Label news: Noseda to record all Shostakovich symphonies

Gianandrea Noseda announced last night that he plans to record the 15 Shostakovich symphonies for the LSO Live label over the next few seasons.

This is an intriguing prospect on several counts. Noseda spent 10 years as resident conductor at the Mariinsky Theatre and is fluent in Russian language and culture.

His take on the complete Shostakovich will come up against evolving cycles from Vasily Petrenko in Liverpool (on Naxos) and Andris Nelsons in Boston (on DG).  There’s a prospect of really fruitful contrasts.

photo: Teatro Reggio, Torino

Noseda is incoming music director at the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington and principal guest with the LSO.

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  • …..And he is also principal guest with the Israel PO….mentioned as one of the top candidates to replace Mehta as musical director.

  • Shostakovich Makes a lot of sense with Noseda. Good call. Also the times, they are (unfortunately) more pie than ever for his music, expressing life under totalitarian rule. Only this time the entertainment is better…

  • It was mentioned that the Vasily Petrenko has an evolving cycle of Shostakovich symphonies. The word choice, to me, suggests the cycle is on-going since Nelsons was mentioned in the same sentence. I’d like to clarify for all that Petrenko has completed recording the Shostakovich cycle. In fact, he also has thrown in the 2 piano concertos for good measure.

  • The LSO did a lot of Shostakovich under Gergiev, so there’s already a lot of Russian tradition instilled in the orchestra…

    I guess Shostakovich is the new Mahler. Frankly if a conductor wants to impress, she should do a complete cycle of Haydn.

  • Let’s not forget Michael Sanderling and the Dresden Philharmonic are recording all the symphonies by Beethoven and Shostakovich for Sony Classical. They have just released their second CD of the ongoing recording project.

  • I would ask why he wouldn’t record them with the NSO, other than that it would probably be more expensive. Rostropovich did a cycle with the NSO in the 1980s, IIRC, which may or may not be a reason to do it with them now.

    • What an interesting idea. Surely, as head of the National Symphony in D.C., such a cycle would certainly have more political and artistic relevance and get more audience/critical attention given the relationship of the current administration to truth, power, arts…

      (Don’t expect Ivanka to show up anytime soon though…)

      Can it really be that expensive, live recordings? Plus now is as good as any time to start the in-house recording label

  • I appreciate the effort considering the climate in which his music was written, and maybe I’m just a different kind of listener, but I completely get where Pierre Boulez is coming from with his assessment of Shostakovich.

  • I only wish LSO Live had better recording sound. I don’t think of myself as an audiophile, but their poor microphone placement really interferes with my enjoyment of their recordings.

  • Without really trying I can think of eleven recorded Shostakovich cycles. Do we really need three more? In any case some of the best individual performances are not part of cycles e.g. Ormandy, Bernstein, Berglund, Scrowaczewski, Stokowski, Kurtz, Karajan, Termikanov. How many more do we need? Ditto Beethoven, of course.

  • Do we really need another Shostakovich cycle? LSO Live already has some of the best instalments possible (5. 8, 11) from Rostropovich. Petrenko’s and what Nelsons has done so far are both unsurpassable. Noseda is possibly a bit too speedy-slick to get the true weight, but unfair to judge before his performances appear. LSO seems to be falling back too much on familiar rep (yes, really!)

    Love the response above about Boulez being Boulez. Stravinsky also had a very superficial reaction to Shostakovich.

  • Isn’t it a waste of time ? will there be a new interpretation ? can there be any new interpretation ? will the recordings be technically better ? is there a new and original lso-sound unheard-before ?

    • The answer to your middle question is affirmative. The rest cannot be answered until after the recordings are released. You are welcome.

  • To me the question is not how many Shostakovich cycles there are but how many people they reach in total. In American culture I’ve sat through concerts where children and teenagers have fidgeted and created distractions during Mozart and Beethoven but suddenly paid attention and sat mesmerized through something like Shostakovich’s Tenth. The adults need the whole backstory about the music (or competing backstories in “the Shostakovich wars”) but the kids seem to create their own.

    Ironically this week the National Symphony Orchestra performed the Shostakovich Fifth, not under Eschenbach or for that matter Noseda (who earlier this season came in to conduct a nearly complete Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet) but under James Conlon. I know, you can roll your eyes at another performance of the Shostakovich Fifth. But Conlon, who probably was at least talked about in each recent change of music director of the NSO, gets special props in this repertoire for his magnificent work conducting the Met’s 2014 production of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Here in Washington, he did a nice job quickly presenting the various competing or overlapping theories of what Shostakovich 5 “means” and then saying to the audience (which appeared to be somewhat “papered over” with high school groups, which is fine with me) that it’s up to everyone to decide for themselves what message they hear.

    Regarding Noseda, I’d say go for it with the Shostakovich cycle, even as I cringe every time I see another headline involving a future activity of his outside of Washington. The NSO needs to regain a deeper cultural purchase on the city and that involves personalities and “buzz,” just like anything else in America. In the music world we may be all caught up in who gets to be listed for months or years on end as “music director designate” of this or that institution, but unless the person in question is personally on hand building the broad cultural following that’s needed, the effort risks being a top-down project that doesn’t pay off in the end. Thanks for the discussion.

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