Shostakovich Symphonies Nos 1, 15 (2009)

Shostakovich

Mariinsky Orchestra

Valery Gergiev

A lifelong celebration “Dans toutes les choses humaines, les origines avant tout sont dignes d’Etude.” Ernest Renan (“In the study of all human aff airs, it is important to go back to the origins.”) Th is venerable aphorism is borne out by Shostakovich’s First Symphony. Written when he was nineteen years old, this work off ers both an insight into the source of his creativity and an encapsulation of his future work. The Symphony summarises the years of early study, displaying the composer’s unusual technical maturity; it mirrors the Russian post-Revolution decade in its desire for novelty and its attitude to the departing world. It could be argued that the historical events at that time provided a framework for Shostakovich’s score, with the Symphony becoming the most important, possibly the most quintessential event of the musical avant-garde.
Of course the First Symphony owes much to the infl uence of the classical traditions of Tchaikovsky and Skryabin, the impressions shaped by contemporary authors and the impact of all the music so fascinating to Shostakovich’s circle of composers. It was hardly a coincidence that the Symphony was dedicated to Mikhail Kvadri, the erudite composer who was such an inspiration to our young Shostakovich. (Kvadri was to become, in 1933, one of the early victims of Stalin’s Great Terror.) Yet it can be demonstrated that Shostakovich was soon to shake off the direct infl uence of his outstanding contemporaries, Stravinsky and Prokofi ev.

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Valery Gergiev

Valery Gergiev is Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Stars of the White Nights Festival (St Petersburg), the Moscow Easter Festival, the Gergiev Rotterdam Festival, the Mikkeli International Festival, and the Red Sea Festival in Eilat, Israel. His inspired leadership as Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre since 1988 has brought universal acclaim to this legendary institution. Born in Moscow, he studied conducting with Ilya Musin at the Leningrad Conservatory, won the Herbert von Karajan Conductors’ Competition aged 24, and made his Mariinsky Opera debut one year later conducting Prokofiev’s War and Peace. In 2003 he led St Petersburg’s 300th anniversary celebrations, and opened the Carnegie Hall season with the Mariinsky Orchestra,the first Russian conductor to do so since Tchaikovsky conducted the Hall’s inaugural concert in 1891. Valery Gergiev’s many awards include a Grammy, the Dmitri Shostakovich Award, the Golden Mask Award, People’s Artist of Russia Award, and France’s Royal Order of the Legion of Honour. His vast discography includes Russian operas, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and Tchaikovsky Symphonies, and numerous discs on the LSO Live and Mariinsky labels, including a Mahler Symphony cycle, Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, Wagner’s Parsifal, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, and a disc of Debussy’s music.

Mariinsky Orchestra

The Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra or the Kirov Orchestra is located in the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. The orchestra was founded in 1783 during the reign of Catherine the Great, it was known before the revolution as the Russian Imperial Opera Orchestra. The orchestra is one of the oldest musical institutions in Russia.

In 1935 Joseph Stalin changed its name (and that of the Ballet) to the Kirov, after Sergei Kirov, the first secretary of the Communist Party in Leningrad, whose 1934 murder by his regime Stalin was attempting to whitewash. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the name was changed back to the Mariinsky in 1992.

The current artistic and general director of the Mariinsky Theatre is the conductor Valery Gergiev and the principal guest conductor is Nikolaj Znaider. Under Gergiev, the Mariinsky Orchestra has become one of the leading symphony orchestras in Russia.

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Shostakovich Symphonies Nos 1, 15 (2009)

Shostakovich

Mariinsky Orchestra

    Musical Criticism.com

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.

    Classic FM Magazine

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.

    Daily Telegraph

The orchestra under Gergiev is terrific. Doom laden brass, jaunty woodwind and clattering percussion all come together with total conviction.

    Absolute Sound

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.

    Philadelphia Inquirer

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.

    BBC Music Magazine -

'impressively recorded in the sumptuous acoustics of the new Mariinsky Concert Hall' Performance ***** Sound *****

    Sunday Times

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. Disc of the Week

Shostakovich Symphonies Nos 1, 15 (2009)

Shostakovich

Mariinsky Orchestra

Producer: James Mallinson
Recording Engineer: John Newton, Dirk Sobotka
Recording location: Mariinsky Concert Hall
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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MAR0502: Shostakovich Symphonies Nos 1, 15
01:15:49   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Symphony No 1- i. Allegretto - Allegro non troppo
Shostakovich
00:08:52   Select quality & channels above
2.
Symphony No 1- ii. Allegro
Shostakovich
00:04:40   Select quality & channels above
3.
Symphony No 1- iii. Lento - Largo
Shostakovich
00:08:45   Select quality & channels above
4.
Symphony No 1- iv. Allegro molto - Lento - Adagio - Presto
Shostakovich
00:09:35   Select quality & channels above
5.
Symphony No 15- i. Allegretto
Shostakovich
00:08:18   Select quality & channels above
6.
Symphony No 15- ii. Adagio
Shostakovich
00:14:59   Select quality & channels above
7.
Symphony No 15- iii. Allegretto
Shostakovich
00:04:04   Select quality & channels above
8.
Symphony No 15- iv. Adagio - Allegretto
Shostakovich
00:16:36   Select quality & channels above

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