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Chamber Music - Released April 13, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Although Shostakovich's Third Quartet and his Piano Quintet have long been a part of the Belcea Quartet’s and Piotr Anderszewski’s repertoires, they had never recorded any of the composer's material. There is an interesting analogy between this point in the careers of the quartet and the pianist on the one hand and the composer's own life on the other: it was at the age of 32 that, although he was already onto his fifth symphony, Shostakovich wrote his first string quartet. For a long time his demanding attitude towards himself held him back from attempting what he saw as "one of the most difficult of all the musical genres". The impetus came – against the composer's will – from the dastardly Stalin, who had sparked the greatest crisis in Shostakovich's career: in 1936 the dictator had attended a performance of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, which later got an ominous review in Pravda, which growled about "chaos replacing music" and denounced "hysterical, degenerate music". The young composer ran the risk of arrest and execution: and so it should come as no surprise that after that experience he turned to the more private genre of the string quartet. Every listener can make their own between-the-lines reading of political protests or humanist messages in the work: at any rate it is very hard to see "just" pure music here, for all its fluency. That applies just as much to the Third Quartet of 1946, in which passages recalling Haydn rub shoulders with rather more violent material. The Quintet for Piano and Strings dates back to 1940, and it received the Stalin Prize – which was symptomatic of the unpredictable relations between Shostakovich and the regime, which saw him at once as traitor to the people and a model artist. The composer claimed that he added the piano part to his quintet so as to be able to play it himself, and to take advantage of whatever travel opportunities might come his way as a result...© SM/Qobuz

Symphonies - Released July 6, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Clocking in at over an hour for the Fourth, and almost an hour for the Eleventh or "1911", these are the two longest and fullest of Shostakovich's symphonies. What's remarkable is that the Fourth, finished in 1936, was only performed in 1961 – eleven years after the performance of the Eleventh in 1957! It was in 1936 that the poor composer felt a bullet whistle by him, following an infamous article in Pravda, dictated by Stalin: "Chaos in Place of Music", which torpedoed the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk: the work was carefully locked away, only to be brought back out once the dictator was dead, buried and comprehensively decomposed. You can see where the composer was coming from! The tone of this Fourth hasn't the slightest hint of optimism, We hear dark Mahlerian accents, desperate flights and tortured harmonies: not exactly the music of a bright tomorrow. The Eleventh, structured according to a "political" programme, celebrating the revolutionaries of 1905 and the tragic events of Bloody Sunday – when the Russian army fired on a crowd, killing 96 according to official sources and several thousand according to others – with a much more optimistic tone, although we know what optimism means in the world of Shostakovich. The two symphonies were recorded at public concerts, in autumn 2017 and spring 2018 respectively by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and their conductor Andris Nelsons. © SM/Qobuz

Symphonies - Released May 27, 2016 | Deutsche Grammophon Classics

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Classical - Released September 28, 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

The Borodin Quartet has been graced by range of  Soviet and then Russian soloists since its creation in 1945 – when it was started by Rudolf Barshai and Rostropovich. The cellist who promptly replaced Rostropovich when the latter's career took off remained in post from 1946 to 2007, which is surely a record. During this time, while some left for "the West", and others had health problems, of which none died, Borodin's spirit continued to reign over the ensemble. Today, the quartet is still plugging away with its impressive international career, here is their most recent recording, produced between 2015 and 2018, it is made up of fifteen quartet compositions by Shostakovich. The Borodin Quartet has always had an excellent rapport with Shostakovich, to the point of playing all his work as it was composed. From his first string quartet piece in 1938 to the end of his life in 1974, it was in string quartet format that Shostakovich really laid his soul bare. Even the most perfidious of Communist officials were unable to find any kind of political allusion in this music... The Borodin Quartet supplement their programme with various other pieces, such as the superb Quintet with Piano and music from the film Girl Friends, made up of 23 pieces of which seven were written for string quartet (performed here), some with piano and trumpet and some with other extraordinary sonary innovations. It is an album of great beauty, and a must-buy for any Shostakovichophiles. © SM/Qobuz

Quartets - Released July 20, 2018 | Berlin Classics

Since its foundation in Munich, the Goldmund Quartet has quickly asserted itself as one of the most magnificent young European ensembles. They have already played at the Festival d’Aix, the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, and toured France, Scandinavia, the USA and Canada, Austria – visiting Vienna's prestigious Musikverein – and Switzerland.. This first album, dedicated to the father of the quartet, Haydn, was unanimously hailed by critics: this new album dedicated to Shostakovich, comprising the phenomenal Third Quartet from 1946 (which was censured by the communist regime for "pessimism and formalism"), and the rarer Ninth from 1964 – a much more mature work – which, rarely for this composer, was subject to many revisions. So we welcome this new performance, in which the quartet truly give them impression of playing a single, sixteen-stringed instrument rather than four separate ones. © SM/Qobuz

Classical - Released June 1, 1992 | ECM New Series


Solo Piano - Released April 7, 2017 | Signum Records

Hi-Res Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
There are various ways to approach Shostakovich's set of 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87, written in 1950 and 1951 during the period after Shostakovich's second denunciation by the Soviet Communist Party's cultural apparatchiks. Russian pianists especially tend to add a lot of tension, implicitly grouping the pieces with the "desk drawer music" that the composer kept mostly hidden (in fact, the Preludes and Fugues were performed a few times, and were indeed criticized for being too "formalist"). Others have taken these deeply Bach-inspired pieces as straight neoclassicism, keeping the tempi and dynamics within strict boundaries. The veteran English pianist Peter Donohoe takes a different tack, meditative and a bit reverent. It's as though he understands the music as Shostakovich's testament to the value of the great Western tradition even as it was under attack and distortion in his home country. Time and time again you hear, in this reading, passages that sound like pure Shostakovich bumping up against the numerous Bach homages, and being made to sound right at home there. Sample the "Prelude and Fugue in F minor," neither deeply melancholy nor neutral, and quite moving in Donohoe's hands. The massive D minor prelude and fugue at the end has plenty of power, but is kept within the sober confines of Donohoe's overall interpretation. The intimate atmosphere created by Signum's engineers is another draw, and overall this is a worthwhile entry in the crowded field of recordings of these works.

Classical - Released October 2, 2015 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason

Classical - Released January 1, 1999 | Decca


Classical - Released October 19, 2009 | Warner Classics

Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
The Soviet censors' condemnation of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk just a few years after its wildly popular premiere effectively crushed Shostakovich's operatic career, a genuine musical tragedy, because Lady Macbeth and its predecessor, The Nose, reveal Shostakovich to have all the instincts of a born opera composer. Shostakovich made a revised version, Katerina Ismailova, in 1962, that toned down the opera's sexual and political content, but this 1979 recording by two of the composer's fiercest allies, conductor Mstislav Rostropovich and his wife, soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, is the first of original version, and it's a knock-out. Rostropovich fully embraces the score's ironically manic juxtapositions of the opera's first three acts, as well as the heartfelt anguish of its fourth act. The London Philharmonic Orchestra and Ambrosian Opera Chorus wholeheartedly throw themselves behind Rostropovich's inspired leadership and perform with ferocious passion, and occasionally, with an almost shocking wildness. If the performances seen by Stalin and his minions came close to the intensity of this one, it's easy to see why, with their buttoned-up sensibilities, they would have taken offense. The singers, from the leads down to those with the briefest solos, are fully invested in their roles and deliver performances that are beautifully sung and memorably characterized. Vishnevskaya was hardly in the bloom of youth when the recording was made, but you'd never know it from the freshness, flexibility, and radiant clarity of her voice. She invests the complex title role with impetuous vitality and makes Katerina entirely believable. Nicolai Gedda is at his caddish best as her lover Sergey, singing with abandon but without ever losing his pure and focused tone. Most of the singers in the secondary roles, Dimiter Petkov as Boris Ismailov, Werner Krenn as Zinoviy Ismailov, Robert Tear as the Shabby Peasant, Birgit Finnilä as Sonyetka, Aage Haugland as the Sergeant, Leonard Mróz as the Priest, and Alexander Malta as the Old Convict, were stars in their own right, and all of them deliver star performances, both vocally and in the aptness of their characterizations. EMI's sound is clear and vivid, and the sound effects are especially sophisticated and effective. This outstanding recording should be of strong interest to any fan of new opera, or any opera fan.

Chamber Music - Released October 7, 2016 | Chandos

Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica

Concertos - Released January 10, 2012 | Mirare

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Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Alpha


Chamber Music - Released December 22, 2017 | Claves Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason

Classical - Released January 12, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
The Järvi family is a pillar of Estonian musical life. Paavo is now director of the Pärnu Festival, held in August each year, which brings together the finest Estonian musicians, joined by the cream of European orchestras: members of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Orchestre de Paris etc. Paavo Järvi (recently appointed music director of one of the world’s leading formations, the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich) frequents all these instrumentalists regularly, and now works alongside them, ‘unpretentiously, in a warm, collegial manner’ for a series of highly convivial concerts on the shores of the Baltic: ‘magical and incredibly appealing’, says Die Welt. Paavo Järvi has now decided to record with this outstanding orchestra. For this first release, he has chosen Shostakovich, a key figure of the twentieth century, for both the region and the Järvi family: Paavo used to meet him as a child when the composer came to visit his father Neeme! The programme consists of Symphony no.6 and the Sinfonietta op.110b, a rare arrangement of the String Quartet no.8 by Abram Stasevich for string orchestra and timpani. This first release in 2018 will also coincide with the centenary of the independence of the Estonian Republic and a tour that will take the orchestra to several major European cities.© Alpha Classics

Classical - Released February 6, 2012 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica - Special Soundchecks - Hi-Res Audio

Classical - Released January 1, 2008 | Melodiya

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography

Classical - Released September 23, 2016 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik

Classical - Released November 6, 2015 | Evidence

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Cinema Music - Released November 10, 2017 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason


Dimitri Chostakovitch in the magazine