Shostakovich - RSNO - Hi Fi Choice
Music: The 11th was written to commemorate the original Bloody Sunday massacre in pre-communist St Petersberg, though the composer's intentions in doing so are disputed to this day. The structure of the work is comparatively straightforward, if brutal at times, and it has been famously satirised, and not entirely without justification, as a ‘film score without a film'.
Sound: This recording from the Usher Hall, Edinburgh is, for the most part, a compelling, dramatic affair. A powerful, sonorous first movement contrasts with the second movement, which has as unusually assured quality. It is taken much faster than usual, but never loses its momentum, setting a pattern that is sustained throughout the rest of the work. Sound quality is excellent, with muscular bass through the crescendos, the only serious oversight being the bells in the finale, which are clearly overblown, and sound far too close.