add to wish list | library

8 of 13 recommend this,
would you recommend it?

yes | no

Support this site by purchasing from these vendors using the paid links below. As an Amazon Associate earns from qualifying purchases.
  LSO Live -
  Shostakovich: Symphony No. 11 - Rostropovich
  Shostakovich: Symphony No. 11 "The Year 1905"

London Symphony Orchestra
Mstislav Rostropovich (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:
  Recorded March 2002, Barbican, London
Producer: James Mallinson
Sound Engineer: Tony Faulkner

read discussion | delete from library | delete recommendation | report errors
Related titles: 3

Reviews: 3

Review by nickc January 14, 2005 (8 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Before I turn to the most important thing, the music, I might discuss two aspects of this release: the dynamic range and the timings.
I listen through a Marantz SR7300 receiver. I normally have the volume at -15, which is reasonably loud! I pressed play and half way through the opening movement I thought I had a faulty disc; I could hardly hear anything. Only when the brass played their mottoes did I realise that this performance has an enormous dynamic range; soft is really soft! I started again and increased the volume to -10 and things snapped into focus. You really have to turn the volume up on this one.
Shostakovich wrote all the notes in the first movement and you have to play them, but I felt that the first movement seemed to drag at Rostropovich's tempo. I checked two other performance I have for timings and they reinforced my perception. I'll list the tempos of those peformances movement by movement. Haitink 15.53, 19.54, 11.23 and 14.16 - total 61.27. Kondrashin 12.32, 17.32, 10.32 and 13.20 - total 52.56. Rostropovich 20.10, 21.27, 13.27 and 17.20 - total 72.24! That is nearly 20 minutes slower than Kondrashin and 10 minutes slower than Haitink, a conductor not known for being a speed demon. Lies, damned lies and timings but I felt the two slow movements did seem to drag.
I love Shostakovich and when I hear him I want to be traumatised and terrorised by the music. The old Kondrashin recordings I have could even be accused of going over the top but I feel somehow Kondrashin is more "authentic' in that respect; listening to him is truly a draining and violent experience. The playing of the LSO is fantastic of course but the beast has been tamed; with Kondrashin the beast is hungry and almost out of control.
The recording is 4.0, not 5.0. While I am not dogmatic in that respect all things being equal I prefer 3 channels across the front. For me it really seems to spread the orchestra in front more successfully. The sound is good, even taking the notorious Barbican acoustic into consideration. Cellos sound great but I wasn't as enamoured of the sounds of the violins. Brass really come to the fore when required and the bass drum at the height of the terror in the second movement when the protestors are shot in front of the Winter Palace is Telarcesque (if such a word exists!) and will dislodge paint from your walls!
I see LSO Live are recording the 8th. later this year. I really hope they let loose in that almost apocalyptic work. Shostakovich chronicled the vilest and most atavistic urges that the 20th. century had to offer; he should never be pleasant to listen to.

Was this review helpful to you?  yes | no

Review by Chris November 29, 2004 (8 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Wow!!!This recording of Schostakovich's elegic and brutal and awesome 11th Symphony is another stunning example of high-res DSD technology at its very best! I could cheat and do what I did in my recent review of LSO Live's equally impressive Falstaff and simply quote from the booklet.But let me at least try to explain why I find this SACD so "sensational". Everything from the whispering strings of the opening Adagio to the cataclysmic climaxes in the two Allegro movements is so naturally and realistically rendered as to make one almost forget, one is listening to a recording.The dynamic range captured by the recording engineer Tony Faulkner is huge.
The projected soundstage is so big and lifelike, and has such depth and pinpoint detail, without any obvious spotmiking,that even when listening in stereo,the extremely realistic pizzicato strings and drum, for example, are so three-dimensional and clearly defined in space, that I feel like I could walk right in, and sit down behind them!My only minor reservation concerns the not ideal acoustics of the Barbican.The cymbal clashes in the second movement sound a bit harsh.But allowing for that, I have nothing but praise for this fantastic recording and can hardly wait for the next SACD releases in this series,and I certainly hope we'll get more Schostakovich and also Prokoviev from the LSO and Maestro Rostropovich.
I still listen in plain old stereo most of the time.I care more for high-res,low distorsion rendition of what's happening where the musicians are actually playing, than for what bounces off the walls behind the audience! I wouldn't go as far CB of HI FI News, as to say that surround is irrelevant for music.But my modded Xindak SCD2 tube output SACD player and Copland Tube amp deliver low distorsion,and when the soundstage is so clearly three dimensional, even in stereo, as it is here,I'm very pleased. Praise indeed, from an old analogue die-hard like me, who often finds ample reasons to complain about either a flat undefined wall of sound or a synthetic mix,or even worse, glassy, unrealistic string sound from many modern digital recordings.Not so here! This is indeed on par with the best of analogue in most respects, and maybe even better, when it comes to low level detail, where those Pianissimo strings, register clearly without getting lost in surface noise or tape hiss.
What about the music? Well the music is, IMHO, some of the best Schostakovich ever composed.
Schostakovich's music can sometimes sound a bit banale and even vulgar.But especially the two Adagios here, are as captivating as the Mahler Adagios that undoubtedly inspired them.
And the cataclysmic finale will rattle your windows if you dare play it at realistic level!

Was this review helpful to you?  yes | no

Review by March 1, 2005 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Just finished listening. Damn I had forgotten how much I loved this symphony. The good news to report is that both 2 and multi-channel SACD relieve much of the congestion and claustrophobia of the redbook edition. Strings are miraculously warm considering how closely recorded they are, and bass drum is as powerful as ever, though it doesn't have the glamour of the Concertgebouw bass drum. The sound is definitely "conductor's perspective," much like Channel's, but unfortunately without the latter's soundstage width. Depth is incredible. As far as dynamic range, I just left the volume where I usually do for loud listening, but had to turn off the fridge to adequately hear >p sections.

I'm still in awe of the first mov't, and Rosty's indulgent approach really brings out as much color as possible in this spare music. I think the indulgence works less well in some of the more terrifying music, esp. those instances in which the winds and strings swirl around the heavy brass chorales tattooed throughout the symphony, and the allegro sections which build up to them. Rosty's is a daring conception--taking it slow and indulgently in a symphony which has an almost ritualistic, built-in motionless to begin with--but his attention to timbre and dynamics over architecture forces an unusually physical response.

My temporary 20 year old roommate, who likes older Metallica, actually responded favorably to the more rhetorical sections--the gong and bass drum- laden climax of the 3rd mov't, the quiet, spooky ending of the 2nd, and esp. the fading gong at the end of the finale. I guess Shostakovich really is a people's composer

Was this review helpful to you?  yes | no

Works: 1  

Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphony No. 11 in G minor, Op. 103 "The Year 1905"