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This Andris Nelsons - BSO account of Shostakovich haunts the mind long after audition / Classical Music Sentinel

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The booklet notes state that of his Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 54 from 1939, Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) said: "Here I wanted to express feelings of springtime, joy and youth." And that is readily apparent within the middle and last movements, with the final movement in particular sounding more like "Rossini meets Circus Music". And I love the way Andris Nelsons hams it up and really brings it home. But what about the long, extended 20 minute Largo that is the first movement. Aside from the one and only powerful climax at the 6:00 mark that Nelsons captures and projects exceptionally well, the rest of the movement is bleak and subdued. The main theme that precedes the climax is doleful, and everything else that follows is very mournful and predominantly quiet and soft. Most of it is scored for a couple of woodwind instruments that seem to be involved in a secret conversation, against a backdrop of extremely soft shimmering strings. Everything is hushed, as if the conversation must not be heard by whoever else is listening in the darkness. And Nelsons well projects this mood of secrecy and contempt being covertly monitored by the Soviet regime. I think it's one of the most typical and memorable Shostakovich statements, and this account by the Boston Symphony Orchestra is chilling, and haunts the mind long after audition.

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