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.
Internationally recognized as one of the most talented conductors of his generation, Yuri Temirkanov has been the Music Director and Chief Conductor of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra since 1988.
Leonard Bernstein's 1945 recording of the Fifth Symphony bears testament, if any were needed, to the prowess of the then 27-year-old wunderkind. The quality of the recording is low by modern standards, in particular the high strings and flutes, which take on a sibilant, peevish quality, but one can hear the authority of the performance all the same.
I believe this was Previn's first recording with the London Symphony, back in 1965. This period yielded a bumper crop of fine recordings with this team, including Nielsen's First Symphony, Scheherazade, and Tchaikovsky's Second Symphony. This is as fine a Shostakovich Fifth as I have ever heard. […]
Shostakovich's Symphony No.8 was written in the summer of 1943, and first performed in November of that year by the USSR Symphony Orchestra under Yevgeny Mravinsky, to whom the work is dedicated. Many scholars have ranked it among the composer's finest scores. Some also say Shostakovich intended the work as a ''tragedy to triumph'' symphony, in the tradition of Beethoven, Brahms and Mahler. This release in Praga's Reminiscences series of audiophile SACD remasterings features an historic live recording from 1961 featuring Mravinsky leading the Leningrad Philharmonic.