Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8
LABELS: EMI Matrix
WORKS: Symphony No. 8
PERFORMER: LSO/André Previn
CATALOGUE NO: CDM 5 65521 2 ADD(1973)
There can hardly be a more difficult opening symphonic movement for a conductor than the sombre unfolding of Shostakovich’s 25-minute Adagio/Allegro – nearly half the length of the whole five-movement work. But Previn, these days an underestimated conductor, found the way deep into the music’s heart in this 1973 recording, helped by superb engineering. The sheer impact and variety of sound swept me into a clear preference over Gergiev’s recent version, which I reviewed in August.
The impetus does not slacken, nor does the virtuosity of the LSO’s playing, throughout the remaining movements. A winner! Arthur Jacobs