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Shostakovich: Symphony No 4.
Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra/Mark Wigglesworth

Bis Sacd-1553

We don't listen again to Shostakovich's larger symphonies often, indeed we find chamber music more house-friendly. But his fourth (1935-36) is the exception; with its sharp Mahlerian irony and elusive message, it is the one of which I never tire. It has a chequered history, being withdrawn from planned premiere because of difficulties at rehearsal and pressure from the Soviet authorities.

Its eventual 1961 Moscow premiere, famously given by Kirill Kondrashin, was a great success, and Wigglesworth won the Kondrashin Conducting Competition in the Netherlands 1989... This account with the augmented Nederlands RPO (complete with the six flutes upon which Shostakovich insisted) is hugely persuasive, and the recording is magnificent, from climaxes which shake the house to the long, very quiet epilogue.

Wigglesworth provides a personal commentary which is just which is wanted; far better than a musicological exposition. And all printed boldly, black on white.

Recommended unreservedly, and I must catch up with their Babi-Yar, another of my favourites if not strictly a symphony.

Peter Grahame Woolf