royal concertgebouw orchestra

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam (Jansons) – ‘Shostakovich: Symphony No.7 in C, Op. 60 “Leningrad”’  An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam (Jansons) – ‘Shostakovich: Symphony No.7 in C, Op. 60 “Leningrad”’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

This has proven to be a watershed year for Shostakovich, the centenary of his birth serving as gateway into the pantheon of great composers (at least for most listeners, pace Pierre Boulez). The flood of releases honoring Shostakovich this year is not a great surprise, but what is a great surprise is the number of truly great recordings we’ve seen. This new release from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s in-house label, RCO Live, lands in very distinguished territory, and if it doesn’t ultimately end up in the final handful of greatest recordings from the centenary year, it is perhaps only because of the piece itself, which isn’t in the highest echelon of this composer’s output. Shostakovich’s Seventh initially received an enormous amount of publicity, both due to the composer’s fame (via a magazine article in the U.S. which featured pictures of Shostakovich in his firefighter’s helmet, as he helped preserve Leningrad during the Nazi siege), and to the remarkable premiere, held in the besieged city and broadcast over the walls to the lurking Germans. The score was then smuggled through enemy lines and out of Russia on microfilm, leading to some very high-profile performances in the west by the likes of Toscanini, Stokowski, and Rodzinski. read more…

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