Jul 25

Shostakovich Complete Symphonies, performed by Kiril Kondrashin and Moscow Symphony Orchestra ?????

As you can tell, I’ve been reviewing mostly Russian music, including Borodin, Rachmaninoff, and Shostakovich. Shostakovich is my favorite of all Russian composers. This 11-CD set includes all 15 of Shostakovich’s symphonies, as well as his violin concerto. Though recorded a few years ago by Melodia, the sound is quite excellent. Kondrashin provides very convincing performances, that rank among the best. His tempo and dynamics often differ a bit from western conductors, but is done in a way that is quite pleasing. The 5th symphony is comparatively slower than Bernstein’s, yet maintains all the vim and fire worthy of the symphony. This is a set of Shostakovich’s symphonies that is worth having, and is probably the best Russian performances available. I have complete sets by Barshai, Haitink, Maxim Shostakovich, and Jansons, as well as this set by Kondrashin, and tend to prefer the Kondrashin and Jansons sets above the others. Each conductor provides a much different interpretation of these symphonies, and all of the sets are worth having. Kondrashin would be a reasonable starting set for the beginner.

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