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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 February 22, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
You don't have to speculate as to whether Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons' interpretations of Shostakovich have been shaped by his having grown up in the Soviet Union; he has said himself that they are. And you can get a start on understanding how with this excellent release, part of a complete Shostakovich cycle by Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. If you're not going for the whole cycle immediately, you might well pick this album to start. It contains one offbeat symphony and one of the big epoch-makers, together with some lesser-known orchestral works, and each piece comes alive. The title "Under Stalin's Shadow" applies to Nelsons' entire series, and it's more applicable to some works than to others. It might work for the Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 54, a light, quirky, rather sardonic work from 1939. It was written after Shostakovich had been condemned by Joseph Stalin in 1936 and had rehabilitated himself with the Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47. The Symphony No. 6, the composer said, was intended to convey moods of "spring, joy, youth," but it is anything but neoclassic with its odd shape and its mood of jibe, beautifully brought out by Nelsons and the BSO. In the Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 60 ("Leningrad"), Shostakovich was not under Stalin's shadow but, for once, on his side: the symphony is the 20th century's great response to war, with its ominous first-movement march of advancing Germans. Sample this to hear how the great sweep of Shostakovich's more epic works ought to be done. The slow movement of this work is profound, and existential in this performance. There are plenty of chances for the BSO to show off their high level of playing under Nelsons in the Festive Overture, Op. 96, a fine barn burner of a work. If you hadn't seen the title or heard the work before, you'd be hard pressed to identify the subject matter of the often jaunty King Lear suite, Op. 58a, but it somehow adds balance to the program. The recordings, from Boston's Symphony Hall, are designated as live, but no live audience is present; the use of the hall's distinctive acoustic is beautifully in sync with the program. A major Shostakovich release. © TiVo
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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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Symphonies - Released July 31, 2015 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Award
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Classical - Released December 6, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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The musical humorist Peter Schickele used to conceive of the relationship between conductor and orchestra as a sports contest, delivering a play-by-play account of the first movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, in the style of a radio announcer. Conductors leading the venerable Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra must feel that way at times: the orchestra does certain things, like honing a gorgeous string sheen, very well indeed, but it can be hard to push the group beyond certain lines. This recording of the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, provides examples, as do other recordings in the complete Nelsons/Vienna cycle from which this release is a single-album excerpt. The first movement is taken slowly and, at times, lacks forward motion, but the colors in the open-fifth material at the beginning are impressive and subtle. Nelsons' dynamic range is low for the most part, extremely so in the first appearance of the famed "Ode to Joy" melody in the cellos and double basses, but it rises to normal and then above, first intermittently and then in quite an exciting choral-vocal finale, with strong soloists who are aware of what Nelsons is doing and give him plenty of space. Where string sheen and strong percussion are called for, in the third and second movements, respectively, the orchestra, of course, sounds great, and Nelsons brings the feeling of an unfolding sequence of events in many passages. The performance certainly has moments where it flags, but it also rewards repeated hearings, and it may be that individual listeners' reactions will vary widely. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 3, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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

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Recordings of Anton Bruckner's symphonies have increasingly acquired an air of mystery and difficulty due to their extraordinary length, harmonic complexity, and the vagaries surrounding the multiple versions and various published editions, which conductors champion for different reasons. Yet Andris Nelsons seems to have taken the path of least resistance with his live recording of the Symphony No. 4 in E flat major, "Romantic," which he presents with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig in a proudly conventional reading. Not only is the 1878/1880 version one of the most widely accepted and most frequently performed and recorded, Nelsons also serves up a rather traditional interpretation that harks back to mid-20th century standards. To be sure, Nelsons is committed, consistent, and coherent, and his choices of tempos and dynamics are convincing, though he shows no interest in observing period practices or re-creating the techniques and sonorities of Bruckner's day. Instead, Nelsons delivers a "Romantic" that more closely resembles models set by Klemperer, Jochum, Wand, Tennstedt, and other traditional Brucknerians. The inclusion of Richard Wagner's Prelude to Act I from Lohengrin provides a reminder of Bruckner's unwanted role in the "War of the Romantics," though Nelsons appears to have made this pairing of composers a continuing feature of his Bruckner recordings. This album, and Nelsons' 2017 release of the Symphony No. 3 in D minor with the Overture to Tannhäuser, are part of a projected series for Deutsche Grammophon that promises to be one of the most popular of mainstream Bruckner cycles. © TiVo
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Symphonic Music - Released April 6, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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

Booklet
Continuing his series of the symphonies of Dmitry Shostakovich with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons presents the Symphony No. 4 in C minor and the Symphony No. 11 in G minor, "The Year 1905" on this 2018 Deutsche Grammophon release. Of the two works, the Symphony No. 4 has enjoyed tremendous post-millennial popularity in the west, with competitive releases by Neeme Järvi, Vasily Petrenko, Mariss Jansons, Valery Gergiev, and Mikhail Pletnev; its accessibility may be due in part to the symphony's strong associations with Gustav Mahler, whose influence is evident and provides listeners a handle on this bracing work. At the same time, the Symphony No. 11 has fared less well, perhaps because its programmatic commemoration of the first Russian revolution is too remote for modern audiences to appreciate, but its reception is complicated by other factors, such as Shostakovich's veiled critiques of the Stalin years. Musically, the Fourth is abstract, assertive, and virtuosic, with the innovative spirit of early Shostakovich, before the denunciation of 1936, while the more reflective Eleventh is almost cinematic in its scene painting. The live performances by the BSO are first-rate, with expressive depth and sonorous playing, particularly in the incisive brass, and the sound of the recording is exceptional to match, with a vividness, spaciousness, and clarity comparable to SACD quality. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 3, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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

Booklet
Recordings of Anton Bruckner's symphonies have increasingly acquired an air of mystery and difficulty due to their extraordinary length, harmonic complexity, and the vagaries surrounding the multiple versions and various published editions, which conductors champion for different reasons. Yet Andris Nelsons seems to have taken the path of least resistance with his live recording of the Symphony No. 4 in E flat major, "Romantic," which he presents with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig in a proudly conventional reading. Not only is the 1878/1880 version one of the most widely accepted and most frequently performed and recorded, Nelsons also serves up a rather traditional interpretation that harks back to mid-20th century standards. To be sure, Nelsons is committed, consistent, and coherent, and his choices of tempos and dynamics are convincing, though he shows no interest in observing period practices or re-creating the techniques and sonorities of Bruckner's day. Instead, Nelsons delivers a "Romantic" that more closely resembles models set by Klemperer, Jochum, Wand, Tennstedt, and other traditional Brucknerians. The inclusion of Richard Wagner's Prelude to Act I from Lohengrin provides a reminder of Bruckner's unwanted role in the "War of the Romantics," though Nelsons appears to have made this pairing of composers a continuing feature of his Bruckner recordings. This album, and Nelsons' 2017 release of the Symphony No. 3 in D minor with the Overture to Tannhäuser, are part of a projected series for Deutsche Grammophon that promises to be one of the most popular of mainstream Bruckner cycles. © TiVo

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Andris Nelsons in the magazine