Contrasting reviews of Andris Nelsons' Symphonies 1, 14 & 15

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Chris J.

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Jul 30, 2021, 7:59:01 AMJul 30
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David Hurwitz:

Artistic Quality: 4
Sound Quality: 8

"Nelsons' Shostakovich Misfires Badly
Up to this point, Nelsons' Boston Shostakovich cycle has been very good
to excellent, but these performances of Symphonies Nos. 1, 14 and 15 are,
for much of the time, a mess."

https://www.classicstoday.com/review/nelsons-shostakovich-misfires-badly/

...

Edward Seckerson:

"No question that this latest release represents the Nelsons cycle at its
best. Regular readers may recall that I had issues with one or two
earlier performances which for my money didn’t deliver much beyond a well-
honed dynamism and panache. But that is most certainly not the case here"

https://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/shostakovich-symphonies-nos-1-14-15-
and-chamber-symphony-nelsons

...

Keith Finke:

"Nelsons' schooling and background knowledge of the Russian masters
really comes through in these recordings and is coupled with the
preciseness he has wrought in his time with the Boston Symphony. The
orchestra is exceptionally clean and precise throughout, making it clear
why this cycle has found so much success with critics and audiences.
Deutsche Grammophon's engineers capture every detail superbly in these
live recordings from Boston's Symphony Hall, and the clarity of the
recording matches the exceptional performances."

https://www.allmusic.com/album/dmitri-shostakovich-symphonies-nos-1-14-15-
chamber-symphony-in-c-minor-mw0003535701

Allways useful to read several reviews of a recording (or none at all!),
but it can be confusing.

Chris

Mr. Mike

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Jul 30, 2021, 4:07:40 PMJul 30
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On Fri, 30 Jul 2021 11:58:57 GMT, "Chris J."
<chrisj...@mailservice.invalid> wrote:

>Allways useful to read several reviews of a recording (or none at all!),
>but it can be confusing.

There are more differences of opinion elsewhere...

Hurwitz cites Bernstein's Columbia and DGG recordings of the
Shostakovich 1st as "reference." American Record Guide in their
overview of the composer (Nov./Dec. 2009) agrees with the Columbia one
("effervescent and among the best ever made") but they are not crazy
about the DGG/Chicago one: "overdone ... not the sparkling student
symphony, but the dreary, tragic piece Shostakovich might have made it
a dozen years later. It really drags the music out, but some will find
it a moving experience nonetheless."

ARG and Hurwitz are in agreement with the 14th (Rostropovich/Melodiya,
now Warner, I think) as the best.

However, in the 15th, ARG's choices are Kurt Sanderling, Lopez-Cobos,
Ormandy, Jarvi, Kitaenko and Solti. Hurwitz likes Haitink (London
Philharmonic, Decca), but ARG says, that performance is "bland"
compared to Jarvi, as well as "slower, more subtle, more subdued. The
refinement of the London Philharmonic and the beauty of Decca's sound
save Haitink here -- as they often do in Shostakovich. The English
orchestras make the Russian ones sound so crude."

Frank Berger

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Jul 30, 2021, 4:55:55 PMJul 30
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One wonders what the results of a "blind listening" would be. IIRC, wine "experts" usually do abysmally in blind tastings and avoid them. Then there is the question of whether A-B (C-D-E?) comparisons were done, at the same time, what mood the listener was in, or even what he had just listened to before.

Sol L. Siegel

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Aug 1, 2021, 5:00:29 PMAug 1
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Mr. Mike <m...@mjq.net> wrote in news:oum8gg91hlmpl607fl3u3cdakvnccpa0jo@
4ax.com:

> ARG and Hurwitz are in agreement with the 14th (Rostropovich/Melodiya,
> now Warner, I think) as the best.
>

You learn something new every day. Until now, I never realized that the
14th in Rostropovich's Erato (now Warner) cycle was the Melodiya
recording. A landmark.

- Sol L. Siegel, Philadelphia, PA USA

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Frank Berger

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Aug 1, 2021, 6:36:29 PMAug 1
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On 8/1/2021 5:00 PM, Sol L. Siegel wrote:
> Mr. Mike <m...@mjq.net> wrote in news:oum8gg91hlmpl607fl3u3cdakvnccpa0jo@
> 4ax.com:
>
>> ARG and Hurwitz are in agreement with the 14th (Rostropovich/Melodiya,
>> now Warner, I think) as the best.
>>
>
> You learn something new every day. Until now, I never realized that the
> 14th in Rostropovich's Erato (now Warner) cycle was the Melodiya
> recording. A landmark.
>
> - Sol L. Siegel, Philadelphia, PA USA
>

The Russia Revelation release of the same performance gives the orchestra as "The Chamber Orchestra of Moscow" and lists David Oistrakh, Rostropovich, Moisei Vainberg as soloists. The other incarnations label the orchestra as "The Academic Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Philharmonic Society."
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