In their latest release at NativeDSD, the London Symphony Orchestra and conductor Gianandrea Noseda bring us an album featuring Shostakovich Symphonies Nos. 6 and 15.
Following the success of his Fifth Symphony, all eyes were on Shostakovich to create a work that would measure up to its predecessor. The Sixth was originally intended as an immense musical monument to Lenin, to be woven with heroic melodies and folk songs. Instead his audiences were surprised to hear a quite different result—a contemplative, restrained first movement that morphs puzzlingly into a ferocious ending.
The Fifteenth is another of Shostakovich’s musical enigmas, with inexplicable quotes from music by Rossini, Glinka and Wagner dotted throughout, alongside references to his own music from his younger years. Written in 1970–71 when the composer’s health was declining, this final symphony is one of fond reflection. Together these unconventional works showcase Shostakovich’s range as a composer—from wild exuberance to quiet introspection.
London Symphony Orchestra
Gianandrea Noseda, Conductor
TracklistPlease note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Total time: 01:16:48
|Original Recording Format
|May 26, 2023
The playing is forthright and trenchant, a perfect combination of playfulness and unsettling ambiguity. The superb LSO brass players come into their own at the opening of the second movement, a long, sombre meditation. There are lengthy passages in which very little happens, but the first cello and those few musicians who accompany brilliantly sustain tension and the listener’s attention. When the inevitable funeral march finally appears it is a pair of flutes that introduce it, passing it later to a lugubrious trombone. This is Shostakovich scoring at its most spare: pages carry much white space, and the enormous climax is typical in having only two simultaneous musical lines. I have rarely heard the third movement Scherzo – 4½ minutes to the previous movement’s 16 – quite so spectral as here. A brief taste of the ticking percussion device that is to close the work is then the strangest introduction to the Wagner quote that opens the finale. The climax of the movement – and of the whole work – is overwhelming, a corrupted version of an earlier passacaglia theme that is recognised as much by its rhythm as by the notes of which it is constructed. And the skill of these players in the extraordinary coda leaves one gasping in admiration.
NativeDSD Senior Reviewer
My respect for Noseda grows almost everyday!
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