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Shostakovich: Symphony No 10

Classics Today (US)
Victor Carr Jr
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While at first the Australian Youth Orchestra might seem an unlikely proponent of Shostakovich, the ensemble makes a pretty impressive show of his Symphony No. 10. Alexander Anissimov conjures a sound at times reminiscent of the great Soviet orchestras - the string playing has that acerbic, gutsy quality so essential to this music, and it takes on a near-hysterical tone in the first movement's prolonged climax.

Anissimov adopts a rapid tempo for the manic scherzo, but the playing doesn't approach the razor's edge thrill of great performances such as those by Ancerl or Järvi. The Andante's contrasted moods come off very well in this reading, which features a beautifully-played horn solo. However, after a nicely flowing introduction, the finale slightly disappoints. The woodwind playing, while certainly boisterous, falls short of the joyful abandon of the finest performances, and Anissimov strangely underplays the low brass' climactic statement of the DSCH theme.

So, this is a performance in which the gloomy aspects of the symphony come off better than the joyous ones. But it's certainly well played, and exceptionally well-recorded (especially in stereo SACD). Ultimately this is a fine effort by the Australian Youth Orchestra, and while not a first recommendation, it makes a great supplemental recording.

Reference Recording - Ancerl (DG); Järvi (Chandos); Karajan (DG); Jansons (EMI)

Artistic Quality: 8/10
Sound Quality: 10/10

Read the original web review