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Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 5 / Haitink, London Philharmonic

Release Date: 07/10/2012 
Label:  Imports   Catalog #: 1103769  
Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic OrchestraRoyal Concertgebouw Orchestra

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

There are some great things in Haitink’s Shostakovich cycle, specifically Symphonies Nos. 5, 8, 12, and 13. There must always be room for a performance of the Fifth this beautifully played and musically conducted. Haitink does not obviously “take a position” on how slow the finale’s coda has to go: he just plays it as though he means it (it is in fact slowish) and it works perfectly. Similarly, the climax of the first movement features such unanimity of phrasing and intensity of sonority that there’s no questioning the expressive point. In this respect, the Concertgebouw Orchestra’s Mahlerian credentials are a big help–not just here, but in the scherzo as well. Add in an especially rapt account of the Adagio (with another gut-wrenching Read more climax) and the result is one of the great Fifths.

Haitink isn’t quite as strong in the First Symphony. It’s not a bad performance by any means. Indeed, it’s quite good, but the London Philharmonic offers no match for the Concertgebouw strings and woodwinds, and Haitink himself doesn’t quite capture the dry humor of the first two movements. The music just needs a healthier dose of grotesquerie. He makes ample amends in the Lento, however, which is very soulfully sung, and he delivers an impressively cogent account of the somewhat patchy finale. The sonics are finer in the Fifth, on the whole, having greater warmth and impact, but this is certainly a better disc than the previous coupling of the Fifth with Haitink’s relatively unsmiling account of the Ninth.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 1 in F minor, Op. 10 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924-1925; USSR 
Symphony no 5 in D minor, Op. 47 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USSR 

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