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  Arts Music -
  Shostakovich: Symphony No. 11 - Caetani
  Shostakovich: Symphony No. 11 "The Year 1905"

Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi
Oleg Caetani (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 2

Review by robstl February 18, 2006 (10 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I greatly enjoyed this. I haven't heard the Pletnev, yet, which Polly Nomial has reviewed for the site. The Rostropovich, Lazarev, and Kitajenko readings are all in my player, and if forced to do so, I'd probably pick Kitajenko because of the sound and the orchestra. The sound on Caetani's is close in but natural, with a reasonable amount of hall resonance in the surround speakers that I find involving without being distracting. It isn't quite as convincing as Kitajenko's sound.

This reading is fairly conventional in its pacing; the first movement is just a bit faster than average (15'18"), but unlike in the Caetani 8th, it doesn't feel rushed, and the phrases flow nicely. The orchestra, as in the other recordings I've heard from them, is gritty and powerful. The massacre depicted in the second movement is devastating. The hammered triplets in the third movement are memorable. The fourth movement is exciting...

...and wait 'til you hear those bells at the end! Every performance I've heard before this one has used orchestral chimes. This one, by contrast, either uses real, deep live church bells (how would they fit them on stage??) or an excellent facsimile -- perhaps they were prerecorded, or somehow synthesized? They are incredible. Your dog will be scared. Your neighbors will be scared. Tyrants will shake in their shoes. My reaction was similar to the first time I heard Tchaikovsky's 1812 with church bells instead of orchestral chimes. I find it hard to go back to the chimes! The well-deserved applause is left in at the end.

Another excellent 11th on SA-CD!

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Review by Jonalogic July 28, 2010 (7 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
OK, this one genuinely shocked me. Under the Pletnev recording, I did a comparison of modern recordings of the 11th, comparing them with my benchmark (and classic) Berglund on late analogue EMI.

I ultimately plumped for Wigglesworth. But this recording has proved a bit of a game-changer. Yes, the orchestra's a bit rough sometimes, but Caetani's (and his orchestra's) heart is in the right place.

I would say the first three movements here are as good as anybody's, although I find the changes of gear in the finale a bit worrying.

But then we come to the sound...

I always wondered what a full-dynamic range and ultra-transparent recording of this wide-screen piece, minimally miked and with absolutely no spotting or gain-riding might sound like. Now I need wonder no more. This is a highly transparent and natural recording and - frankly -it trumps all the digital era recordings I have heard. It would get six stars if I could.

Sonically, it's a dead heat with Berglund on my Goldmund vinyl-spinner. The percussion climax to the second movement is shattering, and the bells do sound stunning at the end - although they also 'cover' the orchestra to an extent.

Only one slight niggle; there is a teeny trace of harshness on mass strings and brass. This might be PCM-itis, but it could be the orchestra itself. Who knows?

Top of the class, recording engineers, even in PCM! But please try and use DSD...

Investigating others in this symphonic cycle would appear to be mandatory.

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Works: 1  

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