© 2014 London Philharmonic Orchestra Ltd
℗ 2007 & 2014 London Philharmonic Orchestra Ltd
Symphony No. 6 recorded live at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, London, on 17 May 2013. Symphony No. 14 recorded live at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, on 18 February 2006.
Producer and editor: Andrew Walton (K&A Productions)
Sound engineers: Deborah Spanton (Symphony No. 6); Mike Clements (Symphony No. 14)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes Ltd.
Total playing time 77:58
Released October 2014
CD: Shostakovich – Symphonies 6 & 14
LPO conducted by Vladimir Jurowski
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–75)
Symphony No. 6
Symphony No. 14
Vladimir Jurowski conductor
Tatiana Monogarova soprano
Sergei Leiferkus baritone
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Shostakovich’s Sixth Symphony has often been overlooked between the famous heroic testimony of the Fifth and the overwhelming wartime statements of the Seventh and the Eighth. However it is a profoundly personal work, juxtaposing deeply felt sorrow in the slow first movement with hollow cheer in the latter two – an ironic response to official demands for lightness, cheerfulness and optimism. The Fourteenth is even less traditional in conception, a haunting and affecting song-cycle for two voices and chamber orchestra on poems by several authors unified by the theme of death.
BBC Music Magazine Recording of the Month, November 2014
CD booklet includes full song texts and English translations for Symphony No. 14.
'An exhilarating conclusion to a reading that manages to pack a punch without grandstanding or posturing too much and the recorded sound does nothing to detract from the overall effect.' (Symphony No. 6)
'What a scintillating account it is with Jurowski and the LPO using the live concert adrenalin to bring thrilling edge and excitement to the sound ... No wonder the LPO has just extended Jurowski’s contract with them.'
Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 CD Review, 4 October 2014
‘This is by far the most stunning Shostakovich disc I have heard this year’. (5 stars)
CD of the Month, BBC Music Magazine, November 2014
‘The concentration that Vladimir Jurowski brings to Shostakovich means that the intensity never drops for a moment, either in the Symphony No. 6’s ride to manic elation, or the unwavering gaze into the abyss that is the Symphony No. 14.’ (4 stars)
Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 24 October 2014
‘The conductor grew up steeped in the music of the Shostakovich, his grandfather being a personal friend of the composer. It is a connection that radiates from these exceptional performances.’
Gavin Engelbrecht, Northern Echo, 25 September 2014
‘Tatiana Monogarova is splendid, applying 21st-century poise and discipline to the timbre and attitude of the old-style Russian dramatic soprano. Not since Galina Vishnevskaya have I heard quite such committed singing in this extraordinary music … Strongly recommended.’
David Gutman, Gramophone, November 2014
‘Jurowski keeps things flowing [in the Sixth], and is aided by some fine woodwind playing, most notably the haunting cor anglais solo. Jurowski also draws bold brass playing.’
Mark Pullinger, International Record Review, December 2014
‘Tremendous playing here making this one of the best recordings of the work [Symphony No. 6] in many years … All in all this is a magnificent pair of performances.’
Paul E. Robinson, Musical Toronto, 1 December 2014
Nominated for the 2015 International Classical Music Awards in the Symphonic Music category.
Vladimir Jurowski talks to Rebecca Franks about why Shostakovich's Symphony No. 14 is one of his best pieces.
What do these two symphonies tell us about Shostakovich and his views?
The Sixth was written very much as a sequel to the (then) banned Fourth. But unlike the Fourth, which starts with verve and ends in desolation, the Sixth starts with a kind of meditation on death and ends with a shamelessly absurd galop. The highest and lowest aspects of life strangely co-exist. The Fourteenth comes from later, when Shostakovich didn't have to fear repression. But even here he stays truthful to his politically subserviant nature. He also proclaims his love for freedom and hate for tyrants.
How did performing the Sixth Symphony as part of The Rest Is Noise festival of 20th-century music shape your view of the piece?
My view of it was shaped many years ago and it hasn't changed since. But I welcomed the chance to programme the Sixth next to other pre-war pieces written around the same era – we did it in the same concert as Stravinsky's Jeu de Cartes and Prokofiev's Second Violin Concerto.
The Fourteenth Symphony was the first Shostakovich you did with the LPO. Why did you choose it?
For me the Fourteenth Symphony is one of the most important pieces by Shostakovich. It's also the one where in a way he comes back to where he started from, writing for smaller or unusual ensembles like he did in the late 1920s and early 1930s. I love the freedom with which he operates the tonal structure in this symphony – it's nearly 12-tone in places but absolutely tonal at the same time. And of course there's the sheer beauty of the vocal lines and of the orchestral colours. It's a unique work. I would nearly call it a humanist Requiem.
This interview appeared in the November 2014 issue of BBC Music Magazine, which featured this CD as CD of the Month.
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