Shostakovich: Stravinsky: Shostakovich Symphony No 8

By Quantrill, Peter | Gramophone, March 2015 | Go to article overview

Shostakovich: Stravinsky: Shostakovich Symphony No 8


Quantrill, Peter, Gramophone


Shostakovich * Stravinsky

Shostakovich Symphony No 8, Op 65

Stravinsky Concerto for Piano and Winds (a)

(a) Olli Mustonen pf

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Paavo Berglund

Testament (F) (2) SBT21500 (85' * ADD)

Recorded live at the Philharmonie, Berlin, May 18,2001

Writing for the Warner Icon box of Berglund's EMI recordings, David Nice remembers the 'awful numbness' of the Eighth Symphony's Passacaglia that was his own first encounter with the Finnish conductor in concert, with the Scottish National Orchestra, whose audience apparently left in droves. There's thankfully no sign of such a reaction from the patrons at the Berlin Philharmonie, whose respectful applause is retained after a performance on the same expansively implacable lines as Berglund's Pentatone recording with the Russian National Orchestra, albeit shaped more flexibly (with some surprising, faltering slips) and with more pathos in that Passacaglia. The two scherzos are still comparably dour, even sullen, by the side of locally accented accounts by the likes of Kondrashin or Rozhdestvensky: like Haitink, Berglund sees the war machine, never the circus, in the composer's bipolar symphonic world. …

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