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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


Dunelm Records, 2 Park Close, Glossop, SK13 7RQ (Telephone 01457 855313 or email info@dunelm-records.co.uk)

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906 - 1975)
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major, Op. 102 ('To Maxim Dmitrievich Shostakovich') (1957)
Symphony No.11 in G minor, Op. 103 'The Year 1905' (1957)
Marina Primachenko, piano
London Shostakovich Orchestra/Christopher Cox
Recorded live at St. Cyprian's Church, London, 9 November 2002.
DUNELM RECORDS DRD0193 [20.32+67.27]

This is the third release in Dunelm's Shostakovich series and this time it is a double CD set we are offered. It couples the two major works completed in 1957, the second piano concerto, dedicated to the composer's son Maxim, and the 11th Symphony (a programmatic work, subtitled 'The Year 1905', in response to the popular revolution of that year). As with the previous issue in the series I reviewed, the playing of "the other LSO", under the inspired guidance of conductor Christopher Cox, is remarkably accomplished for an amateur band and the greater stature of the pieces on these discs carries the day completely. Soloist Marina Primachenko delivers a lovely performance of the concerto, a work that has to be one of Shostakovich's most joyous - perhaps the dedication sheds some light on this, with Maxim giving its premiere on his nineteenth birthday. A different creature to the blithe, witty and acerbic first concerto, with its significant trumpet part, the composer's second major concertante offering for the piano evokes both Bach and Rachmaninov in its Allegro-Andante-Allegro structure. It remains, to these ears, one of Shostakovich's most grateful scores, without resorting to the filmic hyperbole of, say, The Assault on Beautiful Gorky (his miniature Warsaw Concerto!).

The Eleventh Symphony, on the face of it, has the same unhelpful programmatic baggage as the Seventh ('Leningrad'), but is far better constructed and more subtle, so an altogether more enticing prospect, in terms of repeated listening. One only needs to listen to the final movement ('Tocsin') for a rather more inspired take on martial themes than the infamous "invasion" of the seventh. Before that we visit revolutionary songs for the themes of the first movement ('Palace Square'), the composer's own Ten Choral Poems (again, on revolutionary texts) in the second ('9th January') and the music used for Lenin's funeral march in the third ('In Memoriam'). The music is often slow and rarely goes much beyond that, the four movements' markings alternate between Adagio and Allegro, but much emotional substance is distilled here.

It remains difficult to judge these discs as direct comparisons to commercial recordings. The "live" aspect of them can be both a blessing and a curse. The spontaneity goes without saying and the audience noise is minimal, except for the deliberately included but "foreshortened" applause at the end of each disc. It is however, disingenuous to review this set (or indeed any in the series) without pointing out the extremely low monetary outlay now required to obtain Barshai's benchmark set (Brilliant Classics) of the complete symphonies. So, I recommend this release wholeheartedly and applaud the Pattisons’ thoroughly admirable approach to recording and disseminating music. Aficionados will no doubt lap this up and the uninitiated could do far worse but, whatever you decide, do yourself a favour and get a copy of the Barshai set before it disappears.

Neil Horner

All made at St. Cyprian’s Church, Glentworth Street, London

KHACHATURIAN: Suite No.2 from the ballet ‘Spartacus’ [21:48]
BARBER: Concerto for violin and orchestra [24:08]
SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No.6 in B minor, Op.65 [30:56]

Adrian Varela (violin)
London Shostakovich Orchestra/Christopher Cox
Recorded "live" 19 May 2001
DUNELM DRD0173 [77:19]
Reviews: C H Loh, DSCH Journal http://www.opus147.free.fr/reviews16.htm

Symphony No.7 in C major [‘Dedicated to the city of Leningrad’] [73:03]
London Shostakovich Orchestra/Christopher Cox
Recorded "live" 18 May 2002
DUNELM DRD0184 [73:03]


Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major, Op. 102: (‘To Maxim Dmitrievich Shostakovich’) [20:32]
Symphony No. 11 in G minor, Op.103, ‘The Year 1905’ [67:27]
Marina Primachenko (piano)
London Shostakovich Orchestra/Christopher Cox
Recorded "live" 9 November 2002.
DUNELM DRD0193 [2 CDs: 87:59]


Symphony No. 11 in G minor, Op.103, ‘The Year 1905’ [67:27]
London Shostakovich Orchestra: Conductor: Christopher Cox; Leader: Jonathan Lee
Recorded "live" 9 November 2002.
DUNELM DRD0193B [67:27]

Symphony No.4 in C minor, Op.43 [63:39]
London Shostakovich Orchestra: Conductor: Christopher Cox; Leader: Louise Lee
Recorded "live" 8 November 2003
DUNELM DRD0216B [63:39]

Concerto for cello and orchestra No.1 in E flat, Op.107 [28:46]
Symphony No.5 in D minor, Op.47 [55:33]
Jonathan Ayling (cello)
London Shostakovich Orchestra/Christopher Cox
Recorded "live" 15 May 2004
DUNELM DRD0227 [2 CDs: 84:19]

BBC Music Magazine, November, 2004, 13, Number 3, p.63

Symphony No.5 in D minor, Op.47 [55:33]
London Shostakovich Orchestra/Christopher Cox
Recorded "live" 15 May 2004
DUNELM DRD0227B [55:33]
Single CDs: £10.95 (inclusive of postage and packing in the UK)
Dual sets of 2 CDs: £16.95 (inclusive of postage and packing in the UK)

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