Living, breathing Shostakovich

Living, breathing Shostakovich


norman lebrecht

July 20, 2015

A new account of the tenth symphony is my first five-star Album of the Week for months on

Which recording?

This wonderfully sensitive and evocative interpretation of the Tenth is all about storytelling, about voices and wilderness, about hope eternal.

Check it out here.



  • Olassus says:

    Funny how the orchestra’s name sits in the bottom 10% of the album cover. And the BSO subsidized this?

    • Hilary says:

      The orchestra seems sufficiently prominent. More problematic is the wording
      “Under Stalin’s Shadow” which at a glance suggests that this is the subtitle of the Symphony. What has become of DG!?

  • Olassus says:

    Also, Under Stalin’s Shadow struck me as some little-known Shosty tone poem paired with the symphony. Actually it’s just a b*llsh*t subtitle for the album. Misleading! And the Passacaglia, which does fill out the release, is not mentioned.

    DG has gone to hell.

  • Petros LInardos says:

    To call Nelsons “a Latvian who grew up under Soviet rule,” can mislead one to overestimate how his life’s experiences inform his interpretation of Shostakovitch. Unless one mentions that Nelsons was twelve years old when Latvia proclaimed its independence.

  • Peter Phillips says:

    The Karajan recordings, both of them, are great and I expect to admire the Nelsons. But there is, nevertheless, an authenticity to the performances by Mravinski, Kondrashin, Rozhdestvenski, Ancerl and Svetlanov, who lived through that time. Just as important is that the orchestral players knew what the music stood for from the inside, so to speak. And let’s not forget that Mariss Jansons lived through that period while his father, Arvid, was a conductor of the Leningrad Philharmonic. So yes, Nelsons and Karajan are very fine but they and their musicians inevitably see it from the outside.

  • tommwi says:

    Live recording right?
    Are there any audible applause on this recording or have they been edited out ? How about audience interference in general ?