This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
...With one single reservation Haitink's account of Babi Yar is superb... It has been becoming clear for some while that Shostakovich turned, for some of his most intense and personal utterances, to a type of melodic idea that is closely linked to certain characteristics of Jewish folk-music. As one would expect, there are elements of this in Babi Yar but the point of contact can be most closely studied in the set of Jewish folk-song arrangements that he wrote in 1948 but could not release for public performance until after the death of Stalin. The mood of these songs, their stoic acceptance of tragedy, their wry humour, their bitter awareness of enforced parting is uncannily close to what we think of as characteristic Shostakovich—if the
tunes had not already existed he would have had to write them, you might say.
My one reservation about the performance of Babi Yar is that Marius Rintzler, although he has all the necessary blackness and gravity and is in amply sonorous voice, responds to the anger and the irony and the flaming denunciations of Yevtushenko's text with scarcely a trace of the histrionic fervour they cry out for: he is more like a sympathetic but detached observer than an impassioned orator, and he shows little relish for the sound of Russian words. The excellent chorus, though, are very expressive and they make up for a lot, and so does the powerful and sustained drama of Haitink's direction. He has solved the difficult problems of pacing a symphony with three slow movements (one is so gripped throughout that one is scarcely aware that there are such problems) and the atmosphere of each movement is vividly evoked, with a particular care for the subtleties of Shostakovich's orchestration. The orchestral sound, indeed, is magnificent: one can readily believe that the huge forces called for in the score were actually provided, but this does not necessitate any unnatural focusing on (say) the celeste in order that it shall register. The perspective is very natural throughout, and there is an excellent sense of the performance taking place in a believable space. The CD, of course, has rather more impact and clarity than the LPs... I would not, though, have missed the hair-raisingly absorbing experience of hearing Babi Yar uninterrupted, emerging from silence, each movement intensifying the impact of its predecessor.
-- Gramophone [5/1986]
reviewing the original release on Decca 414410
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 13 in B flat minor, Op. 113 "Babi Yar" by Dmitri Shostakovich
Marius Rintzler (Bass)
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,
Royal Concertgebouw Men's Chorus
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1962; USSR
Date of Recording: 1984
Venue: Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Length: 64 Minutes 30 Secs.
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