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From its forlorn beginnings (2' 28") the AYO's concluding Andante-Allegro is a triumph. The jaunty Allegro beginnings are gradually dispelled and the symphony takes on added gravitas -- after five minutes [listen -- track 4, 5:32-6:55] we hear the first grumbling allusions to DSCH among the bass instruments and at 6' 46" it's stated with stentorian certainty. All the while we're in the company of strings, brass, et al, worthy to hold their heads high among the best of the best.

The first recording to top the Shostakovitch 10 heap was Dmitri Mitropulous' electrifying account with the New York Philharmonic (Columbia Records, 1954). An easy choice during the later 1950s and 1960s, it vanished from catalogues before the 1960s were over and resurfaced as CBS MPK 45698 when CDs arrived. My most recent search failed to turn it up and the LP went AWOL between Minneapolis and North Yorkshire. Don't let that deter you. Despite the 'past its use-by-date sound' it's worth tracking down for Mitropulous' powerful, white hot account with stunning playing from the NYPO which had an elemental force, unequalled to this day.

Putting 'pipe dreams' to one side, however, give me this Melba 'Australian' (2006) recording plus the Philadephia Orchestra with conductor Mariss Jansons (EMI, 1995) and I'll be more than content with both.

Fair dinkum, you cobbers 'down under', your Shostakovitch 10 is choice and no mistake!

Copyright © 20 January 2008 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


Shostakovich Symphony No 10

MR 301105 SACD Hybrid Surround FIRST RELEASE 57'06" 2006 Melba Recordings

The Australian Youth Orchestra; Alexander Anissimov, conductor

Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich (1906-1975): Symphony No 10 in E minor Op 93 (Moderato; Allegro; Allegretto; Andante Allegro)


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