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Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8
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Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8

1 janvier 2006 | Format : MP3

EUR 8,99 (TVA incluse le cas échéant)
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Amazon.com: 4 commentaires
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Berglund's broad, painful approach sets his version apart 25 août 2009
Par Santa Fe Listener - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
Because it coincided with the siege of Leningrad in 1941, the Shostakovich Seventh became his war symphony, and it elevated him to the cover of Time magazine in a civil defense helmet. As propaganda the Seventh scored a major success, but its musical ideas predate Leningrad and seem rather unrelated to that battle, whereas the Eighth, written at lightning speed over two months in 1943 during the assault on Stalingrad, deserves to be called music in the time of war -- a testament of sorrow and grief, or as the composer said, a requiem. The great Evgeny Mravinsky recorded it twice -- the live account from London on BBC Legends is shattering -- but there have been many other successful accounts. This one from 2005 somehow escaped my notice and to be frank, I've found Berglund underpowered in his approach to Shostakovich. Here with the Eighth he is so sorrowful and quiet in the first ten minutes that his reading sets itself apart from the crowd. Clearly Berglund is aiming at a slow build from restrained grief to wailing pain. He definitely gets there, and his Russian players forge ahead over stony ground with great intensity. One can find other acounts that have more tension, virtuosity, and dramatic contrast, but this one is devastating in its anguished sincerity.

The two paired scherzos are the easiest movements to bring off, their shrieking bitterness expressing rage in the starkest terms. In the first Berglund's rhythms are fairly flat-footed, and the overall orchestral work can't compare with the best versions (two from Mravinsky, two from Previn). The second scherzo contrasts the mechanical round-and-round of the string part with eerily shrill interjections from the winds and brass. PentaTone's sonics are full and realistic but perhaps a bit too ambient. For many listeners the last two movements lack the impact of the earlier music, since Shostakovich supplies a gray, sorrowful backdrop that remains muted while many kinds of brief episodes, often recapping previous themes, crop up regularly. But this may well be the heart of the whole symphony, the Passacaglia serving as a kind of spiritual acceptance while never forgetting the violence that preceded it; the same feeling tapers into the finale, with its curdled circus music in the middle before the work's hushed, exhausted close. It's as if we've walked the path of a modern Passion, substituting millions of war victims for Christ.

As you can tell, I find this symphony immensely moving, and I believe Berglund does, too. He is supremely elegiac in the last two movements. Therefore, I am giving this CD an urgent recommendation without forgetting the other superb ones mentioned before.
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
One of Shostakovich's Masterpieces in Brilliant Sound 26 juin 2006
Par J Scott Morrison - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
The Eighth Symphony doesn't get as many performances as its towering worth might suggest. Partly, I suppose, that is because it is one of Shostakovich's knottiest works. Written in 1943 and described by the composer for the benefit of his Stalinist masters as 'my thoughts and feelings following the joyous reports on the first victories of the Red Army,' it is in fact a doleful and sarcastic hour-and-a-quarter cry of pain. Paavo Berlund, a noted Shostakovian, emphasizes the dolorous aspects of the symphony, taking, for instance, the first movement slowly and trudgingly; it lasts almost half an hour in itself and one is wrung out by its intensity. The second movement, Allegretto, has a kind of whistling in the graveyard tone, with Shostakovich's patented shrieking piccolos keeping up a brave front. In the third movement, Allegro non troppo, this mood is maintained in a kind of moto perpetuo, again with those shrieking woodwinds crying out almost as if to say 'Stop! Stop!' which of course doesn't happen. One hears percussion interjections that could be interpreted as a firing squad. (Is my imagination running away with me here? I don't think so.) The fourth movement, Largo, slower but mercifully shorter than the first, is a powerful passacaglia -- surely Shostakovich put some of his most tragic and painful music in the form of the passacaglia, cf. the First Violin Concerto -- which leads directly into the finale whose tone is mainly one of resignation and a kind of hard-won and occasionally uneasy serenity that quietly dies away at the movement's (and symphony's) end. Is this Shostakovich caving in to the demands of the apparatchiks, or does it represent a true recognition and reluctant acceptance of the horror of the war-time situation? Surely the latter. In later times, Shostakovich referred to his Seventh and Eighth Symphonies as 'my requiem.'

It is not surprising that only a few years after its premiere the symphony was banned by the Stalinist government. It seems they finally caught on that the music in its own way was criticizing the regime.

This is the second SACD recording of the Eighth. The first, part of a complete traversal by Dmitri Kitajenko and the Gürzenich Orchestra of Cologne, I have not heard. But this effort by Berglund and the excellent Russian National Orchestra, recorded in Moscow in June 2005, would be hard to beat as regards both recorded sound and the performance itself. It is true that other non-SACD recordings have won plaudits -- those by Previn and Ashkenazy come to mind -- but this performance is the most wrenching I've heard. As the excellent booklet note writer Franz Steiger remarks, 'The Symphony No. 8 often exceeds the pain level of the listener.' Be warned, then, that this is not easy music but it is necessary music.

Scott Morrison
3 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Must it be equalized and with a slip away (diminishing) lowest octave...? 8 juillet 2012
Par Judy Spotheim - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD Achat vérifié
What promises to be one of the greatest reading of Shostakovitch symphony 8 with a Russian National Orchestra and Berglund who made his name already thirty years ago (EMI recording of Shostakovich 11th with the Bournemouth Orchestra) as one of the most prominent Shostakovitch conductors, is presented here on Pentatone SACD with great sonic aberrations.

It all starts quite intensive with well judged, well carried tempo and an orchestra that is well rehearsed and well together, but as one gets farther into the listening, it becomes more and more obvious that the sound presentation is quite equalized; the upper midrange and the highs are added an extra push-shine-cut-through which is not natural. Moreover; the lowest bass attacks are subdued all over - it is like Pentatonbe decided it must "protect" your playback system from frequency extreme or that it is justified to add a bit of shimmer in case your speakers are incompetent when comes to detailed upper-midrange and treble.

It all boils down to Pentatone robbing the end result from the grandeur and impact that must have been there at the recording scene. This is an old fashion philosophy that prevailed with DGG recordings in the sixties and seventies were DGG concept was that the end product should sound acceptable on those mediocre playback systems - and sadly, that philosophy, is been erroneously digged-up and adopted of new by Pentatone.

To wit; the fourth movement (largo) which in many ways is the 'heart' of this symphony (magnificently orchestrated) is deprived of true impact if only for the reason that the explosive bass drum attacks are attenuated, while the whole sound perspective is compressed where it should have been left to bloom and swell according to the orchestra's impact and crescendo...but no.
Pentatone engineers got cold feet there and decided that such a bombastic explosive attack (as Shostakovitch placed in the score) would be beyond the dynamic capabilities of their (obsolete?) recording gear.
One can not ignore the feeling that the bass drum attack that should have describe a bombardment and horror is brought to sound mushy, restricted, and weak - the impact one is presented with at this passage could have been produced by the cattle-drum bitten harder, but no more than that...
What the listener is getting at that crucial moment is a cattle-drum-like (not even a bass-drum sound) that was recorded as if it emanates from within a narrow cave at the far right of the sound-stage.

This is a Pentatone sorts of travesty of a modern SACD technology, a technology capable of supporting dynamics in access of 120 dB; a technology which can encompass both micro-dynamics, wide frequency range and clarity surpassing what could have been achieved in the recording revenue up till now.
Looks like Petatone does not get it, looks like it is beyond their grasp or willingness to jump on the band-wagon.

Luckily, there are other SACD recordings of this symphony - and for more impact, tense reading, delivery of horror which is in the partitura, for more polished playing (especially from the brass section) - one is advised to turn to the BIS SACD recording - and not just for its sonic merits.
5 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Marvelous sound, but somewhat detached performance 12 octobre 2006
Par Giacomo C. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
This reading of the 8th is certainly nothing to scoff at, and Pentatone's SACD recording is very nicely done indeed. Good clarity and vivid sound, the rear surround speakers adding a much welcome presence and sense of space.

The performance itself, while having a good sense of line is surprisingly detached and cool in its expression. This dark work veritably seethes with passions both brash and overt and more quietly menacing, with a range of dynamic emotion from resigned hush to climaxes that push the boundary of what can be tolerated... at least that is what the symphony can contain.. but little of this is really felt here.. The slower pacing does little to help this lack of incisiveness and emotional virulence.. it is all rather too 'clean'.

To sum... solid playing and direction, but lacking in passion and impact.
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