«Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 5, 8, 9»
Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47,
Symphony No. 9 in E flat major, Op. 70,
Hamlet – Concert Suite from incidental music, Op. 32a,
Symphony No. 8 in C minor, Op. 65.
Boston Symphony Orchestra – Andris Nelsons.
Shistakovich under Stalin’s Shadow
. . . played with insight and panache . . . [the performance Andris Nelsons] coaxes from his musicians is at the highest level and the deep soundstage of the recording makes it an excellent album for headphones . . . [Shostakovich 5]: Nelsons conducts with a storyteller’s eye for detail. A passage near the end of the first movement . . . is dramatically poignant. In Nelsons’ transparency, the soft pluck of a harp and the ping of a glockenspiel come into focus. Even menacing moments are judged for clarity . . . [Shostakovich 8]: Nelsons has a way with the BSO woodwinds as well . . . piccolos glare, double reeds converse in intimate asides and English horn player Robert Sheena gets plenty of space to breathe in his plaintive first movement solo . . . [Shostakovich 9]: [Nelsons lets] the BSO strings dance and sing while the brass wink and snarl . . .
[Shostakovich 9]: A stern-sounding fanfare — the BSO horns have played brilliantly of late under the direction of the former trumpeter Nelsons — makes the fourth movement, Largo, sound dramatic, but not tragic. The finale is a piece of concluding genius, played with professional exuberance . . . [Shostakovich 5]: The music is gripping, innately classical in concept, and full of originality. From the opening . . . listeners are engaged.
Record Review / Keith Powers, Wbur FM (Boston) / 26. May 2016