Nos 1 and 12 -
compared by DAVID THOMPSON
'Praise to all departments ...'
This disc is, I presume, intended as part of a new Shostakovich symphony
cycle by the Georgian-born conductor Vakhtang Jordania. In that context,
the two works featured here fit conveniently onto a single disc. In any
other context, however, they are uncomfortable bedfellows, since the precocious
teenage masterpiece that is the First only serves to underline the
tired and uninspired rhetoric that permates the programmatic Twelfth.
Older is not synonymous with wiser and greater in this instance.
Jordania uses two different orchestras, and the recordings emanate from
two different venues. The Russian Federal Orchestra, used in the First Symphony,
was a new name to me, and, in fact, was founded in 1993 from members of
the former USSR State Symphony Orchestra, the Bolshoi Radio Symphony Orchestra
and the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra. The pedigree is therefore exemplary,
and the sound they make is most impressive. Given an outing in native music
of outstanding quality and highly imaginative orchestration, we have all
the ingredients here of a sure-fire winner. It is indeed an impressive performance,
full of understanding, passionate commitment and that je ne sais quoi
that comes from having the resonances of native music in the bloodstream.
Copyright © 5 January 2003
David Thompson, Eastwood, Essex, UK