This latest volume of MD&G's ongoing cycle of Shostakovich symphonies continues to emphasize the excellent qualities of the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn under the equally able baton of Roman Kofman. The 1st and 6th symphonies are rather straightforward works but also include potential pitfalls which the conductor is wise to negotiate with caution.
The youthful First Symphony is given a thoughtful reading with the first movement flowing along quite merrily. I also enjoyed the fast pace in the Allegretto and the bleak desolation of the Lento whilst the concluding Allegro molto finishes up in a blaze of glory. Comparisons may be odious but this recording is up right with the very best and that also includes such luminaries as Kondrashin, Ashkenazy, Rostropovich and the rather excellent Skrowaczewski on Sanctuary.
The Sixth is perhaps a tougher nut to crack but Kofman is no less impressive here. The expansive Largo opening movement is well kept together although there are signs of some strain in the lengthy central passage where Kondrashin remains hors conceurs. Otherwise this is a tough, taut and extremely convincing reading that is highly recommendable.
As always, MD&G's recording is of the highest class throughout with the SACD version particularly enticing. Notes are also adequate and detailed. If you have started collecting this cycle then there is no reason why you shouldn't continue investing in it.
Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech