Shostakovich: Symphony No. 15; Piano Concerto No. 2; Romance and Folk Feast from The Gadfly

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COMPOSERS: Shostakovich
WORKS: Symphony No. 15; Piano Concerto No. 2; Romance and Folk Feast from The Gadfly
PERFORMER: Mikhail Rudy (piano); LPO/Mariss Jansons
Jansons’s EMI Shostakovich cycle continues with a phenomenal Fifteenth from the LPO. You won’t hear finer brass intonation anywhere (the Brucknerian weighting of the second movement is magnificent), richer Mahlerian strings, nor more eloquently focused percussion (the fading heartbeat of the finale). Overall, he’s a touch broader than Maxim Shostakovich (Collins) – enough to let the music speak with greater eloquence, his magisterial phrasing and punctuation turning Maxim’s occasionally short-winded belligerence into articulated breath. His gift as a conductor has always been to recognise that just as spectacular playing isn’t about pushing to the limit, so speed isn’t a matter of haste. Endorsing this, Rudy’s unhistrionic view of the neo-classical Second Piano Concerto reveals an unexpectedly serious depth, the easy-to-sentimentalise Andante aspiring to the positively spiritual. The Gadfly excerpts – a perfectly judged ‘Romance’, with Joakim Svenheden as the lingeringly deep-throated violin soloist; an immaculate, brilliantly lit ‘Folk Feast’ – find Jansons in favourite encore mood, letting his class orchestra enjoy its virtuoso head. John Fraser’s demonstration production and Mike Hatch’s magically gilded Abbey Road sound balance (less hard-edged than Simon Rhodes in the same studio for Maxim Shostakovich) provide that special finish. Ates Orga