Dabringhaus & Grimm is recording a complete set of Shostakovich symphonies with this partnership and from first evidence, we are in for some fine interpretation. My selected comparison was the recent WDR set featuring he great Rudolf Barshai who is also highly recommendable in these works.
Much has been said about the connection with Stalin in this symphony but Kofman is taking no prisoners and conducts the work in splendid fashion. His fast tempi add to the urgency and vitality of the music with the Bonn orchestra responding in kind. The massive opening movement never falters and even Mravinsky's various versions do not eclipse Kofman's musicality.
The biting Allegro is also winningly done with the pen portrait of the great dictator coming across as particularly savage. Kofman also finds a palpable sense of mystery in the Allegretto whilst the concluding Andante is also very committed. Barshai is also qite good in his movement so he choice between the two is certainly a matter of taste.
Dabringhaus & Grimm scores over their rivals with various essays on the work and some historical recollections that make extremely interesting reading. Karajan still remains very valid in this work as do Mravinsky and the hard to find Kondrashin. However Kofman is now one of the most desirable versions available in the current market.
Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech