>I'm starting to get into Shostakovich, and I wondered if anyone had any
>insights on the relative merits of the various recorded symphony cycles:
>Haitink, Kondrashin, Rostropovich, and anyone else you know of.
As self proclaimed DDS expert (I'm only fooling myself), I'll have a go at
this, All three cycles have merits, all three have flaws. What You want is
the one with the least flaws.
The premier merit of the Haitink box is the fact that its relativly cheap
(localy I'd have to pay about $30). BH shapes the music in to a litteral
interpretation of what the music on the page say, he seem to have little
or no understanding about the context (of the composer) the underlie every
note of the music. This cycle is grayish, not in a Soviet polyester way,
but rather dirty water, its price comparison, Slovak on Naxos, then the
latter wins on cheer interprative understanding.
If we now start to listen to the Kondrashin cycle, we see that its not
with out problems, but in the most important symphonies (4 - 8 & 10 - 14)
his interpertative skills are stunning, his musical insights are (in this
reportoire) the most important. Kondrashin lived the same kind of life as
the composer, just listen to his rendition af the 13'th (especially the
Russian Disc release), if it does not lift You to musical all time high
nothing will, the sound quality is a down point.
My main problem with Rostropovich is his choises of very slow tempi,
it on one hand give the music a majestic stature, on the other side the
slow tempi choises make the music loose out on the most important thing
in DSCH's music, namely a forceful pace that projects the music forward.
MR five is one of the worst ever. My favourites from MR's box is 2, 3,
11 and 14 (the last one being a live "historical" recording from 1973)
If You really want to get a box the Kondrashin is the one I'd recomend
despite its shortcommings. As a lover of DDS music, I keep a list of who's
recodings of the symphonies I like the nest at the moment (ever changing),
today it looks like this:
1: Ancerl on Supraphon
2: Kondrashin on BMG/Melodiya
3: Rostropovich on Teldec
4: Kondrashin on BMG/Melodiya
5: Temirkanov on RCA
6: Askenasy on Decca
7: Ancerl on Supraphon
8: Mravinsky on BBC Legends
9: Rozhdestvensky on Melodiya Twoofer
10: Mravinsky on Praga
11: Askenasy on Decca
12: Mravinsky on BMG/Melodiya
13: Kondrashin on Russian Disc
14: Barshai on Russian Disc
15: Jansons on EMI
The would make out a good box, better then most pre packed.. Note that
some have a very "historical" sound quality, and some might be O. P.
peter lundin, gothenburg.se - Counting the days: DSCH 100 (1906-2006)