Shostakovich: Under Stalin’s Shadow. Symphony No. 10. Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons. Deutsche Grammophon.
Shostakovich’s legend has become fact — at least for Deutsche Grammophon. The label has given Andris Nelsons’s superb new recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 the misleading title “Under Stalin’s Shadow,” evoking the heroic image of Shostakovich as the dissident composer, struggling against the oppression of the Soviet regime. Yet scholarship has essentially debunked the popular interpretation of Symphony No. 10, and its savage second movement in particular, as a musical summation of the brutal Stalinist era. The primary source of the legend, Solomon Volkov’s purported Shostakovich memoir “Testimony,” which is quoted on the CD’s back cover, is now considered a literary fraud by many scholars.
With the Latvian-born Nelsons at the helm of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the music emerges without exaggeration…
Read the full review here (Washington Post, October 9, 2015).