Shostakovich Given a Virtuoso Treatment

The Russian National Orchestra crackles with energy throughout these symphonies.

Composer: Shostakovich Repertoire: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 9
Artists: Russian National Orchestra/Yakov Kreizberg
Rating: 3/5

Genre: Orchestral
Label: PentaTone Classics PTC 5186 096

You’d have thought that, after the Shostakovich avalanche of his 2006 centenary year, record companies might think that enough is enough for now. A likely story. Still, if you don’t yet have a recording of these two examples of genuinely ‘essential Shostakovich’, this one offers a real freshness of approach. The Fifth Symphony’s opening melody, for instance, is played with a loveliness that instantly grabs your attention; however, Kreizberg could let the same work’s wonderful slow movement flow more than it does here. He generates plenty of voltage, especially in the Ninth Symphony, where this fabulous Russian orchestra comes up with a super-virtuoso response.