18 May 2011

Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphony No.10

Hi everyone. Sorry that it's been so long since I've posted in here! I was in France for a week and then got sucked into writing my thesis again (and listening to Woven Hand) so I was a bit distracted. I did write another review for Bachtrack.com in the meantime: Britten's War Requiem at De Doelen. Feedback is still very welcome!

Anyway, onto music. I realised that I've not yet posted any of Shostakovich's symphonies in here, which is rather odd because I love them more than anything else, ever. Seriously. My favourite symphony tends to change (currently it's still the 11th, in the past it's been the 13th, 4th, 10th, 8th, 5th) but in general I love all of them. Here's one of the most exciting pieces of music from his symphonies/one of the most exciting pieces of music ever written:

Shostakovich - Symphony No.10: II Allegro. 

Played by the Australian Youth Orchestra, cond. Sir Mark Elder. (Needs to be played loud!)

Dmitri Shostakovich no longer requires an introduction on here, right? So I'll just talk a bit about this particular piece, the 10th symphony. It was first performed in december 1953, by the Leningrad Symphony Orchestra, cond. Evgeny Mravinsky (as usual). It has four movements, three rather long ones (around 24, 12 and 14 mins), and one, the second movement, which is short and fast. The 10th symphony is one of the first and important works in which Shosty's DSCH (his initials in music notes, the English notation would be D, E flat, C, B) theme appears. I can safely say that the 10th is really one of the most incredible symphonies every written, it still blows my mind every time I listen to it. You should check out the entire thing; Mvt I: Part 1, Mvt I: Part 2, Mvt III, Mvt IV. These performances are all conducted by Mariss Jansons who is an awesome Shostakovich-conductor, I highly recommend his complete symphonies (though my favourite's still Kondrashin). Also, for fun you should check out Gustavo Dudamel conducting the second movement, one of the youtube comments rather aptly describes it as: "He seems to be having an epic sword battle with a ghost... and it looks like he's winning".

(Oh and for those of you in The Netherlands that are going to the Lowlands festival this summer; The Hague's Residentieorkest is going to be performing this symphony there, so you have to go!)

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