New release: Shostakovich Symphonies Nos. 1, 14 & 15 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra continue their Grammy Award-winning Shostakovich cycle for Deutsche Grammophon with their latest release of the composer’s first and last symphonies. Available for purchase in physical and digital formats on June 25, 2021, the double-disc album features the Russian composer’s Symphonies Nos. 1, 14 & 15 and the Chamber Symphony in C Minor.

This latest installment bookends the composer’s brilliant, often turbulent symphonic career. Nearly half a century lies between Shostakovich’s triumphant debut with the First, premiered before his 20th birthday, and the Fifteenth, an inventory of influences written under the shadow of his own mortality. Penned just two years earlier, the Fourteenth is a symphonic song cycle, and the Chamber Symphony is a skillful adaptation of that tragic masterpiece, the Eighth String Quartet.

“Our latest recording spans a creative lifetime,” comments Andris Nelsons. “Shostakovich was in his teens and making his way as a student at the Leningrad Conservatory when he began sketching the First Symphony. It echoes the spirit of optimism of the new Soviet society. But there’s also a manic tension in the music, perhaps a reflection of the energy-sapping work Shostakovich did to earn money accompanying silent films at the piano.”

The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Symphonies were written after the suffering and uncertainty of the Stalin years, the brutal war against the Nazis, and decades of dealing with cynical Soviet censorship and dispiriting bureaucracy. “Something universal comes out of his particular experience of anxiety, illness and loss,” observes Nelsons.“Shostakovich was not an egotist, he wasn’t egocentric. But after Stalin’s death in 1953 his music becomes more about Shostakovich himself.”

For more information and to purchase this album, please visit Nelsons‘ Recordings.

Photo: Marco Borggreve

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