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.
Total time: 01:15:49
|Original Recording Format|
John Newton, Dirk Sobotka
Mariinsky Concert Hall
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||March 27, 2015|
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.
The orchestra under Gergiev is terrific. Doom laden brass, jaunty woodwind and clattering percussion all come together with total conviction.
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.
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 *****
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.
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