th symphony conducted by Shostakovich's long time friend Rostropovich. Read more
Published on March 11, 2009 by Dmitri
5.0 out of 5 stars Shostakovich's 11th: More than film music
A lot of listeners of Shostakovich will list this as their favorite of his symphonies. Whether or not it is one of his professional best is beside the point. Read more
Published on March 11, 2009 by Samuel Stephens
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional intensity and commitment save the day
In this, his second go at the problematic Shostakovich 11th, Rostropovich adds four minutes to his already broad first account, ending up with a 72 min. Read more
Published on April 17, 2008 by Santa Fe Listener
2.0 out of 5 stars find another version if you can
I bought this CD because of the recommendations already listed. What a mistake. Yes, the CD is longer than other versions. But that is because it is SLOWER than the others. Read more
Published on January 15, 2008 by S. Sandone
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Regular People" Review
I'm writing this review after only one listen through of this work. That is all I need to realize how great of music this is. Read more
Published on April 24, 2007 by Konstantin
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