add to wish list | library


7 of 10 recommend this,
would you recommend it?

yes | no

Support this site by purchasing from these vendors using the links provided below. As an Amazon Associate SA-CD.net earns from qualifying purchases.
 
amazon.ca
amazon.co.uk
amazon.com
amazon.de
 
amazon.fr
amazon.it
 
jpc

Discussion: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8 - Rostropovich

Posts: 7

Post by Windsurfer October 27, 2005 (1 of 7)
In reviewing the new LSO Live recording of the Shostakovitch 8th, Stvnharr says: "But the big crescendos are just too much “in your face” and just plain loud, almost like heavy metal loud."

Last Saturday night, in addition to hearing Julia Fischer essay an extraordinary, probing and beautiful performance of the Sibelius violin concerto with the Boston Symphony conducted by Paavo Berglund, we also heard the Shostakovitch 8th.

While the Boston strings were beautiful, (no hall I have ever been in flatters the sound of strings like Boston's Symphony Hall), the startlingly loud passages were nothing less than oppressive. The whole experience was enough to sour one's stomach...and I was sitting up in the second balcony about as far from the orchestra as is possible. (and very glad of it)

I suspect from Stvnharr's review that the sound of the LSO live disc is actually exceptionally good and in this instance, ironically, that may not be welcome, as most folks would prefer to be a little insulated from Shostakovitch's most violent outbreaks.

The important question for me is: Does the sound break up or get congested during these annoyingly loud passages? - Remember Shostakovitch's harmonic writing here is calculated to create a sense of unease, to terrify actually, so don't confuse harmonic writing that goes way over the top in terms of dissonance during horrifically loud passages with bad sound.

I hate to say this, but actually: Don't confuse purposefully bad writing with bad sound!

Post by stvnharr October 27, 2005 (2 of 7)
Windsurfer said:

In reviewing the new LSO Live recording of the Shostakovitch 8th, Stvnharr says: "But the big crescendos are just too much “in your face” and just plain loud, almost like heavy metal loud."



I suspect from Stvnharr's review that the sound of the LSO live disc is actually exceptionally good and in this instance, ironically, that may not be welcome, as most folks would prefer to be a little insulated from Shostakovitch's most violent outbreaks.

The important question for me is: Does the sound break up or get congested during these annoyingly loud passages? - Remember Shostakovitch's harmonic writing here is calculated to create a sense of unease, to terrify actually, so don't confuse harmonic writing that goes way over the top in terms of dissonance during horrifically loud passages with bad sound.

I hate to say this, but actually: Don't confuse purposefully bad writing with bad sound!

Windsurfer,
Are you familiar with LsoLive recordings? I have generally enjoyed them, first in rbcd, now in sacd. I did not overly enjoy this one of the Shostakovich 8th, for the reasons stated in my review.

In answer to your questions - the sound does not break up. There could be a sense of congestion in the loudest passages, but only because I don't turn the volume down a little. I like the loud passages to be loud.
I never stated that I thought this recording was poorly done. I never stated that the sound was bad. Though I think it could have been done a bit better. LsoLive has their way of recording, and they are not going to change it.
If you read some of the print/online reviews of this recording, you can read some pretty negative comments, much more so than mine.

Did you read my review of the Wigglesworth/Bis recording? Same music, same slow tempos, same dynamic range, same loud crescendos, different hall, different microphone placement, different sound.

Post by Windsurfer October 28, 2005 (3 of 7)
stvnharr said:

Windsurfer,
Are you familiar with LsoLive recordings? I have generally enjoyed them, first in rbcd, now in sacd. I did not overly enjoy this one of the Shostakovich 8th, for the reasons stated in my review.

In answer to your questions - the sound does not break up. There could be a sense of congestion in the loudest passages, but only because I don't turn the volume down a little. I like the loud passages to be loud.
I never stated that I thought this recording was poorly done. I never stated that the sound was bad. Though I think it could have been done a bit better. LsoLive has their way of recording, and they are not going to change it.
If you read some of the print/online reviews of this recording, you can read some pretty negative comments, much more so than mine.

Did you read my review of the Wigglesworth/Bis recording? Same music, same slow tempos, same dynamic range, same loud crescendos, different hall, different microphone placement, different sound.

Well, yes I am somewhat familiar with the LSO Live recordings, but not to the degree I would like. As I have indicated elsewhere, my main system is temporarily down and all I have heard in multi-channel was the Sibelius 3&7 disc and the Brahms 2nd serenade with Sym #3. The Sibelius I really liked, same for the Brahms Serenade. Later after disconnecting my multichannel system to run wires for the rear channels to the new in-the-wall equipment cabinet I am building, I received the Brahms 4th and heard it only in stereo upstairs with my Sony DVP9000ES/Onyko/Celestion SL6SI system and while that system is pretty forgiving, the Brahms Fourth disc was a pretty sorry affair with acrid string sound. I have read that the Barbican is a lousy place to record and the fact of these being "live" recordings probably necessitates closer miking than we would like.

You said :
"But the sound on this recording is what really sets in apart from the other two Lso releases, and in a negative way"

It is difficult to not find in those words a statement that something is wrong with the sound - that it is in some way bad - especially when you say the creshendos are too "in your face".

Well, I was merely relaying the fact that when I heard the symphony played live last Saturday, the experience was not enjoyable - those creshendos were in fact, "in your face" and the dissonance combined with the oppressively loud quality, made it all pretty unpleasant.

So your review put me in mind of that experience - however when in the above, you say there could be a sense of congestion in the loudest passages, that puts a different light on it, If this is due to overloading of some stage in your amplifier, that is one thing, if it is native to the recording, that is quite another. Then it reflects on the desireability of the disc in a major way... for those who actually want to expose themselves to such music, and I gather from your review of the Wigglesworth recording you are in fact such a person.

BTW I also like loud uncompressed sound, as long as it is clean and the writing is not viciously dissonant! Yeah - I think vicious is a good descriptor for those loud creshendos I heard last Saturday night, like I said, it was enough to sour ones stomach! But I still wonder which of the two recording represents more truthfully the reality of the sound the muscians were making. I'm not about to buy the discs to find out because I know that I didn't like the sound of the live event in a concert hall generally considered to be one of the two or three best in the world, and played by a world class orchestra.

Post by stvnharr October 28, 2005 (4 of 7)
Windsurfer said:


You said :
"But the sound on this recording is what really sets in apart from the other two Lso releases, and in a negative way"

It is difficult to not find in those words a statement that something is wrong with the sound - that it is in some way bad - especially when you say the creshendos are too "in your face".

Read into this what you wish, and perhaps it was a poor choice of words on my part. I just didn't think the sound on the 8th was as good as the sound on the 5th and the 11th. Quite a few other reviewers, in other places, thought the sound was not so good on either the 5th or the 11th recordings, but I thought it was really good.
Interestingly, the first couple plays of the 8th I found to be okay. But after receiving the Bis recording and comparing the two, well, I didn't like the Lso recording near as much. The sound of the big crescendos in the Lso was as if one was sitting in the first couple rows and just blastingly loud, while the Bis recording put one a bit farther away.
I've not yet had the good fortune to hear the 8th in a concert hall, though one of these days I'm sure good fortune will come my way in that regard.

Anyway, nice to have the Shostakovich 8th on sacd now, and with a few choices. Soon there will the Caetani recording available, and Pentatone will have a release in the 2006.

Post by stvnharr March 18, 2006 (5 of 7)
I wanted to post this as a new review to the one I earlier had posted, but seems that I cannot do that, so I will post here in discussion.

This is a follow up review to that that I had earlier posted. The reason for this follow up is that I have now listened to this recording on my other system, and it is quite a different experience. My first listenings were in my system with a Sony 2000ES player. The system can sound a little bright on some recordings, and I had big reservations about the sound quality of the Lso disc. I was essentially in league with many of the negative views on Lso Live recordings.
However now that I have listened on my system with the Marantz player, well, it’s a different story. This system in not at all bright, and the sound quality that I have heard on other Lso Live recordings is all there once again.
Systems can sometimes make a real difference to the listening experience!

Still even with the good sound, the performance is still the same, though I did seem to enjoy it a fair bit more in good sound. I still find the performance on the Teldec rbcd to be far better, though the sound is less.

Performance: 3½ or 4
Stereo Sound: 4 1/2

Post by Johnno March 20, 2006 (6 of 7)
One thing puzzles me about this whole issue of the Barbican Centre and recording the LSO there. Why are its acoustics so dry -- in other words, why didn't the architect(s) make a better job of its design from an acoustic point of view? Why doesn't there appear to be any means of lengthening its reverberation time?
The auditorium in the Michael Fowler Centre where I attend orchestral concerts is full of panels that were put through a lengthy process of adjustment until a reverberatiom time was reached that was generally considered a good compromise for different styles of orchestral music from the baroque and classical styles through to lush, late romantic and modern. Most people seem to think the results are a success.

Post by Peter March 20, 2006 (7 of 7)
Johnno said:

One thing puzzles me about this whole issue of the Barbican Centre and recording the LSO there. Why are its acoustics so dry -- in other words, why didn't the architect(s) make a better job of its design from an acoustic point of view? Why doesn't there appear to be any means of lengthening its reverberation time?
The auditorium in the Michael Fowler Centre where I attend orchestral concerts is full of panels that were put through a lengthy process of adjustment until a reverberatiom time was reached that was generally considered a good compromise for different styles of orchestral music from the baroque and classical styles through to lush, late romantic and modern. Most people seem to think the results are a success.

We'd all like to know the answer! In fact, the Barbican was "improved" a few years ago, but is still claustrophobic. And it's a pain to get to! This is the only LSO Live disc I have so far, and, while a close-up recording, sounds really very good. Unless you don't like to be so close, of course.

London audiences are hoping for an improvement to the RFH next year (opening delayed as asbestos has been found in large amounts).

Closed