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SACD Review

Dmitri Shostakovich

Symphony #11, Op. 103 "The Year 1905"

Beethoven Orchestra Bonn/Roman Kofman
Dabringhaus & Grimm MDG9371209-6 DDD 64m Hybrid Multichannel SACD
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As the Shostakovich centenary has come and gone, MD&G have continued to issue instalments in their excellent symphonic cycle with the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn under Roman Kofman. This new edition features the 11th symphony, a programme work describing the bloody events of the ill fated 1905 Revolution, always a popular work amongst conductors and orchestras alike.

Kofman conducts with a no nonsense approach as has already been apparent in his other symphony recordings and he brings a palpable sense of mystery and tension to the First Movement aptly titled "The Palace Square". Although there have been more high tension recordings of this movement, notably by Kondrashin and Mravinsky, Kofman compares well with the excellent strings of the Bonn orchestra.

The second movement is also taken at a fresh pace and the events of the 9th of January flash along our eyes in a fleeting glimpse. The mournful Adagio which is the third movement is also passionate and extremely mournful whilst the brash finale "The Tocsin" has the orchestra clinging on for dear life.

Those who have been collecting this cycle will definitely not be disappointed by this fine issue although there are obviously superior alternatives from past legendary conductors which provide an altogether more engaging experience. Otherwise the fine MD&G sound and excellent presentation may tip the balance in favour of a purchase which will definitely not disappoint.

Copyright © 2008 by Gerald Fenech