DEFINITIVE RECORDINGS
DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH - SYMPHONY NO. 8


DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH - SYMPHONY NO. 8 - EVGENI MRAVINSKY (Conductor) - LENINGRAD PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA - ALTO 1150

Because this symphony was written in 1943, when the German forces were starting to show signs of weakness, both the regime and the public were expecting to hear music of a sunnier nature, maybe even victorious sounding themes and melodies, from the pen of Dmitri Shostakovich. What they heard instead was the complete opposite. Shostakovich's feelings were, I suppose, that war is war no matter who wins, and that the desolation, destruction and loss of life in the aftermath would hit everyone harder than the battle itself.

This great symphony is dark, gritty, violent, bitter and resolute in it's portrayal of deep sorrow and anger caused by the atrocities of war. And who better to understand this and truly manifest it than the conductor to whom the symphony was dedicated, and who had conducted it's premiere performance after the war, Evgeni Mravinsky.

This live recording from 1982, first released on Philips who later deleted it from their catalogue, has recently been re-mastered and re-issued by Regis Records. It is a performance so intense and searing, that it leaves an impression on your soul after hearing it. On that day, the musicians of the orchestra had to play faster, louder, with more vehemence and power, then they ever had, and they delivered on all counts. A totally jaw-dropping performance by everyone of this important 20th century statement by the great Shostakovich.

Jean-Yves Duperron