Shostakovich: Symphony No 10 in E minor, Op 93; Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Passacaglia from Act 2)

Reviewed on Fri 18 Sep, 2015

In its sustained concentration, sense of slumbering wonder, deep-rooted mystery, rhythmic snap, intrepid strength of character and exhilarating cumulative power, Nelsons's epic live performance from April 2015 really does pack a tremendous punch.

Here's the first instalment of three in a new Shostakovich series from DG featuring Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony. Entitled “Under Stalin's Shadow”, it will embrace Symphonies Nos 5-10. Prefaced by a thrillingly intense and superbly eloquent account of the Passacaglia from Act 2 of the 1934 opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, the Latvian's unhurried yet memorably lucid interpretation of the towering Tenth Symphony (1953) effortlessly joins the ranks of the very finest (Ancerl, Karajan, Svetlanov, Mravinsky, Neeme Järvi, Mariss Jansons and Vasily Petrenko). In its sustained concentration, sense of slumbering wonder, deep-rooted mystery, rhythmic snap, intrepid strength of character and exhilarating cumulative power, Nelsons's epic live performance from April 2015 really does pack a tremendous punch – and what a treat it is to hear the consummately articulate Bostonians firing on all cylinders for their dynamic chief (the woodwinds in particular cover themselves in glory). The recording, too, has genuine 'take you there' impact. Future volumes are eagerly anticipated.
–Andrew Achenbach