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Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos 6 & 10 / Litton, Dallas Symphony


Release Date: 07/03/2001 
Label:  Delos   Catalog #: 3283   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 23 Mins. 

Back Order: Usually ships in 2 to 3 weeks.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews


Quite simply, these are the best recordings these two Shostakovich symphonies have received in many years. Not only are they exceedingly well executed and extremely well recorded, but Andrew Litton and his Dallas orchestra achieve and maintain a true Shostakovich idiom like few others have in recent times. In both symphonies, Litton and his Dallas players display an unusual level of concentration throughout the long and brooding first movements. From these musicians you never sense any sign of boredom or of taking the music for granted. Conversely, the fast movements display a level of aggression and virtuosity that recalls the classic Russian recordings of old.


What does all
Read more of this amount to? Well, in the Tenth Symphony, Litton is able to make the requisite stark contrast between that long, gradual first-movement trek up the mountain and the start-to-finish, frantic terror that is the second movement's alleged portrayal of Stalin and his henchmen. Few other recordings have been able to get these two disparate elements so correctly in place. The climax to the third movement Allegretto could have been a bit more terrifying, but Litton urgently accelerates into it and captures its monotonous grimness as the orchestra incessantly hammers out the D-S-C-H musical monogram--after which the finale perfectly describes the frantically joyous celebrations of a composer who is finally (if temporarily) free of oppression.


In the Sixth Symphony, after the heartbreakingly phrased, gravely intense first movement (with especially outstanding wind solos from English horn and flute), Litton takes the second movement Allegro at a dangerously fast tempo, obtaining fantastically virtuosic playing from his orchestra. And despite the risk of the Presto finale being anti-climactic, he keeps the celebratory, carnival-like atmosphere perfectly fresh and exciting, right down to the bass drum thump he adds to the last chord for additional emphasis.


If there is only one very slight, minor disappointment to this "twofer" set, it's that the timpani are slightly recessed at the endings of both symphonies when played back at too low a level. A simple turn of the volume knob corrects this minor shortcoming without the sound becoming more unpleasantly aggressive. Beyond that, Delos' sound quality is absolutely demonstration class. Here's a classic instance of musical greatness revealed as a function of genuine empathy allied to superb musicianship rather than to any proprietary nationalistic or ethnic claim. It's a lesson well worth keeping in mind as you enjoy these stunning interpretations.
--Barry Guerrero, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 6 in B minor, Op. 54 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; USSR 
Date of Recording: 2000 
Venue:  Live  Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas, Texas 
Length: 29 Minutes 56 Secs. 
2.
Symphony no 10 in E minor, Op. 93 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; USSR 
Date of Recording: 2000 
Venue:  Live  Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas, Texas 
Length: 52 Minutes 43 Secs. 

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