SHOSTAKOVICH The Age Of Gold Ballet Suite
& Symphony No.1
Jean Martinon Conducts The London Symphony Orchestra
(NM/NM) Vinyl LP
Record label/brand: RCA Victor/Classic Records LSC-2322
Classic Records deluxe audiophile premium vinyl pressing of the classic "Living Stereo, Shaded Dog" LP. This is the hard to find 180g version, much preferred over the later 200g editions.
London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jean Martinon. Producer: James Walker. Recording Engineer: Alan Reeve. Recorded in Kingsway Hall, London.
Sleeve is in NM (near mint) condition. Looks like new... no flaws or blemishes. Nice!
Vinyl is in NM condition. Looks like new and plays beautifully.
Review: A powerful feeling of ineptness can greet musicians when performing Dmitri Shostakovich's First Symphony. Technically, it is extremely difficult, and contains a musical sophistication that is quite staggering. The symphony was offered to the jury of the Leningrad Conservatory as his graduation exercise! Even today, the wealth of invention continues to amaze, more so when one recognizes that young Shostakovich's unique musical voice was already formed - a voice that continued to speak and develop in all his work, one representative of the essence of the gigantic struggles of the Soviet people.
This particular recording of the work is splendid. In fact, Jean Martinon and the London Symphony Orchestra present one of the finest renditions. Their personification of style, interpretation and ensemble are a trinity of near perfection. From the opening clarinet solo (Gervase de Peyer, perhaps?) to the closing orchestral fortissimos, the late fifties LSO shines gloriously. Strings have a beautiful golden sheen, woodwinds glow and brass resonate thrillingly. And the recording - simply spectacular! The Decca-sourced RCA displays Kingsway Hall to perfection, with its requisite Holborn/Aldwych "tube" rumble. By this account, London Transport were on time, the regular deep growling adding visceral pleasure to the audiophile need quotient.
As a filler, the Ballet Suite from The Age of Gold is representative of Shostakovich at his sarcastic best. The piquant orchestration is, again, performed with reckless abandon by the virtuosos of the London Symphony, with the famous oblique-styled Polka played especially well.
James Walker and Alan Reeve get the somewhat tricky acoustics of Kingsway just right. Imaging and the soundstage are exemplary, both adding to the splendor of the presentation. This is an example of what art as recorded sound should strive to be. A triumph for all participants.