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Dmitry Shostakovich
Symphony No. 8
1 CD | 66min | Nr. SWR19037CD
CD 1: » Dimitri Schostakowitsch: Symphony No. 8 c minor op. 65

One of the most important symphonies by Shostakovich. This is the fifth Shostakovich release featuring the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart and Andrey Boreyko. A wonderful, passionate performance.

Nowadays Dmitri Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony is universally considered one of his most important symphonic works, alongside Symphonies Nos. 5, 7, 10 and 15. As the second of his three war symphonies, it was initially largely overshadowed by the extrovert nature of his more accessible Seventh Symphony, also called the “Leningrad Symphony”.

After lengthy and intensive rehearsals, the Eighth Symphony was first performed in Moscow on 4 November, 1943 by the National Symphony Orchestra of the Soviet Union under the renowned conductor Yevgeny Mravinsky, to whom the symphony had been dedicated.

Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony is a complex and exceptional composition, cast in a language that is simple and easily understood. The music conveys different messages on different levels. Opting for just one of these viewpoints might facilitate an easier understanding of the work, but it definitely detracts from the music's fascinating diversity. The fact that Shostakovich had to convince the henchmen of party ideology that his composition was optimistic was purely and simply a question of survival. Listeners who did not believe in party slogans considered his symphony one of “epic suffering” and felt they were not alone in their perception of the world.