Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8 in C minor

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COMPOSERS: Shostakovich
LABELS: Philips Virtuoso
WORKS: Symphony No. 8 in C minor
PERFORMER: Leningrad PO/Evgeny Mravinsky
CATALOGUE NO: 422 442-2 ADD Reissue (1989)
As the dedicatee of Shostakovich’s Eighth, Mravinsky brings a special authority to this epic work, which he first conducted in 1943. In this performance recorded live in 1982, he exerts a relentless grip over the first movement’s complex structure, negotiating all the problematic tempo changes with much greater effectiveness than any rivals, and he is equally masterful in projecting the more equivocal emotional states of mind that are explored in the Finale. Although orchestral ensemble may not always be absolutely immaculate, this seems of little consequence given the riveting nature of the interpretation and the excellent sound. Despite formidable competition from Previn (EMI), Jarvi (Chandos) and Haitink (Decca), a definitive first choice. Erik Levi