Gergiev does it again

Gergiev does it again


norman lebrecht

June 02, 2014

His release of Shostakovich symphonies 4, 5 and 6 from St Petersburg repeats his 2004 Decca set from the same musicians and venue.

Except that it’s less coherent, less well played and recorded, less attractive in every way.

So why did he release it? Is there a political reason?

The set is my Album of the Week on sinfini. Click here.




  • Paul Pelkonen says:

    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
    – Albert Einstein

  • David Pickett says:

    Given your comments about this recording, I am moved to ask how it qualified as “Album of the Week”. It would seem that the criteria for this award are not very demanding.

  • sdReader says:

    I guess that’s ditto as to why it gets just 2 out of 5 stars.

    I was worried there that NL was actually recommending VG.

    Seriously, though, his Shosty is weak. Always has been. He has no command of structure. Sure, the orchestra can play the music, but they need a vision to follow, not just page-turning.

    You know who is truly great in Shosty, oddly? Dudamel! He is also great with Sibelius.

    And, staying on the soapbox, I bet Thielemann will be a superb Sibelian.

  • sdReader says:

    Thought-provoking: 7 times as much album cover space is devoted to “VALERY GERGIEV” as to “shostakovich” …

    Oh, this CAPTCHA stuff is too annoying!

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Sorry about the CAPTCHA. It’s a cheap, effective way of stopping floods of spam.

      • sdReader says:

        Oh, gosh, no need to apologize. The reason for it is understood. I remember a couple of years ago Ryanair was using it, and you would try and try and still not get through or past. On SD in the last few days it seems to have been alternating between a relatively easy pictures-of-numbers scheme and a nearly impossible combo scheme of a legible word paired with a totally screwed up word (as right now). Perhaps there is a way to control or set that, the level of difficulty. My guess is that some readers won’t give you feedback on this and will just comment less. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll find the right balance.

        Now let’s see if I can get this past the thing … !

  • In his defense, I would say VG’s recording of “The Nose” is pretty darn great. But we are currently oversupplied with recordings of the symphonies, and he’s just not as competitive.

    • sdReader says:

      He’s wonderful in the Prokofiev vein, and Nos sort of fits there.

      You’re right to say “just not as competitive” in the symphonies!

      Who do you like? I favor Previn in No. 5, Mravinsky in No. 8, Karajan in No. 10, Sanderling in No. 15.

      I’m not convinced by Slava in this rep, either, which I know is a minority view. Or Haitink. And haven’t heard any of the V. Petrenko series yet, which I think Norman likes.

  • andrey says:

    Oh, please, this is over-stating it. Some live concerts with Shostakovich with him raised my hair and some recordings are very good. You are just trying to make a point which I do understand but still.