Message modified by board administrator May 20, 2012, 5:13 pm
I respect John Quinn's views, and his points are well made. What I would say is that reviews are, by nature, comparative, and in a market crammed with fine product it 's incumbent on us to mention rival recordings, whatever their provenance.
And where Shostakovich is concerned the competition is formidable, not just from acknowledged 'authorities' such as Kondrashin and Mravinsky, but from the two Marks - Elder and Wigglesworth - and the up-and-coming Daniel Raiskin and Andris Nelsons. Every one of them has has given us distinctive, probing accounts of Shostakovich's symphonies that, to my ears at least, far outstrip anything Vasily Petrenko has done in this field.
As for anyone coming to these works for the first time, surely it's important they hear them at their best? Even budget-conscious newbies need not confine themselves to labels such a Naxos - whose CDs aren't as cheap as they once were - given the number of budget and super-budget reissues on the market. After all, buying music is essentially a consumer activity; it's about choice and about perceived value, so why settle for less - musically at least - when you don't have to?
For reasons I've already hinted at Petrenko's cycle wouldn't be my recommended introduction to this infuriating, contradictory, complex and enigmatic composer precisely because he brings out none of these dichotomies. Perhaps in time he'll dig deeper, but for the moment his Shostakovich leaves me short-changed.
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