Full text of "​SHOSTAKOVICH - SYMPHONY NO. 8"
See other formats

- 'll i STEREO 437819-2 r , DeAitsche \jtuzm ttu f)hcn SHOSTAKOVICH SYMPHONY NO-8 LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA ANDRF PRFV1N SHOSTAKOVICH: SYMPHONY NO. 8 W hatever uncertainties we may have about the relationship of many of Shostakovich’s great- est works to his personal life or the circumstances in which they were conceived (for the ambivalences and ironies that permeate them mean that things are often patently not all they may sound to be), there can be little doubt about the direct connection of his major compositions of the early 1940s with the cat- aclysmic events then devastating his native land. In- deed, with the Seventh Symphony (1941-42) and Piano Trio (1944) there is both internal and exter- nal evidence of this connection. And while the Eighth Symphony, composed between these two pieces in a mere 40 days of superhuman effort in 1943 (Evgeny Mravinsky, to whom the work is ded- icated, conducted the first performance in Moscow in November of that year), may lack such concrete indicators, the very sound of the music leaves no doubt of its contemporary relevance. No work of Shostakovich is grimmer, more tragic, more vio- lent. But this is certainly not the whole story. The con- ductor Kurt Sanderling, who knew Shostakovich well at this time, has declared that the central theme of the symphony was “the horrors of life, the life of an intellectual in his day”; and I believe there is con- crete evidence of this in the symphony’s inclusion of the motto theme from Tchaikovsky’s Manfred symphony. Glazunov, who had played a construc- tive part in Shostakovich’s early life, had also incor- porated this theme into his Saxophone Concerto (1934), composed when living out his last years in lonely, self-imposed exile in Paris. Perhaps this prompted Shostakovich to use the theme in the pres- ent symphony, for he, too, like Byron’s brooding hero in Tchaikovsky’s symphony, was engulfed in a sense of inescapable alienation from the society in which he found himself. This symphony may carry other resonances, but these will do for the moment — they are pointers to Shostakovich’s specific intention. But, that said, it is better to hear the work as a piece of majestically re- alized, though profoundly personal, music. Even Mahler never created a first movement so truly monolithic as this. Comparisons with the Eroica would not be out of place here, yet it is as much with the awesome inevitability of the Kyrie fugue from Bach’s B minor Mass that this mighty Adagio un- folds. The individual paragraphs are massively con- ceived. First a spread of lean, epic counterpoint, then a vast string melody launched against a quietly pulsing five-beat accompaniment, moving into a magisterial dynamic and rhythmic crescendo from which the central Allegro finally bursts. All creates the impression of one gigantic sweep. The culmi- nation is a clutch of five earth-shattering chords sep- arated by eruptions from the percussion and, finally, the first entry of the Manfred theme: in a climate that has become ever more alien, even brutal, the voice of the individual, infinitely sad and lonely, is suddenly heard. Yet the plangent cor anglais (Eng- lish horn) cantilena which unwinds against hushed string tremolandi finally draws in the five-beat mel- ody — for with quiet resolve, even confidence, the human spirit can confront the pains and sorrows of harsh reality. From the ensuing concise summary of earlier music the violence has gone; its power has been purged, and only grief remains. Whether such a view of this great Adagio is justified each listener must decide individually. As for the following two scherzos, they look in opposite direc- tions, the first outwards at a world projected through themes of often piercing energy (the shrill wind solos carry no trace of gaiety; only a wistful string phrase twice forlornly mitigates this flow), the second turning inwards and focussing obsessively on two elements: a dogged moto perpetuo string line and a strident, drooping wind figure. Within this context even the perky trumpet-and-sidedrum cen- tral section suggests less a smile than a grimace. The world of the ensuing passacaglia, which follows without a break, is yet more enclosed. Just as the cor anglais cantilena had been the heart of the first movement, so this passacaglia is the heart of the whole symphony — the music which unfolds so wea- rily above the dozen statements of the bass theme uncovers an inner sorrow almost unutterable. If the first movement had been bleak, this one is desolate. Yet it provides the background for the symphony’s most critical moment: a gentle twisting of the passa- caglia’s end towards a translucent, almost breathtak- ing, C major chord. This is the hinge upon which all turns, for the series of some half-dozen free, relaxed reflections around the benign bassoon theme that follows could never have been envisaged from what went before. And once again parallels with the Eroica suggest themselves: that symphony, too, ends with a variation movement. But with the onset of a fugue on the bassoon theme the baleful forces of the first movement begin to gather, culminating in the percussion-punctuated chords that had marked the main crisis point of that movement, again capped by the “Manfred” theme. This time, how- ever, it is not lamentation that follows, but a quietly assured return to music from the preceding vari- ations. At last the double basses settle onto a pedal C, the first stage in a process drawing the music by degrees towards the most sustained and quietest of C major closes. The triumph that ends the Eroica is unthinkable here. But from heroic endurance has come hope, and for the present there has been gained a kind of release, even peace. David Brown ANDRfi PREVIN, one of the most versatile and distinguished musicians of our time, was born in Berlin in 1929 but emigrated with his family to Cal- ifornia shortly before the Second World War. He continued his musical studies, including composi- tion and theory, in Los Angeles with Toch, Castel- nuovo-Tedesco and Joseph Achron, and studied conducting with Monteux in San Francisco. As a young man he made a name for himself both as a brilliantly successful composer, arranger and con- ductor of film music (winning four Oscars), and as a pianist — in concertos, chamber music and jazz. Previn’s symphonic conducting career, now extend- ing over three decades, has brought him associa- tions with virtually all of the world’s leading orches- tras since he made his debut with the St. Louis Sym- phony Orchestra in 1962. He was Barbirolli’s suc- cessor as Music Director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra (1967-69), Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (1968-79), Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1976-84), and he succeeded Giulini as Music Di- rector of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (1985-89). From 1985 to 1987 he was Music Di- rector and from 1987 to 1991 Principal Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom he made two highly praised television series (these and many other television appearances, as well as his writings, have earned him a notable following among audiences in the U.S. and, especially, in Brit- ain). Since then he has continued to make guest ap- pearances with numerous orchestras, including reg- ular engagements with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony and Philadelphia Or- chestras. His recent appearances have also included concerts with the Cleveland, Pittsburgh Symphony, San Francisco Symphony and Royal Concertge- bouw Orchestras, as well as the Dresden Staatska- pelle. In the 1992-93 season he returned to the London Symphony Orchestra as Conductor Lau- reate. In addition to his conducting career, Previn contin- ues to make appearances as a solo pianist, per- forming both chamber music and concertos, and has remained an active composer. His recent works in- clude a piano concerto commissioned by Vladimir Ashkenazy and a song cycle given its premiere in London by Dame Janet Baker. In 1991 he con- ducted the world premiere of his song cycle Honey and Rue (on texts by the Nobel Prize- winning author Toni Morrison), which was commissioned for Kathleen Battle on the occasion of the Carnegie Hall centenary celebrations. In March 1993 in Am- sterdam he and Yo-Yo Ma gave the premiere per- formance of the new sonata he has written for the cellist. Andre Previn’s other recordings for Deutsche Grammophon include orchestral works by Richard Strauss with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; Chopin’s Piano Concerto no.2 with Maria Joao Pires and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Violin Concertos by Barber and Korngold with Gil Sha- ham and the London Symphony Orchestra; and Orffs Carmina Burana with the Vienna Philhar- monic. Future releases will include the world- premiere recording of Honey and Rue, with works by Barber and Gershwin, featuring Kathleen Battle and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. @ IdTdId] AUDIO RECORDING Recording: London, All Saints Church, 10/1992 Executive Producer: Alison Ames • Recording Producer: Arend Prohmann Tonmeister (Balance Engineer): Gregor Zielinsky Recording Engineers: Reinhard Lagemann, Rainer Hebborn • Editing: Rainer Hebborn Publishers: Anglo Soviet Music Press (Boosey & Hawkes), London ® 1 994 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg © 1994 Prof. David Brown Cover Photo by Susesch Bayat, Berlin Photo of Soviet Army: Ullstein Bilderdienst, Berlin / Camera Press Ltd. • Art Direction: Lutz Bode AUDIO RECORDING WHAT IS 4D AUDIO RECORDING? 4D AUDIO RECORDING is an overall concept in sound recording from Deutsche Gram- mophon. It is based on the notion that, by using the most sophisti- cated technology available today, it is virtually possible to eliminate the listener’s awareness of the technical medium, allowing the en- joyment of a completely natural sound quality. 4D Audio Recording is now the standard adopted by Deutsche Grammophon for its recordings. 4D AUDIO RECORDING makes use of technology which, in this configuration, is unique in the recording industry. A number of the individual components were designed in cooperation with Yamaha, but overall develop- ment of this digital mobile classical recording system took place at Deutsche Grammophon’s own Recording Centre. The 4D Audio Recording system incorporates advances in four technical dimen- sions: • Remote-controlled microphone pre-amplifier • 21-bit digital-floating analogue-digital converter • Stagebox principle/Digital network • All-digital mixing/Authentic Bit Imaging 4D AUDIO RECORDING allows the Tonmeister (Balance Engineer) a highly sophisti- cated control of the recording process. It is Deutsche Grammo- phon’s philosophy that technology alone is never sufficient: opti- mal sound quality can be achieved only when technology is guided by the trained ear of a Tonmeister who combines technical exper- tise with a thorough musical education. 4D AUDIO RECORDING offers the artist ideal conditions for the realization of his or her musical intentions. The combination of advanced technology and the musical experience of the Tonmeister has as its aim the faithful documenting of the sounds conceived by the artist. THE 4 TECHNICAL DIMENSIONS: Remote-controlled microphone pre-amplifier Deutsche Grammophon has designed its own low-interference microphone pre-amplifier which, with a minimum of noise and dis- tortion, augments the analogue signal from the microphone. A newly developed remote-control function allows the pre-amplifier to be installed very near to the microphone - as close as possible to the musical event - thus eliminating the transmission inter- ference associated with conventional pre-amplification methods. 21 -bit digital-floating analogue-digital converter The 21 -bit digital-floating technique combines two A/D (ana- logue-digital) converters with a resolution of 18 bit each. One is driven with an 18 dB higher gain - equivalent to 3 bit. A digitally controlled addition process with the two converters yields the final output resolution of 21 bit. Deutsche Grammophon is a leader in the continuing development of this technology. Stagebox principle/Digital network Pre-amplifier and A/D converter system are mounted in a single physical unit (Stagebox). Because the A/D conversion now takes place on the recording stage, the long analogue pathway which previously lay between microphone and studio - a potential source of interference - is eliminated. It has been replaced by a galvani- cally-separated digital network, developed by Deutsche Grammo- phon, which ensures interference-free transmission and offers audio-data transport of up to 24-bit word-length per channel. This mobile digital network is a crucial link in the recording chain, and it is a development which is already capable of handling future ad- vances in A/D conversion. All-digital mixing/Authentic Bit Imaging The all-digital mixing process allows for an exceptionally precise mixdown. It employs the Yamaha DMC 1000 mixing console, equipped with control software developed specially for Deutsche Grammophon. This proprietary software incorporates the experi- ence of Deutsche Grammophon’s Tonmeister, and it helps to achieve the spatial depth characteristic of 4D Audio Recording by allowing the exact synchronization of all microphone signals. Authentic Bit Imaging, the requantizing procedure developed by Deutsche Grammophon, allows the extraordinarily high quality of this mixdown to be transferred optimally to digital sound carriers (such as CD). WARNING! All rights reserved. Unauthorized copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited. Manufactured and Marketed by PolyGram Classics & Jazz, a Division of PolyGram Records, Inc., New York, New York. 437 819-2 IUH DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony no. 8 in C minor, op. 65 Symphonie Nr. 8 c-moll Symphonie n° 8 en ut mineur Sinfonia n. 8 in do minore Q] 1 . Adagio — Allegro — Adagio [27’47] [I] 2. Allegretto [6’ 14] DU 3 . Allegro non troppo [6’08] E 4. Largo [13’17] [U 5. Allegretto — Allegro —Adagio — Allegretto [14’ 16] London Symphony Orchestra ANDRE PREVIN Aumo recording ® 1994 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg [67’42] 0501 DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony no. 8 in C minor, op. 65 Symphonie Nr. 8 c-moll Symphonic n° 8 en ut mineur Sinfonia n. 8 in do minore El 1 . Adagio — Allegro — Adagio [27’47] E 2. Allegretto [6’ 14] E 3. Allegro non troppo [6’08] E 4. Largo [13’17] E 5. Allegretto — Allegro —Adagio — Allegretto [14’16] London Symphony Orchestra ANDRfi PREVIN ® 1994 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg • [67’42] o mi 3943 11 111 5192 II l 3 DIGITAL • STEREO 437819-2 \m @) [dTdTd1 AUDIO RECORDING A new dimension in clarity and realism Cover Photo by Susesch Bayat Manufactured and Marketed PolyGram Classics & Jazz, a Division of PolyGram Records, Inc., New York, NY by ( LC)0173) to g m O to h m> O r- r- to Ol zo O to OH l| 32 ll S3 to m K "v 0° -O to AMD OF THE OW NaR AUTHORISED CO py /A/ „ IXeutsche Ljbamnwpnvn COMPACT Made in USA DIGITAL AUDIO DIGITAL RECORDING ® 1994 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg AUDIO RECORDING DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH Symphonie No.8 op.65 London Symphony Orchestra Andre Previn AND BROADCAST/;
Internet Archive logo A line drawing of the Internet Archive headquarters building façade. Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo Celebrate Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Upload icon An illustration of a horizontal line over an up pointing arrow. Upload Sign upLog inWayback MachineBooksVideoAudioSoftwareImagesDonateMore
Sign up for freeLog in