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Shostakovich: The Symphonies / Ashkenazy

Ashkenazy / Shostakovich / Rpo / Spbp / Nhk
Release Date: 07/10/2007 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 000897202   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Dmitri ShostakovichSpoken Word
Performer:  Sergej KopcakJoan RodgersDmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic OrchestraNHK Symphony Orchestra TokyoSt. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 12 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 12 Hours 40 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


If I had to choose a single boxed set of Shostakovich symphonies, I’d probably take Barshai’s on Brilliant Classics, but this unheralded effort by a major musician is at least as good as Haitink, Rostropovich, Jansons, or just about any other set that you can think of. Ashkenazy has completed the series with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Symphonies Nos. 4, 13, and 14, and aside from a relatively stodgy reading of this last work, he turn in excellent performances. Consider the precision of the string playing in the insane first movement fugue of the Fourth (first sound sample), or the power and menace at the close of the setting of “Babi Yar” (second sound clip). This is consistently impressive.


Symphonies 7 and
Read more 11, with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, are obvious highlights, and two of the better performances available, but the others, with the Royal Philharmonic, are also remarkably fine, especially Nos. 1, 5, 6, 8 and 15. One of the more attractive features of the set is the inclusion of a lot of rarely heard shorter or occasional works, including the tone poem October, and the socialist realist oratorio The Song of the Forests. No one would claim that these stand with the composer’s best efforts, but they do constitute a characteristic aspect of his output, and hearing them places the symphonies in their larger context.


The experimental Five Fragments and the stupendous Chamber Symphony Op. 110a (Barshai’s arrangement of the Eighth Quartet) are also valuable additions to the collection. Decca’s engineering is consistently very good throughout the set, despite the different venues and ensembles. Taken as a whole, then, this box contains some of Ashkenazy’s best work as a conductor; it’s certainly better and more important than, say, his Sibelius cycle, and much else that he has done. If you collect Shostakovich, you may want to consider getting this while you can. Decca is giving it no attention or support whatsoever.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 1 in F minor, Op. 10 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924-1925; USSR 
Date of Recording: 11/1988 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 31 Minutes 39 Secs. 
2. Symphony no 6 in B minor, Op. 54 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; USSR 
Date of Recording: 11/1988 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 30 Minutes 31 Secs. 
3. Festive Overture, Op. 96 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954; USSR 
Date of Recording: 09/1990 
Venue:  Watford Town Hall, Watford, Hertfordshir 
Length: 6 Minutes 0 Secs. 
4. October, Op. 131 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1967; USSR 
Date of Recording: 04/1992 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 12 Minutes 47 Secs. 
5. Symphony no 2 in B flat major, Op. 14 "To October" by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; USSR 
Date of Recording: 01/1989 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 17 Minutes 13 Secs. 
6. Song of the forests, Op. 81 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; USSR 
Date of Recording: 10/1991 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 35 Minutes 8 Secs. 
7. Symphony no 12 in D minor, Op. 112 "To the Memory of Lenin - 1917" by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1961; USSR 
Date of Recording: 04/1992 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 41 Minutes 16 Secs. 
8. Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 20 "First of May" by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929; USSR 
Date of Recording: 05/1992 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 28 Minutes 29 Secs. 
9. Symphony no 4 in C minor, Op. 43 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935-1936; USSR 
Venue:  Suntory Hall, Tokyo, Japan 
Length: 23 Minutes 44 Secs. 
10. Symphony no 5 in D minor, Op. 47 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USSR 
Date of Recording: 03/1987 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 47 Minutes 2 Secs. 
11. Fragments (5) for Orchestra, Op. 42 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USSR 
Date of Recording: 03/1987 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 8 Minutes 16 Secs. 
12. Symphony no 7 in C major, Op. 60 "Leningrad" by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; USSR 
Date of Recording: 05/1995 
Venue:  Great Hall of the St Petersburg Philharm 
Length: 69 Minutes 2 Secs. 
13. Mournful-triumphant Prelude, Op. 130 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1967; USSR 
Date of Recording: 04/1992 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 49 Secs. 
14. Symphony no 8 in C minor, Op. 65 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; USSR 
Date of Recording: 10/1991 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 60 Minutes 55 Secs. 
15. Novorossisk Chimes, Op. 111b by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; USSR 
Date of Recording: 04/1992 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 42 Secs. 
16. Chamber Symphony in C minor, Op. 110a by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; USSR 
Date of Recording: 01/1989 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 22 Minutes 26 Secs. 
17. Symphony no 10 in E minor, Op. 93 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; USSR 
Date of Recording: 09/1990 
Venue:  Watford Town Hall, Watford, Hertfordshir 
Length: 51 Minutes 8 Secs. 
18. Symphony no 11 in G minor, Op. 103 "Year 1905" by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USSR 
Date of Recording: 11/1994 
Venue:  Great Hall of the St Petersburg Philharm 
Length: 54 Minutes 41 Secs. 
19. Symphony no 13 in B flat minor, Op. 113 "Babi Yar" by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Sergej Kopcak ()
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1962; USSR 
Date of Recording: 10/19/2000 
Venue:  NHK Hall, Tokyo, Japan 
Length: 53 Minutes 27 Secs. 
20. Symphony no 14 in G minor, Op. 135 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Sergej Kopcak (), Joan Rodgers ()
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969; USSR 
Venue:  Meguro Persimmon Hall, Tokyo, Japan 
Length: 48 Minutes 14 Secs. 
21. Symphony no 9 in E flat major, Op. 70 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USSR 
Date of Recording: 01/1989 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 24 Minutes 26 Secs. 
22. Symphony no 15 in A major, Op. 141 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971; USSR 
Date of Recording: 11/1990 
Venue:  Watford Town Hall, Watford, Hertfordshir 
Length: 40 Minutes 10 Secs. 
23. Shostakovich broadcasts from besieged Leningrad in 1941 by Spoken Word
Performer:  Dmitri Shostakovich ()
Written: 1941 
Date of Recording: 1941 
Venue:  Leningrad 
Length: 0 Minutes 53 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Symphony No.1, Op.10: 1. Allegretto - Allegro non troppo
Symphony No.1, Op.10: 2. Allegro
Symphony No.1, Op.10: 3. Lento
Symphony No.1, Op.10: 4. Lento - Allegro molto
Symphony No.6 in B minor, Op.54: 1. Largo
Symphony No.6 in B minor, Op.54: 2. Allegro
Symphony No.6 in B minor, Op.54: 3. Presto
Festive Overture, Op.96
October - Symphonic Poem, Op.131
Symphony No.2 in B major, Op.14 - "To October"
Song of the Forests - Oratorio, Op.81: 1. When the War was over
Song of the Forests - Oratorio, Op.81: 2. The Call rings through the Land
Song of the Forests - Oratorio, Op.81: 3. Memory of the Past
Song of the Forests - Oratorio, Op.81: 4. The Pioneers plant the Forest
Song of the Forests - Oratorio, Op.81: 5. The young Communists forge onwards
Song of the Forests - Oratorio, Op.81: 6. Walk into the Future
Song of the Forests - Oratorio, Op.81: 7. Glory

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