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Shostakovich Symphony No. 11 - The Glasgow Herald


30 April 2005
The Glasgow Herald
Michael Tumelty

Alexander Lazarev's outstanding achievement as principal conductor of the RSNO was his direction of all 15 of Shostakovich's symphonies over two seasons. That achievement could well be matched if he is allowed to complete the recording of the symphonic cycle begun by former principal Neeme Jarvi and abandoned in mid stream. The omens are good, if Lazarev's stunning recording of the 11th Symphony, featuring the RSNO's debut on Linn Records, is anything to go by. This is a must-have, with Lazarev, true to form, scrupulously avoiding the pictorial and programmatic temptations of the symphony, emphasising instead - as the Russian conductor always did - the purely atmospheric and dramatic nature of the music itself.

RSNO playing throughout, from the huge, expansive stasis of the first movement to the juddering, pulverising finale, is absolutely top-drawer. Let's hope that the RSNO and Linn find the will and the resources to finish the cycle, including the lesser second and third symphonies as well as the last group of masterpieces.


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