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

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica - Grammy Awards
Clocking in at over an hour for the Fourth, and almost an hour for the Eleventh or "1905", 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
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Symphonies - Released May 27, 2016 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Symphonic Music - Released May 5, 2017 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Classical - Released April 30, 2013 | BR-Klassik

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - La Clef RESMUSICA
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Symphonies - Released April 29, 2016 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Award
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Symphonic Music - Released November 2, 2015 | Orfeo

Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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Symphonic Music - Released February 22, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released May 3, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Symphonic Music - Released April 6, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet
Andris Nelsons continues his complete collection of Bruckner's symphonies with the Leipzig Gewandhaus, where he is now the musical director. At the head of this fabulous orchestra with its golden sounds, the Latvian conductor throws himself into the era of such legendary recordings of Bruckner as those by Jochum, Böhm, Haitink and Wand. Orchestral perfection, plasticity of sonic masses, coherence across all the music stands, and incredible reserves of power make this new recording a real event. Andris Nelsons gave a perfect summary of Bruckner's music when he said that it "elevates the soul". Under his baton, the music of the great Austrian becomes a real spiritual experience, going beyond Catholic mysticism to reach a metaphysical plane, an opening onto a new level that opens up infinite vistas. The tempo is ample, the music wreathed in mystery, the nuances subtle, the structure carefully thought-out. The whole musical canvas is alive and swells with a style of singing which is at once intense, luminous, supple and beautiful: it intoxicates the audience, but without ever being overbearing. Bruckner's worship of his god Wagner is well-known, but it takes on a whole new dimension with the addition of a dose of Wagner to round off each symphony. Here, Siegfried's Funeral March taken from the Götterdämmerung makes a lot of sense when we realise that Bruckner had written the marvellous Adagio of his 7th as an homage to Wagner, who died while the symphony was being composed. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released February 16, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Symphonic Poems - Released November 2, 2015 | Orfeo

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Symphonies - Released January 1, 2016 | Orfeo

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Symphonic Music - Released November 2, 2015 | Orfeo

A certain amount of acoustic reverberation is welcome in orchestral recordings, if it has been controlled for a particular effect, but it is omnipresent in Andris Nelsons' 2009 recordings of Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird and the Symphony of Psalms. From the very beginning of the complete music for The Firebird, resonance dominates and creates an aural haze that is so thick that details only emerge as if from a dense fog, and the timbres of certain instruments are blurred into an echoic cloud that seems almost artificially engineered. Other recordings made in Birmingham Symphony Hall by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra certainly have a vibrant acoustic quality, but it is so strong here, it must be a product of microphone placement, mixing, or both. Be that as it may, The Firebird survives this soft-focus reproduction much better than Symphony of Psalms, because its impressionistic colors and intensely lush, chromatic harmonies are already somewhat dream-like and mysterious, whereas the dry sonorities and punchy rhythms of the symphony need a much crisper presentation than they get here. The blurred textures and harmonies that are tolerable in The Firebird become a distraction in the Symphony of Psalms, and the work's dissonant counterpoint and lean, staccato chords bleed into each other in an unsatisfactory way, despite the impressive wall of sound that's created in fortissimo sections and the glorious sound that Nelsons and the orchestra produce on cadences.
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Symphonies - Released July 6, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Symphonic Music - Released November 2, 2015 | Orfeo

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Symphonies - Released November 2, 2015 | Orfeo

With more than 150 recordings of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony available, it could be argued that there should be a moratorium on recording this piece. After Mengelberg, Mravinsky, Stokowski, Svetlanov, Ormandy, Karajan, Bernstein, Solti, Dorati, and dozens of other masters have recorded the work, some of them multiple times, is there anything new left to do with Tchaikovsky's Fifth? Conductor Andris Nelsons demonstrates in this 2009 recording of the work with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra that there are indeed new approaches, but they are not good. Though Nelsons is a talented conductor and the orchestra is more than capable, they only seem interested in inflating the Fifth's size by raising its emotional temperature. Nelsons does this in part by exaggerating the dynamics and dynamic contrasts. Forte is fortissimo, piano is pianissimo, and the distance between the two is huge. He is also continually speeding up and slowing down tempos, making the relationships between tempos hazy at best and haphazard at worst. The opening and closing movements rarely hold to any single tempo for long, and second themes tend not to return at anything like the same tempo as their first appearance. Nelsons' reading sounds at any moment like it could go off the tracks, and the fact that it doesn't is testimony to Nelsons' control and the Birmingham musicians' skill, but it makes the performance scary to sit through. The performers also take on Tchaikovsky's Hamlet Overture and the result is similarly unsuccessful. Orfeo's digital sound is clear, direct, and well-balanced.
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Symphonies - Released November 2, 2015 | Orfeo

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Classical - Released February 16, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Symphonies - Released November 2, 2015 | Orfeo

Dmitry Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7 in C major, "Leningrad," has been extremely popular since it was premiered in 1942, and its use as wartime propaganda gave it legendary status among symphonies composed during World War II. Yet despite its supposed simplicity, and widespread publicity of the symphony as a symbol of resistance, it remains an enigmatic work that takes on new meanings and interpretations over the years. While he contemplated titles for the four movements, Shostakovich never supplied it with a program, so the symphony can be taken as absolute music that functions purely by its own formal design and expressive needs. Or it can be read as one of Shostakovich's profoundly personal testaments, where nothing is truly as it seems on the surface. Andris Nelsons may well have interpreted it in this light, for his handling of the piece's moods tends to emphasize veiled sonorities and dark turns of expression, aspects that would be played down in a more overtly heroic reading. Nelsons and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra even play it with the elegiac tone and sardonic edge usually reserved for the Tenth or Fifteenth symphonies, giving the music a grieving and sometimes bitter tone that seemingly puts the lie to the victorious outcome of the Finale. This 2011 recording shows nothing of the manipulated wartime image of Shostakovich, but leans more toward an understanding of the composer that has emerged since his death in 1975: one of a troubled artist who suffered for his art, even when hailed as a hero in the service of the Soviet government. This performance is highly recommended for its insights, if not necessarily for the quality of the live recording.
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Symphonies - Released November 2, 2015 | Orfeo