Accompanying the audio CD is a DVD of one of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's critically acclaimed Beyond the Score performances featuring a multimedia Shostakovich documentary led by creative director Gerard McBurney.The programme features newsreels and testimonies, including the words of Shostakovich and his friends. Beyond the Score brings to life not only the music, but also the social and political world from which it emerged.
A champion of Shostakovich's music, CSO Principal Conductor Bernard Haitink leads the Fourth Symphony, a dark and emotionally, groundbreaking work. It lay dormant, unperformed, for 25 years after its completion but now this stunning symphony is recognised as one of the composer's boldest and most brilliant scores.
Dmitry Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Op. 43
I. Allegretto poco moderato - Presto
II. Moderato con moto
III. Largo - Allegro
“With Haitink in charge of the Shostakovich, there can be no threat of exaggeration or distortion, no need to whip up a greater frenzy than the composer plotted. No conductor can make this long symphony short but this conductor keeps the lines taut and the climaxes proportional. This conductor makes the macabre spasms sharp, the sombre indulgences poetic… the final unearthly cadence was greeted with a small eternity of stunned silence. It meant more than any push-button ovation.”
“In a DVD accompanying Bernard Haitink's musically satisfying account of Shostakovich's Fourth Symphony, creative director and narrator Gerard McBurney and actor Nicholas Rudall compellingly spin out its greater Soviet and Stalinist context. Haitink's ken for large-scale tension leads to commanding, crunchy climaxes... With haunting passages by the woodwinds, especially clarinets, the angst and dread at the core of this... symphony come through.”
22nd August 2008
“account of the Fourth is masterly, underlining the work's claims to be Shostakovich's finest, the one in which his debt to Mahler is most vividly declared. It helps to have an orchestra as secure and rich-toned as the Chicago Symphony in music whose vivid colours and almost expressionist intensity are so important; Haitink ensures that the symphonic skeleton is boldly defined too.”
23rd August 2008
“This recording demonstrates the orchestra's keen response to the music's darker moments of rumination, its rhythmic and harmonic pungency and, through razor-sharp incisiveness of attack, its modernist leanings.”