Dmitri Shostakovich – Symphony No. 9 E-flat Major / Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and String Orchestra No. 1 C minor
BR-KLASSIK presents Shostakovich's Concerto for Piano and Trumpet No. 1 together with the Ninth Symphony on Vinyl. The Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks plays under the baton of its long-time principal conductor Mariss Jansons. With the internationally sought-after pianist Yefim Bronfman, Hannes Läubin plays the trumpet solo part. The two live recordings were made in 2011 and 2012.
“Increasingly, Shostakovich’s music is captivating people all over the world and appealing to their deepest emotions. Almost like no other, it bears witness to a traumatic political epoch while remaining a timeless expression of existential human feeling and experience. For me personally Shostakovich is one of the most serious and sincere composers of them all.”
Now BR-KLASSIK is releasing two more outstanding performances by this important Soviet-Russian composer: his impressive Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and String Orchestra, and his Ninth Symphony – performed live by the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under its long-time principal conductor Mariss Jansons.
Shostakovich’s first piano concerto features impressive pianistic virtuosity, bold experimentation, satire, and caricatures of different musical styles. The composer wrote it in the summer of 1933, only a few weeks after the completion of his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. He himself called it a “mocking challenge to the conservative-serious character of the classical concert attitude”. This concerto in particular demonstrates the immense versatility and magnificent talent of the still carefree 26-year-old Shostakovich. He blends a wealth of musical thoughts and ideas into a colourful and fascinating kaleidoscope. He alludes to themes by Haydn and Beethoven, demands Lisztian virtuosity and a supreme command of the instrument from the pianist, and evokes romantic moods which he deflates again almost immediately with masterly humour. Despite this wealth of different stimuli, the concerto does not seem chaotic or overloaded: the young composer effortlessly maintains the balance.
Shostakovich performed a similar (but this time highly dangerous) balancing act between creative work and conformity to the state in his Ninth Symphony, which premiered on November 3, 1945 in front of a disappointed, perplexed audience in Moscow. Instead of the expected heroic, regime-conformist orchestral thunder along the lines of his Seventh Symphony, the “Leningrad”, the music heard here was playful, without pathos, somewhat witty, full of allusions – yet something did not seem quite right. This musical conundrum, full of ironic refractions and caricatures of melodramatic and triumphant music, was recognized by the censors as a masquerade, yet one that was not easily decipherable. Shostakovich had mocked Stalin without the latter noticing.
Mariss Jansons, an acknowledged expert in the Slavic repertoire as well as in the symphonic music of the 19th and 20th centuries, presented these two brilliantly playful works to concert audiences in Munich and Vienna: the Piano Concerto was recorded in October 2012 in the Herkulessaal of the Munich Residenz, and the Ninth Symphony in March 2011 in the Great Hall of the Vienna Musikverein. – The solo part was played by the internationally sought-after pianist Yefim Bronfman, who has been praised repeatedly for his exemplary interpretations of Shostakovich’s piano concertos. At his side, Hannes Läubin took over the solo trumpet.
Yefim Bronfman, piano
Hannes Läubin, trumpet
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Mariss Jansons, conductor
BR-KLASSIK LP 900204
Total Time: Side A – 24:55 / Side B – 23:38
- Reference recording of Shostakovich’s Concerto for Piano and Trumpet No. 1 together with his Ninth Symphony
- Recording of a Munich concert from October 2012, and one from March 2011 from the Great Hall of the Vienna Musikverein
- The Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks plays under the baton of its long-time principal conductor Mariss Jansons, a proven expert in the Slavic repertoire
- The internationally sought-after pianist Yefim Bronfman is highly regarded for his exemplary interpretations of Shostakovich’s piano concertos. At his side, Hannes Läubin