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Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
$44.20 $0.86

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: New York Philharmonic
  • Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
  • Composer: Dimitri Shostakovich
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: CBS Masterworks
  • ASIN: B00000DRWV
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,646 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
This is Bernstein's interpretation of a piece he made famous in his recording of 1959. But instead this is the New York Philharmonic visiting live Japan in 1979 for a very quiet Japanese audience. In fact this recording is so quiet I almost am tricked into thinking that it is studio and not live, but there is just enough noise to disspell that notion.

The playing and interpretation hasn't changed much from the initial 1959 recording on CBS/Sony. The only real notable different is that the super fast finale from 1959 is toned down very fast timing in at about 10 minutes instead of 9 (8'55" to be exact). This is a historic recording because it is one of the first CBS digital recordings of classical music and it is one of the first live digital recordings of a concert to the best of my knowledge. When this recording came out it was originally on a vinyl LP. Vinyl LP's had digital recordings on them before actual compact discs came out later on in the 1980's.

From an engineering standpoint this recording is dynamite compared to the 1959 recording. The bass is deeper and fuller. The high end is extended and overall it is an advance over 1959 technology. This recording is also available coupled with the Cello Concerto No.1 of Shostakovich with Yo-Yo Ma as soloist and there is even another that exists with Barshai's string orchestration of the 8th quartet called the Chamber Symphony op.110. These are all the same recording and as far as I know there is nothing different about the mastering. They might even be better values for the money.

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5; Cello Concerto No. 1

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5
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Format: Audio CD
I've had this live recording from Tokyo for years, and it is my first recording of this wonderful piece. The first movement is wonderful--well played and interpreted the whole way through, and the second movement displays plenty of the sarcastic attitude and all out playing that give it an edge. The largo is sublime, though. Bernstein and the orchestra pull out every nuance of beauty from the movement. The finale is excellent as well--pinnacle of Bernstein and the NY Philharmonic's collaboration. The brass and timpani especially shine.

This may not be the definitive version of this piece for all time (I'm not enough of an audiophile to say for sure), but it is highly satisfying, and the excitement of the live performance really adds something.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Classic live performance from Tokyo, 1979...I have a TON of recordings of this symphony and this is among the 2 or 3 best. Like the Kleiber Beethoven 5th/7th symphonies released separately, I have no problem paying for a single work if it's done memorably, and this has stood the test of time.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is the first recording of Shostakovich's 5th symphony I owned (LP), and still my favorite. The sound is superior to the earlier Bernstein studio recording, and the interpretation is absolutely thrilling. Many of Sony's early digital recordings are harsh sounding, and I generally prefer late analog to early digital sound, but this is one truly shining exception.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I had listened to my original copy of this piece so often that it no longer played well. I was fortunate enough to find the exact same piece performed by the exact same artist, i.e. the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Bernstein. I imagine I'll wear this copy out as well, in time, but I truly love this music.
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