Bavarian Radio Symphony - Mariss Jansons
It is odd to see the Red Star is still flying and odder still to see it flying on the cover of this 2004 recording of Shostakovich's Fourth by Mariss Jansons and the Bayerischen Rundfunks Sinfonie-orchester. The Fourth, as Shostakovich aficionados know, was the symphony Shostakovich withdrew after he and his modernist music were denounced on the cover of Pravda, marking Shostakovich and his music as anathema. The Fourth, while not a virulently anti-Soviet work like the Thirteenth, is still a glowering piece of musical modernism that would certainly have gotten Shostakovich liquidated by the government had it been premiered when it was composed instead of a quarter of a century later.
These days, with the USSR a fading memory even to Cold Warriors, the Soviet as well as the modernist implications of the work are lost on the younger generation of listeners. Thankfully, Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony bring all the frightful terror, all the hideous irony, all the bitter despair, all the aggressive rhythms and the angular structures and the agonized themes of the work back to life. Jansons, one of the finest living conductors and an old hand at Shostakovich, turns in a massive, monumental, and maniacal interpretation and the Bavarian Radio Symphony plays with polish, precision, and apparently in absolute fear for its life. EMI's sound will crush your bones to paste and your brains to jelly. In the Fourth, this is appropriate.
Симфония № 4
Symphony 4 др. исполнение
Симфония № 4 c-moll, ор. 43 (1935-1936). Премьера - 30 декабря 1961, Москва, Большой зал Консерватории. Оркестр Московской филармонии, дирижёр К. Кондрашин
Симфония № 4 до минор, соч. 43 - симфония Дмитрия Шостаковича.
Написана в 1934-1936 годах. Премьера была запланирована на 11 декабря 1936 г., симфонию должен был исполнить оркестр Ленинградской филармонии под управлением Фрица Штидри. Однако композитор снял симфонию с репетиций - возможно, под влиянием резкой критики другого своего произведения, оперы "Катерина Измайлова", в статье "Сумбур вместо музыки".
Во время блокады Ленинграда партитура симфонии была утеряна. В 1946 г. Шостакович по сохранившимся у него наброскам переписал материал для двух фортепиано. Затем в ленинградских библиотеках были обнаружены сохранившиеся партии всех инструментов. Впервые симфония исполнена 30 декабря 1961 г. оркестром Московской филармонии под руководством Кирилла Кондрашина.
Dmitri Shostakovich composed his Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Opus 43, between September 1935 and May 1936, after abandoning some preliminary sketch material. In January 1936, halfway through this period, Pravda-under direct orders from Joseph Stalin-published an editorial 'Muddle Instead of Music' that denounced the composer and targeted his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Despite this attack, and despite the oppressive political climate of the time, Shostakovich completed the symphony and planned its premiere for December 1936 in Leningrad. At some point during rehearsals he changed his mind and withdrew the work. It was premiered on 30 December 1961 by the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra led by Kirill Kondrashin.
The work is in three movements and lasts approximately one hour. The outer movements each last 25 minutes or more, while the middle movement only takes some eight or nine minutes. This very unusual proportional design represents only one of the larger challenges that face any listener who casually attempts to penetrate the surface of the work and perceive its inner workings.
I. Allegretto, poco moderato - Presto - Tempo 1
If the first movement of a symphony is to be expected as following the rules of traditional sonata form fairly closely, then the Fourth Symphony's opening movement initially comes across as a disorienting surprise. Closer examination reveals what has been described as "a hide and seek relationship with sonata form." Even more detailed study shows that Shostakovich is using his favored version of sonata form, wherein the recapitulation presents the material from the exposition in reverse order. The composer's very effective obscuring of this approach makes understanding the movement's structure quite difficult compared to most of his other symphonies. Th
Because of the many elements that conceal, the movement seems to be little more than a free fantasia consisting of almost nothing except development, making the true arrival of the second theme and the development section especially difficult to ascertain. The crazed, high-speed fugato for the strings that appears partway through the development section is probably the most extreme example in the movement of thematic development seemingly unrelated to the main material, even though it actually has its roots in the first theme.
II. Moderato, con moto
This movement is a Mahler-like landler/intermezzo in rondo form where two contrasting themes appear in alternation, both being imaginatively transformed and recombined upon their variant returns. At times the movement recalls the scherzi from Mahler's Second and Seventh symphonies, even down to details of scoring or melodic shape. The movement ends with the final statement of the first theme accompanied by a remarkable "ticking" passage for castanets, wood block, and snare drum.
III. Largo - Allegro
The answers to most structural questions in the first movement become reasonably evident after sustained investigation, while such questions hardly exist in the second movement. The third movement, although comparable in scope to the first, superficially appears to offer fewer problems to the listener. Yet serious study, far from providing ready answers or even any confirmation of hunches, often serves only to heighten perplexity. Does the movement have four reasonably self-contained sections? Five? Is there some other general architectural plan in place? How self-contained are the sections? Just where do sections begin and end? What differentiates sections? How do sections relate to one another? The questions persist and do not get completely resolved even after one has settled upon a provisional structure-which may well not match another person's resolution.
The shadow of Mahler looms large behind the entire symphony, nowhere more so than in the opening minutes of the finale. This formidable and occasionally somewhat bitter funeral march ultimately leads into a lengthy series of fast-moving episodes frequently dominated by a feeling of the waltz. These episodes cover a wide range of moods, now light-hearted, now pensive, now ironically silly, now ambiguous-and they often combine more than one of these at a time-but all suggest dance rhythms in one way or another. The last section of the movement, appearing after all sense of the dance has evaporated, recalls aspects of the opening funeral march but reverses it (by beginning loud and ultimately dying away) and gives it an emotional intensity nearly unrivalled in Shostakovich's output.
The range of expression to be found here represents another confounding element. This has led some to see the final movement operating at a far deeper level than the preceding two, not only in range and complexity of feeling but also in quality of imagination, while others have not been so convinced by the apparent hodgepodge of styles. Hugh Ottaway, for example, called the close "a magnificent non sequitur".