CBSO, Andris Nelsons, Shostakovich CD

Shostakovich: Symphony No.7 (CBSO/Nelson)

Shostakovich, Dmitri

Symphony No 7 – “Leningrad”

Available now – buy online here


Amazon review here


Watch –

“…exclusive access to Birmingham’s classical music sensation Andris Nelsons.”   

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Review by Norman Lebrecht, Sinfini Music:

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…     “Andris Nelsons is the first, in my experience, to detach the music from its history. In concert with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, he dares to play for beauty. By underlining the delicacy and internal contrasts of the music, especially in the middle movements, Nelsons racks up tension by stealth. Ice-cool woodwinds add a surreal sense of isolation, while a rich body of strings hints at the totalitarian subjugation of individuality. Recorded in November 2011, the sound is outstanding and the playing world-class.”     …



Review by Simon Thompson, MusicWeb:

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…     “The finest thing about it is the orchestral playing, which is really very good indeed. There is a collective sense of adventure right from the bounding energy of the first phrases, strings surging upwards, buoyed up by rakish brass and timps. It is the strings who continually impress throughout. They are at their best in the Adagio, which is spectacularly good. The broad string sigh that opens the main theme pulsates with feeling and soulfulness that make it stand out as truly remarkable. It reminds you that this movement, above all the others, is Shostakovich’s love letter to his home city, a starry-eyed vision of the Nevsky Prospect and the Neva River by twilight. The cello tone that picks up the second theme at the end of the movement is simply delicious. The winds are just as special, and the frequent solos show up the CBSO players in the best possible light. Listen, for example, to the optimistic wistfulness of the flute that introduces the second theme after the first movement’s first subject has subsided. Then there’s that doleful bassoon lament that pours out its grief after the climax of the first movement has subsided. The “invasion theme” – and let’s call it that for the sake of argument; I know not everyone agrees – gives each section a chance to show off what it can do. The orchestral climaxes are thrilling when they come, but just as impressive is that sense of a collective identity, pulling together as an orchestra to give this work all they can.”     …

Review by Dan Morgan, MusicWeb:
Click here for full review (scroll down, is below Simon’s)
…     “Recorded live at two CBSO concerts last year, this Seventh is very closely miked. That, together with less than impeccable ensemble – especially in that remorseless first movement – makes for pretty uncomfortable listening. The soundstage is rather compressed too, and balances are far from natural; moreover, in those brutal climaxes there’s evidence of overload, which is very disappointing indeed. Technical issues aside, Nelsons seems to revel in the music’s banalities, and his phrasing of the Boléro-like march is very odd indeed.

The Moderato is much better though; it’s bright and airy, rhythms are nicely sprung and those brazen interludes are well judged. There’s some characterful woodwind playing as well; now this is much more like it. What a pity it doesn’t continue in this vein. The start to the Adagio isn’t as anguished as it can be – in mitigation it’s not overwrought – and the string sound is much too fierce for my tastes. Otherwise the movement is sensibly paced and its strange mood is carefully calibrated. For all that there’s a nagging sense of ‘nearly but not quite’, that jaunty tune heralding a return to ear-shredding brashness. No, Nelsons’ overall shaping and projection of this music is just too awkward and arbitrary for my tastes, and that robs the symphony of its dark and compelling narrative.”     …