Great performances of this massive symphony aren’t exactly thick on the field, but my goodness, this is one of them. Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic play with 100 percent commitment in every single bar. The first movement opens broadly, the intensity already palpable. Taking full advantage of excellent sound and a wide dynamic range (crank up the volume for this one), the central march and battle will have you sweating in your seat. The unrelentingly sustained passion that Petrenko brings to this long section triumphantly vindicates Shostakovich’s controversial vision, and at the same time makes short work of a 28-minute overall timing.
A logical, albeit rare combination of works, presented by the Politburo to reflect victory and an irresistible force – understandably in the case of Op.100 (1950); but unjustifiably in the case of Op.111 (1945-7), the ‘two-headed symphony’ which had the misfortune to displease Stalin, who hade xpected an ode to his glory. Mravinsky seldom performed these symphonies but has left for posterity a few ardent concert recordings.
One of my favorite albums. I have never heard a better performance of the two songs, and the aria from Jeanne D'Arc is absolutely flawless, makes one wonder why the opera itself is not more popular. This electric performance of the Rococo Variations is the best I've heard by Yo-Yo Ma or any other performer for that matter. Itzhak Perlman shines with glorious legato in the Serenade Melancolique. Tchaikovsky would have been proud of this tribute. The disc implies that is a soundtrack for a film of the concert yet I have been unable to find more information about it. Highly recommended!
In July-August 1987, after 100 shows around the world on The Bridge Tour, Billy Joel accepted the Kremlin's invitation to the U.S.S.R. for six fully-staged rock shows in Moscow and Leningrad, fulfilling a long-time desire to perform in Russia…
Shostakovich's Symphony No.5 was given its premiere in 1937. It was outwardly in compliance with the ruling party, but the public heard a message of suffering in Shostakovich's masterpiece and it was an unprecedented triumph. Symphony No.12 "The Year 1917" was dedicated to Vladimir Lenin. Both works were premiered by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Yevgeny Mravinsky. The performances featured here were recorded in December 1965.
Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony is 50 minutes of tragedy, despair, terror, and violence and three minutes of triumph. Premiered in 1953, the best performance is still that conducted by Mravinsky. Yevgeny Mravinsky's June 3, 1955, performance with the Leningrad Philharmonic of Beethoven's Symphony No. 4 is just as great. Mravinsky was the best Soviet conductor and his passionate precision and intense interpretations were as valid for Beethoven as they were for Shostakovich. His interpretations can be hard-driven and sharp-edged, but no one could object to the lucid strength and linear lyricism he brings to the work.
Sibelius's Symphony No.3 was composed in 1907. It is the link between the romantic intensity of his first two symphonies and the more cold complexity of his later symphonies. Symphony No.7 was completed in 1924 and is notable for having only one movement. The Swan of Tuonela is a tone poem based on the Kalevala epic of Finnish mythology. The Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra and Yevgeny Mravinsky pair these with Debussy's Nocturnes Nos.1 & 2.
Berman’s first teacher was his mother, herself a pupil of Isabella Vengerova, but at an early age he had lessons from Savshinsky of the Leningrad Conservatory. Berman first played in public at the age of four, and at the age of seven he took part in a concert at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, subsequently being asked to record Mozart’s Fantasy in D minor K. 397, and a composition of his own…