Shostakovich jazz music? Taken at face value, this CD is nothing of the sort. Shostakovich's lively and endearing forays into the popular music of his time were just that, and light years away from the work of real jazz masters such as, say Jelly Roll Morton or Duke Ellington And yet they do say something significant about Shostakovich's experience of jazz, as a comparison of these colourful, Chaplinesque Jazz Suite Suites with roughly contemporaneous music by Gershwin Milhaud, Martinu MartinJ, Roussel and others will prove.
Internationally recognized as one of the most talented conductors of his generation, Yuri Temirkanov has been the Music Director and Chief Conductor of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra since 1988.
A judicious coupling of Shostakovich recordings by the Jerusalem Quartet who have won BBC Music Magazine Awards no less than three times. “Vivid, profoundly intelligent accounts of six of Shostakovich's Quartets. The Jerusalems prove eloquent exponents of these works' tragic intensity and bittersweet lyricism.” - BBC Music Magazine, February 2013.
While this set of Shostakovich's Fourth through Ninth symphonies is billed as his "War" symphonies, these six works could be more aptly identified as his "Terror and War" symphonies. After all, the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth were composed in the years before the "Great Patriotic War" during the period called the "Great Terror," that period of Soviet history in which Stalin attempted to liquidate everyone he ever remotely suspected of having an unkind thought about him. Still, these six symphonies do form a cogent group of works that describe with extremely painful exactitude the horror of living through one of the most horrific decades in twentieth century history, qualities that Russian conductor Valery Gergiev captures with excruciating effectiveness.
Shostakovich's Symphony No.8 was written in the summer of 1943, and first performed in November of that year by the USSR Symphony Orchestra under Yevgeny Mravinsky, to whom the work is dedicated. Many scholars have ranked it among the composer's finest scores. Some also say Shostakovich intended the work as a ''tragedy to triumph'' symphony, in the tradition of Beethoven, Brahms and Mahler. This release in Praga's Reminiscences series of audiophile SACD remasterings features an historic live recording from 1961 featuring Mravinsky leading the Leningrad Philharmonic.