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Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Symphony No. 10 in E minor Op. 93 (1953) – version for piano duet [47:19] *
24 Preludes and Fugues for Piano Op.87 (1950/51)
Nos.1-8, 12-14, 16, 20, 22-24 [107:31]
Dmitri Shostakovich (piano)
Mieczslaw Weinberg (Moisei Vainberg) (piano) *
rec. Moscow 1954 (Symphony) and 1952-60 (Preludes and Fugues)
METROPOLE MONO 008 [76:35 + 78:16]


These are important recordings though well established in Shostakovich’s discographic canon. What’s frustrating is that Metropole has gone to the effort of issuing them without attribution, without researching recording dates with real accuracy and with only a few brief paragraphs introducing the discs – in German and English. Volume two will apparently conclude the series by reissuing the remainder of the Preludes and Fugues but since this is a confusing enough situation I should note the following:

Nos. 1-8, 12, 13 and 14 have appeared on Revelation Records RV 70001 whilst nos. 16 and 23 (1951), 17 and 18 (1956), 20, 22 and 24 (1952) turned up on Revelation RV 70003. Of the latter disc Nos.17 and 18 are missing from this Metropole, which does in any case consist of two very well filled discs. So we can assume that they will soon be appearing in the companion volume. I doubt they’d have access to the 1958 EMI composer recordings of Nos. 1, 4, 5, 23 and 24, which you can find on EMI CDC 7 54606 2 and EMI Classics 7243 5 62646 2.

By the reference to the “remainder” I mean that I assume Metropole will also include the recordings Shostakovich taped in 1960 - Nos. 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 16, 20 and 23, which have all been released on Le Chant du Monde LDC 278 1000.

You can gather from this that these particular performances have done the rounds and that Metropole, of whom I had not previously heard, has done some trawling amongst pre-existing material. They’ve also included the reduction for four hands of the Tenth Symphony Op.93b in the famous performance by the composer and Mieczslaw Weinberg (Moise Vainberg) made in 1954.There have been three CD incarnations to the best of my knowledge with both the companies above predictably active - Le Chant du Monde LDC 278 1000 coupled with the Preludes and Fugues as noted above. Revelation Records RV 70002 contained this performance as well, as did Yedang Classics YCC 0164. Apropos of little in this context you might like to seek out the 1992 recording of the reduction made by the powerful two-man crew of Gräsbeck and Zelyakov on Bluebell ABCD 049.

Sound quality has not improved on that of the other releases – I’ve not heard the Yedang so can’t comment on that one – and as already noted documentation is cursory. That said, these are profoundly important documents and invaluable as examples of Shostakovich’s pianism.

Jonathan Woolf



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