Wednesday, November 25, 2009

D. Shostakovich - Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6: Oleg Caetani - Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano. DVD-Audio

    Artist: Oleg Caetani - Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Guiseppe Verdi
    Album: Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6 (original 24-bit / 96 kHz surround recording)
    Released: 2003  
    Label: Arts
    Catalog N°: 45001-6
    Genre: Classical
    File Format: DVD-Audio, DVD5, DVD-Decrypter ISO, scans complete. 3.67GB

    On this DVD: (Live recording 2001-2002)

    1. Symphony no 5 in D minor, Op. 47 by Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
    Period: 20th Century
    Written: 1937; USSR  Length: 46 Minutes 35 Secs.  
    2. Symphony no 6 in B minor, Op. 54 by Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
    Period: 20th Century
    Written: 1939; USSR  Length: 29 Minutes 55 Secs..

    There are two ways to approach this extraordinary disc. You can note in passing that these are live performances and as such are susceptible to the occasional slight imprecision (most notably the solo violin lead-in to the recapitulation of the Sixth symphony's finale), or you can forget about such things and simply be swept up, as I was, by the visceral excitement, brilliance, passion, and urgency of these "pedal to the metal" performances. The Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, led by Riccardo Chailly since 1999, is a very fine one, particularly when the players are all clearly giving 100 percent, as here. Oleg Caetani also evidently has a strong affinity for this music, offering the kind of raw, over-the-top intensity characteristic of the finest Russian performances.The Fifth symphony features extraordinary work from the cellos and basses, and this gives the first movement's opening pages, the scherzo, and the climax of the largo exceptional weight and impact. But Caetani also knows exactly how this music should go, working the first movement up to a huge climax, projecting the scherzo's gawky lyricism without mannerism but with maximum color and bite, and quite simply blowing the roof off of the concert hall in the finale (the bitterness and "false optimism" of the coda are projected as strongly as, for example, in Kurt Sanderling's performance for Berlin Classics). The same qualities also apply to the Sixth symphony: a first movement (like the Largo of the Fifth) of uncommonly hushed intensity; one of the most forceful and rhythmically taut scherzos since Berglund's celebrated EMI recording; and a finale that quite simply manages the most satisfying ending that the work has ever received on disc.
    Sonically these live productions have no peer: they are recorded with absolutely stunning fidelity in a conductor's up-close perspective that's the last word in sonic brilliance. Rich, deep, and warm bass frequencies plant the orchestra firmly in your listening room, while the top gleams without ever turning shrill. This deserves to become an audiophile demo disc if ever there were one. As the first installment in a projected Shostakovich symphony cycle, however unlikely the source, this release couldn't possibly be more auspicious, and if you love Shostakovich I urge you to put any doubts that you may harbor behind you and listen without prejudice. You'll be amazed. [9/27/2003]
    --David Hurwitz,
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