Shostakovich - Symphony No. 15 and Hamlet Op.32 (2009)

Shostakovich

Russian National Orchestra

Mikhail Pletnev

Nothing is as it seems here. And everything seems futile here. Can one say it any more briefly? Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15 remains a complete enigma for the observant listener. However, in an attempt to explain it, let us consider, for the time being, the few, straight facts: the work was composed between April and the end of July 1971, and is the last symphony to issue from Shostakovich’s pen. It was given its première in Moscow in 1972, under the direction of his son Maxim. Not much more can be said about the Symphony No. 15 that is clear and unambiguous, unless one chooses to describe the musical processes in the sense of a musicological analysis of the structure, in order to present formal criteria or the course of the work, for example. Of course, these parameters offer no more than a point of orientation for an assessment of the contents or an interpretation of the work. However, none of the symphonies written by Shostakovich can be interpreted out of the context of the extreme biographical situation of this composer in the Soviet Union. To be sure, the fifteen symphonies – from the first to the last – do not just reflect in music Soviet history between 1926 and “Listen to my music. That says it all” 1972; they also encapsulate the survival strategy of a man who suffered for decades under the threat first of fascist extermination campaigns, and later, time and again, of the dictatorial state terror. As Shostakovich struggled with major health problems after his heart attack in 1966, he must have realized that each work from that time onwards could well have been his last. And thus – whether consciously or subconsciously – his own musical requiem, as long as it did not end up on the index beforehand. After all, even long after Stalin’s reign of terror, artistsin the Soviet Union were still subject to the unamenable rulings of the party leadership and their executive thugs.

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Russian National Orchestra

The Russian National Orchestra was founded in 1990 by pianist and conductor Mikhail Pletnev and is today recognized as one of the world’s top orchestras.  Maintaining an active international tour schedule, the RNO appears throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas, and is a frequent visitor to major festivals such as Edinburgh, Shanghai and the BBC Proms.  The orchestra presents its own RNO Grand Festival each September to open the Moscow season, and is founding orchestra of Festival del Sole, held every July in California’s Napa Valley.

RNO concerts are regularly aired on National Public Radio in the United States, the European Broadcasting Union, and Russia's Kultura channel.  The orchestra's critically acclaimed discography, launched with a 1991 CD cited as the best recording of Tchaikovsky’s Pathéthiquein history, now numbers more than 80 recordings, with conductors that include Founder and Music Director Mikhail Pletnev, Vladimir Jurowski, Kent Nagano, Vasily Petrenko and Carlo Ponti. 

Mikhail Pletnev

After his studies at the Central Special Music School, Mikhail Pletnev entered the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory in 1974, where he studied with Jakob Flier and Lev Vlasenko. Aged only 21, Pletnev was the Gold Medal and First Prize winner of the 1978 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition. He has since appeared as soloist with the major orchestras under conductors such as Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Chailly, Valery Gergiev, Zubin Mehta, Kent Nagano and Kurt Sanderling.

In 1990, following the collapse of the Soviet system, Mikhail Pletnev was able to realize his dream of forming the Russian National Orchestra. Under his artistic leadership, the RNO has become known as one of the world’s leading orchestras. Although his conducting career is primarily focused on the RNO, he also makes appearances as a guest-conductor with such prestigious orchestras as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Berliner Sinfonieorchester and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In September 1999, Pletnev was appointed the RNO’s Conductor Laureate and his collaboration with the orchestra has continued in many of its recordings and concerts. In February 2003, he conducted the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra at the Berliner Konzerthaus for the official opening of the Russian Year of Culture. 

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Shostakovich - Symphony No. 15 and Hamlet Op.32 (2009)

Shostakovich

Russian National Orchestra

Producer: Rob Maarse
Recording Engineer: Erdo Groot, Roger de Schot
Recording location: DZZ studio 5 Moscow

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PTC5186331: Shostakovich - Symphony No. 15 and Hamlet Op.32
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Tracks.
1.
Symphony No. 15 - Allegretto
Shostakovich
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2.
Symphony No. 15 - Adagio
Shostakovich
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3.
Symphony No. 15 - Allegretto
Shostakovich
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4.
Symphony No. 15 - Adagio-Allegretto
Shostakovich
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5.
Hamlet Op.32 - Introduction and Night Watch
Shostakovich
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6.
Hamlet Op.32 - Dinner Music
Shostakovich
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7.
Hamlet Op.32 - Dance Music
Shostakovich
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8.
Hamlet Op.32 - The Hunt
Shostakovich
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9.
Hamlet Op.32 - Monologue of Claudius
Shostakovich
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10.
Hamlet Op.32 - Musical Pantomime
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11.
Hamlet Op.32 - Lullaby
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12.
Hamlet Op.32 - Gigue (Addition, composed in 1954)
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13.
Hamlet Op.32 - Requiem
Shostakovich
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14.
Hamlet Op.32 - Signals of Fortinbras
Shostakovich
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15.
Hamlet Op.32 - March of Fortinbras
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