SHOSTAKOVICH: The Nose (Satirical Opera in Three Acts)
SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10. Symphony No. 15 in
A, Op. 141.
MAHLER: Symphony No. 8 in E flat "Symphony of a Thousand." Adagio from Symphony No. 10.
Here we have the auspicious beginning of a series of recordings by the Mariinsky Theatre and their conductor Valery Gerviev. Shostakovich was only 22 in 1928 when he completed his first opera The Nose. This satire is about Major Kovalyev, a government official who has the misfortune of having his barber cut off his nose and finds that the nose has a mind of its own—it wants its own political career. This opera is scored for a rather small orchestra: 30 instruments including domras, balalaikas and a flexatone. Each of the numerous characters has his own leitmotif, and there are traces of folksong and jazz. Many dazzling orchestral interludes include a stunning showcase for 9 percussion instruments between the second and third scenes. The performance is vivid in every way, a strong challenge to the only other recording of the work made in 1975 conducted by Gennady Rozhdestvensky, currently available on Melodiya. Gergiev's recording was made July 15-23, 2008 in the Mariinsky Concert Hall. Producer James Mallinson and recording engineers John Newton and Dirk Sobotka have done in magnificent job capturing the performances in spacious SACD sonics. This is a handsome presentation with profuse program notes and a complete libretto in three languages. Outstanding!
Gergiev's coupling of Shostakovich's first and last symphonies also is a brilliant success. Orchestral playing is outstanding, and again we have outstanding SACD sonics. As with The Nose, audio is broad and spacious. Audiophiles will delight in low bass that will test their woofers—production team is the same as for The Nose. Recommended!
Michael Tilson Thomas completes his traversal of Mahler's numbered symphonies
with this 2 SACD set of the Adagio from Symphony No. 10 and the gigantic
Symphony of a Thousand. The Adagio was recorded April 6-8, 2006,
Symphony No. 8 , November 19-23, 2008.This site mentioned SACD recordings
No. 8 conducted by Bernard Haitink (REVIEW),
R.E.B. (August 2009)