Symphonies Nos 1 & 15
Valery Gergiev conductor
Total duration 75m52s
Catalogue number MAR0502
James Mallinson producer
MArk Donahue mixing & mastering
Dirk Sobotka engineering & mixing
John Newton engineering
Recorded July 2008 at the Mariinsky Concert Hall, St Petersburg
Includes multi-channel 5.1 and stereo mixes.
Notes in English / en Francais / auf Deutsch / на русском языке
Disc of the Week 'Gergiev's performance of the 15th sounds the valedictory culmination of his symphonic life's work - deeply moving... These works are meat and drink for Gergiev's outstanding Mariinsky players.' Sunday Times
Performance ***** Sound ***** 'Impressively recorded in the sumptuous acoustics of the new Mariinsky Concert Hall'
BBC Music Magazine
'Gergiev's pairing of Shostakovich's first and last symphonies makes great sense considering the many thematic cross-references they share. The performances show the conductor at his feverish, insightful best.' Philadelphia Inquirer
'This superb pairing of Shostakovich's first and last symphonies demonstrates both how astoundingly precocious the composer was and how face he came in 45 years.' Absolute Sound
'The orchestra under Gergiev is terrific. Doom laden brass, jaunty woodwind and clattering percussion all come together with total conviction.'
'By emphasising the playful exuberance of Shostakovich's writing, Gergiev discovers a middle path that brings these two symphonies closer than one would have through possible. The result is a tour-de-force of recreative bravado, into which the Mariinsky Orchestra throws itself with alacrity.' Classic FM Magazine
'To hear Shostakovich's first and last thoughts in the symphonic genre so closely juxtaposed is fascinating... Gergiev leads a passionate account of the First Symphony, all violins soaring and brass blazing, and totally persuades the listener of Shostakovich's contrasting subtlety in the slower moments. The conductor seems to understand instinctively where Shostakovich is looking knowingly to the past and when he's breaking out in a new direction and the insight brought out of the score is inspiring... The future titles in the series are well worth looking forward to.'
‘The coupling here is a good one – the symphonies’ stark contrasts outweigh their similarities and I am certain that Shostakovich would approve. The SACD sound, recorded in the Mariinsky Concert Hall (opened in April 2007) is excellent – biting and incisive with an excellent aural ‘bloom’ in spite of a lively acoustic.’ DSCH Journal
Over 45 years separate the composition of Shostakovich's first and final symphonies and yet both exude the same creativity and dark wit for which the great composer came to be known.
The First Symphony owes much to the influence of the composer's Russian predecessors including Tchaikovsky and Scriabin. However, it also reflects contemporary artistic life and the optimism of the early years in the Soviet Union. By contrast the final symphony is a much more bitter work, which draws on many of the themes that recur throughout Shostakovich's career, yet never resorts to melodrama.