Shostakovich 7: Leningrad
Posted by dieter barkhoff on March 22, 2019, 1:36 am
While chugging through Brian Wilson's excellent 'Second Thoughts and Short Reviews', I came to the Shostakovich section and noted with some satisfaction that when Brian reviewed the Nelsons Leningrad, he noted: 'this is music which, far from repaying repeated hearing – as the two Alwyn recordings (above) do – shows diminishing returns for me.' |
I would like to totally concur with this assessment, further adding I have never been able to understand the admiration for this work. I guess I subscribe to the observation that Shostakovich went into auto mode when he wrote about a 'concrete' topic. I find the same vacuousness in Symphonies 11 and 12. My pantheon of Shostakovich Symphonies has 4 at the top, followed by 13,15,1,6,5,10,8,14 - probably in that order at the moment. 4 is pure music, before the introspection and double speak and muted messages changed Shostakovich from a carefree young genius into the fragile humane mature man. For all that, I love his music very much. The Quartets, the Cello and Violin Concertos, the Preludes and Fugues, the late vocal Orchestral works, the Violin, Cello and Viola Sonatas place him, for me, as one of the very greatest composers of the 20th Century.