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Shostakovich Symphonies:
Recommended Recordings

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  • Symphony No. 1: Bernstein (DG 27632)
  • Symphony No. 4: Kondrashin (BMG-Melodiya 19840 -- Europe only)
  • Symphony No. 5: Maxim Shostakovich (BMG-RCA 32041)
  • Symphony No. 6: Mravinsky (BMG-Melodiya 25198)
  • Symphony No. 7: Bernstein (DG 27632)
  • Symphony No. 8: Mravinsky (Russian Disc 10917)
  • Symphony No. 9: Jarvi (Chandos 8587)
  • Symphony No. 10: Mravinsky (BMG-Melodiya 25198)
  • Symphony No. 11: Stokowski (EMI/Angel 65206)
  • Symphony No. 13: Kondrashin (Russian Disc 11191)
  • Symphony No. 14: Rostropovich (Revelation 10101)
  • Symphony No. 15: Haitink (London 417581)
  • Piano Trio No. 2, Quintet for Strings: Borodin Trio, Edlina
    (Chandos 8342)
  • Violin Concerto No. 1: Vengerov, Rostropovich, London SO
    (Teldec 92256)
  • Violin Concerto No. 2: Vengerov, Rostropovich, London SO
    (Teldec 13150)
  • Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2: Previn, Bernstein (Sony 47618)
  • Blok Romances, Satires: Vishnevskaya, Rostropovich (Melodiya 53237)
  • Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk: Rostropovich, Vishnevskaya, London PO
    (EMI 49955)
  • String Quartets Nos. 1-15: Beethoven Quartet
    (Consonance 813005, 813006, 813007, 813008, 813009)
  • String Quartets Nos. 1-15, Piano Quintet: Borodin Quartet
    (Melodiya 40711)

Symphony No. 1: Bernstein (DG 27632)
Leonard Bernstein, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
(released 11/14/89, 2 disc set with Symphony No. 7)
Gramophone Jan/90 p1338: Highly recommended (Oliver)
Fanfare Mar/90 p295-299: "I hate to use the adjective, but I can find no other to describe [this performance] than 'perfect'"--"all other versions of the symphony might just as well be thrown away"--[the recorded sound is also] "perfect" (Royal S. Brown)
Classical Apr/90 p48: Recommended
Stereo Review Apr/90 p77: "A little larger than life"--"Rozhdestvensky is incomparably convincing in this work . . . Bernstein's intensity and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's beautiful playing may persuade you that you need a second version." (Best Recording of the Month) (Freed)
Stereophile Apr/90 p203: Bernstein draws from the CSO "two of their finest recorded performances since the Reiner era, performances of great subtlety and refinement, as well as the extreme emotional range embodied in works of Shostakovich." (Schnieder)
American Record Guide May/90 p108: "Dreary and overdone: not the sparkling student symphony, but the heavy, tragic piece Shostakovich might have made it a dozen years later" (Ginsburg in a distinctly minority viewpoint)
American Record Guide May/90 p108: "over the top" but a "moving experience" and "top recommendation" (Linkowski)
Musical America Jan/91 p37: Recommended
Stereophile Jan/91: Records to Die For (one of five recordings recommended by Richard Schneider)
American Record Guide Jan-Feb/94 pp154-155: "Certainly the Vienna Philharmonic is all wrong for this music... It's not a good recording interpretation." (Vroon)
American Record Guide Mar-Apr/95 p189: (reference): "I still admire Bernstein on DG" (in a positive review of Sanderling on Berlin) (Linkowski)
American Record Guide Nov-Dec/95 p217 (reference): "Bernstein's rhythms are sharper and the playing edgier than Susskind's."--"Bernstein's wild mood swings and undeniable verve are still preferable." (Godell)
American Record Guide Mar-Apr/96 p182: (reference): "Bernstein effortlessly conveys the anticipation, longing, and even the profound sorrow that's inherent in the music, and DG's recording has considerably more depth, presence, and warmth than EMI's [Jansons]." (Godell)

Symphony No. 1 - Symphony No. 4 - Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6 - Symphony No. 7 - Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 9 - Symphony No. 10 - Symphony No. 11
Symphony No. 13 - Symphony No. 14 - Symphony No. 15


Symphony No. 4: Kondrashin (BMG-Melodiya 19840, European release)
Kyrill Kondrashin, Moscow PO (1962 ADD)
This recording is currently available in Europe only (European retailers are listed on the Recording Guide main page). Other recordings with many positive reviews include Ormandy/Sony and Jarvi/Chandos, but Kondrashin truly "owned" this work.

Symphony No. 1 - Symphony No. 4 - Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6 - Symphony No. 7 - Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 9 - Symphony No. 10 - Symphony No. 11
Symphony No. 13 - Symphony No. 14 - Symphony No. 15


Symphony No. 5: Maxim Shostakovich (BMG-RCA Victor 32041)
Maxim Shostakovich, USSR Symphony Orchestra (released 3/26/96)
American Record Guide March/April 1991: [Comparing Maxim’s recording on Collins Classics with his 20 year old recording with the USSR Symphony] "That passionate, perceptive performance (which Melodiya or some connected label should reissue) made me recognize the record at hand [the Collins recording] as a slightly watered down, and greatly slowed down version." (Ginsberg – reference)

Symphony No. 1 - Symphony No. 4 - Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6 - Symphony No. 7 - Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 9 - Symphony No. 10 - Symphony No. 11
Symphony No. 13 - Symphony No. 14 - Symphony No. 15


Symphony No. 6: Mravinsky 1972 (BMG-Melodiya 25198)
Yevgeny Mravinsky, Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra (recorded 27 Jan 1972, released 4/16/96, paired with Symphony No. 10)

Symphony No. 1 - Symphony No. 4 - Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6 - Symphony No. 7 - Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 9 - Symphony No. 10 - Symphony No. 11
Symphony No. 13 - Symphony No. 14 - Symphony No. 15


Symphony No. 7: Bernstein (DG 27632)
Leonard Bernstein, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
(released 11/14/89, 2 disc set with Symphony No. 1)
Gramophone January 1990: [Recommended by David J. Fanning]
American Record Guide May/June 1990: "The performance offers 84 minutes of the finest music-making on disc. The immediacy of the Chicago Symphony’s playing ensures that Bernstein’s consistently slow tempos won’t cause anyone’s interest to wane." (Ginsburg – 4 paragraphs)
Melos Summer 1993: "Eccentric maybe, but a gripping and masterly realized recording, full of all the passionate commitment of [Bernstein’s] being." (Bjorn Westberg – reference in list of recommended recordings of Shostakovich symphonies)
American Record Guide July/August 1996: "Temirkanov cannot match the sheer ferocity of Leonard Bernstein’s monumental recording with the Chicago Symphony on DG." (Godell – reference in review of Temirkanov/RCA)

Symphony No. 1 - Symphony No. 4 - Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6 - Symphony No. 7 - Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 9 - Symphony No. 10 - Symphony No. 11
Symphony No. 13 - Symphony No. 14 - Symphony No. 15


Symphony No. 8: Mravinsky 1982 (Russian Disc 10917)
Yevgeny Mravinsky, Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra (live, 62 minutes, AAD, released 6/18/96, same performance as on now deleted Philips CD #422442)
Fanfare Nov/Dec 1996: "This is a magnificent performance in every way" [but notes that deleted Philips CD had "better sound"]. (Richard Burke – one paragraph)
***Reviews of the same performance on Philips CD 422442 (no longer available)***
American Record Guide May/June 1990: "The symphony is dedicated to Mravinsky, who led its world premiere. Since he was the USSR’s greatest conductor, and the Leningrad Philharmonic its finest orchestra, it is no surprise that the performance is magnificent. The recording, taped in concert in March 1982, is technically excellent. Considering the superb interpretation, orchestral playing and sonics – and its historical importance – we simply must recommend this recording." (Fox – three paragraphs)
Penguin Guide 1992: "Mravinsky’s CD is a memorial issue, a live recording in full, clear, digital sound made in 1982. It gives a superb idea of the magnetism of his reading . . . It is a great performance and, though ensemble is inevitably not always quite as polished as in the finest studio recordings, discrepancies are minimal."
Melos Summer 1993: "This version is more detached and grandiose [than Mravinsky’s 1947 recording of this work]. It is technically excellent, but at least on CD the pitch is half a semitone sharp." (Bjorn Westberg -- reference in list of recommended recordings of Shostakovich symphonies)

Symphony No. 1 - Symphony No. 4 - Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6 - Symphony No. 7 - Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 9 - Symphony No. 10 - Symphony No. 11
Symphony No. 13 - Symphony No. 14 - Symphony No. 15


Symphony No. 9: Jarvi (Chandos 8587)
Neeme Jarvi, Scottish National Orchestra (with Festive Overture and Katerina Ismailova Suite, DDD, released 5/10/88)
Penguin Guide 1992: ". . . a warmly expressive, strongly characterized reading in superb, wide-ranging sound."

Symphony No. 1 - Symphony No. 4 - Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6 - Symphony No. 7 - Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 9 - Symphony No. 10 - Symphony No. 11
Symphony No. 13 - Symphony No. 14 - Symphony No. 15


Symphony No. 10: Mravinsky 1976 (BMG-Melodiya 25198)
Yevgeny Mravinsky, Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra (live recording, released 4/16/96, paired with Symphony No. 6)

Symphony No. 1 - Symphony No. 4 - Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6 - Symphony No. 7 - Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 9 - Symphony No. 10 - Symphony No. 11
Symphony No. 13 - Symphony No. 14 - Symphony No. 15


Symphony No. 11: Stokowski (EMI/Angel 65206)
Leopold Stokowski, Houston Symphony Orchestra (released 3/15/94)

Symphony No. 1 - Symphony No. 4 - Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6 - Symphony No. 7 - Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 9 - Symphony No. 10 - Symphony No. 11
Symphony No. 13 - Symphony No. 14 - Symphony No. 15


Symphony No. 13: Kondrashin 1962 (Russian Disc 11191)
Vitaly Gromadsky, bass; USSR State Academic Choir; Yurlov Russian Choir; Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra; Kyrill Kondrashin, conductor (concert performance recorded December 20, 1962, Large Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, 57 minutes, AAD)
American Record Guide Sept/Oct 1993: "There have been more refined performances of this symphony on records, but none with such a sense of occasion. Kondrashin's interpretation is more urgent and dramatic than any other I know. . . . The recording is quite good . . . (Raymond -- three paragraphs)
American Record Guide Nov/Dec 1993: "Kyril Kondrashin 'owns' this work, as he does No. 4. . . . What we have here is the notorious first [should read "first recorded"?] performance in Moscow in December 1962 with the original unexpurgated texts by Yevtushenko . . . Enthusiastically recommended." (John Landis -- four paragraphs)
Gramophone March 1994: "On Russian Disc's rediscovered (stereo) tape, the finer points are forgotten as every syllable of text is projected with maximum force. . . . This is an indispensable piece of musical history." (David S. Gutman -- two paragraphs)
Fanfare Jan/Feb 1996: "Nobody has quite matched, either in richness of voice or in intensity of interpretation, bass Vitaly Gromadsky from the early Kondrashin recording . . ." (Royal S. Brown -- reference in review of Solti/London 444791)
Gramophone April 1996: "Kondrashin's 1962 Russian Disc version remains the one to have, faster in every movement, unforgettably intense, and inevitably -- crudely recorded." (David S. Gutman -- reference in review of M. Shostakovich 1994 recording on Supraphon)
American Record Guide May/June 1996: "First choice remains the compelling Russian Disc issue . . ." (Carl Bauman -- reference in review of M. Shostakovich 1994/Supraphon)

Symphony No. 1 - Symphony No. 4 - Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6 - Symphony No. 7 - Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 9 - Symphony No. 10 - Symphony No. 11
Symphony No. 13 - Symphony No. 14 - Symphony No. 15


Symphony No. 14: Rostropovich (Russia Revelation 10101)
M. Rostropovich, conductor; G. Vishnevskaya, soprano; M. Reshetin, bass (released 3/98; listed at www.musicblvd.com 5/98 and www.cdnow.com 5/98)

Symphony No. 1 - Symphony No. 4 - Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6 - Symphony No. 7 - Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 9 - Symphony No. 10 - Symphony No. 11
Symphony No. 13 - Symphony No. 14 - Symphony No. 15


Symphony No. 15: Haitink (London 417581)
Bernard Haitink, London Philharmonic Orchestra
Penguin Guide 1992:
(Rosette) "Haitink . . . makes the first movement sound genuinely symphonic, bitingly urgent . . . underlines the purity of bare lines of the second movement . . . his slow tempo for the main lyrical theme [of the finale] gives it heartaching tenderness . . ."
American Record Guide March/April 1996: [Of Sanderling/Berlin Classics, Haitink/London, and Mravinsky/BMG-Melodiya] "All three bring us visionary readings of an enigmatic masterpiece." (Linkowski -- reference in review of Sanderling/Berlin Classics)
Fanfare March/April 1996: "There are quite a few fine recordings of this symphony available -- most notably Haitink's or Ashkenazy's -- but there is none that is quite so original or so right [as Sanderling/Berlin Classics]." (Richard Burke -- reference in review of Sanderling/Berlin Classics)

Symphony No. 1 - Symphony No. 4 - Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6 - Symphony No. 7 - Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 9 - Symphony No. 10 - Symphony No. 11
Symphony No. 13 - Symphony No. 14 - Symphony No. 15


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