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Mark Wigglesworth continues his Shostakovich cycle on BIS, performing with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir Symphonies Nos. 1 to 3
The First Symphony was in fact the graduation piece that completed his studies at the Leningrad Conservatory, but to quote Mark Wigglesworth, ‘Shostakovich’s trade-mark musical gestures are all immediately obvious’ and was an immediate success.
The Second and Third symphonies are still rarely performed in concert. At least nominally, there is a political theme to both works - the Second was a commission from the State Publishing House to honour the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution and The Third, with its subtitle ‘The First of May’, was a celebration of the international Worker’s Day.
Dmitry Shostakovich: Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10
Dmitry Shostakovich: Symphony No. 3, Op. 20, "Pervomayskaya" (The First of May)
II. Piu mosso
“I don't recall being gripped quite as much by this work as in this present recording by Mark Wigglesworth and his Netherlands forces. Their relish in the Symphony's vibrant kaleidoscope of characters and colours, all caught in a fine recording, hold your attention - even throughout passages that sound less than inspired in other hands. Wigglesworth and his musicians are alive to every inflection.”
“Wigglesworth coaxes a wealth of detail out of his players, and they respond with gusto and agility. These details are persuasive on the level of characterisation too, and the overall pacing is also well judged...Among many highlights are the lusty singing of the Netherlands Radio Choir - a more plausible impersonation of revolution-inspired workers than any I can recall from a Western chorus”
“These are gripping performances, reported in superb sound and if you want Shostakovich’s first three symphonies in a package you shouldn’t hesitate. Perhaps it helps that Mark Wigglesworth has recorded these early works almost at the end of his slowly assembled cycle; is he able thereby to refract these scores through his experience of the later works?”
10th June 2012
“This splendid Dutch band and chorus are persuasive advocates for the “socialist” Second and Third, but they shine in a by turns dazzling and soulful account of the ever-astonishing First.”
21st June 2012
“Wigglesworth's performance of the First Symphony particularly...seems intent on demonstrating how much that work does actually foreshadow what followed from the Fifth Symphony onwards...Wigglesworth and the Netherlands Radio Orchestra do a fine job in clarifying the tangled textures [of 2 & 3], and in making their choral finales seem a bit more than just propagandist doggerel.”