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Shostakovich, Mendelssohn: Symphonies / Solti, Vienna Po

Release Date: 06/05/2008 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 440476   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Dmitri ShostakovichFelix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Any disadvantage over the oddity of coupling can be turned on its head: with Solti directing fresh and sympathetic performances of both works, the disc can be warmly recommended to anyone who fancies the unexpected conjunction of two contrasted masterpieces. The collaboration of conductor and orchestra produces some surprising results, with Solti's characteristic manner significantly modified. That is particularly striking in the Italian Symphony, where you would never recognize this live performance with the Vienna Philharmonic as the work of the same conductor as Solti's Chicago recording. Though in the first movement the speed is even faster than before, if only fractionally, the lightness and resilience of the Viennese players makes it Read more seem far less tense and much more buoyant. That contrasts strongly with the much heavier manner of the Chicagoans, for whom resonance and precision have the highest priority, at the expense of gentler qualities.

In the finale, too, the Vienna performance is lighter and more resilient, and in the two middle movements the contrasts are even more extreme, with the Chicago performances far slower, heavier and less expressive. Amazingly the Andante con moto is almost 90 seconds shorter in the Vienna performance—5'16'' as against 6'45'', giving quite a different idea of the Pilgrims' March. In Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony Solti adopts a more espressivo style than in his previous recordings of this composer's works, with the Largo slow movement beautifully moulded at a flowing speed, conveying warmth in a movement that is often treated with emotional reserve. The great soaring second subject theme of the first movement, too, brings out the warmth of the Vienna strings, and in both the scherzo and finale Solti brings out Shostakovich's wry humour rather than more brutal qualities. Throughout, the players are obviously enjoying their outing with Solti. When the live recording, made in the Musikverein, is not as full-bodied as, for example, the Decca recordings for Haitink in this symphony or for Blomstedt in the Mendelssohn, these are hardly first choices, but together they provide a welcome slant both on the works themselves and the conductor.

Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [10/1994]
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 5 in D minor, Op. 47 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USSR 
Date of Recording: 02/1993 
Venue:  Live  Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 43 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Symphony no 4 in A major, Op. 90 "Italian" by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1833; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1993 
Venue:  Live  Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 27 Minutes 35 Secs. 

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