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Shostakovich: Symphony No 13 / Järvi, Gothenburg Symphony

Release Date: 02/16/1998 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 449187   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 originated as a setting of Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s 1961 poem ‘Babi Yar’, in which the lack of a memorial to the thousands of Jews slaughtered by the Nazis near Kiev during the war is angrily condemned. The composer’s decision to group that poem with others by Yevtushenko, all more or less explicitly critical of the Soviet regime, underlined how the fate of the Ukrainian Jews could speak of a more general suffering under Stalinism. There was thus some doubt about whether the authorities would allow the symphony’s first performances to go ahead, even though – to the disgust of many – Shostakovich had joined the Communist Party in 1960.

In this recording, Neeme Järvi continues his revealing
Read more survey of the symphonies, begun with the Scottish National Orchestra; here, he stresses that beyond the familiar fury and sardonic humour there is a gentle, if bleak, sense of yearning. Under the conductor’s well-paced direction, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra gives a powerfully atmospheric performance, especially in the lyrical, lightly orchestrated sections, and there is a dramatic dialogue between the idiomatically expressive chorus and the bass soloist Anatoly Kotscherga, who eloquently conveys the passion, indignation and resignation of the poems.

Performance: 5 (out of 5), Sound: 5 (out of 5)

-- William Humphreys-Jones, BBC Music Magazine
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 13 in B flat minor, Op. 113 "Babi Yar" by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1962; USSR 

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