Shostakovich – Symphonies No.5,6,7,8,10,11,12,15 + Presentation (Century’s rec. : Yevgeny Mravinsky)


The name of Mravinsky is one of the greatest conductor’s names of the 20th century. It is quire possible that none of the Russian musicians on the conductor’s podium ever won broader recognition at home and abroad. While acknowledging the unique authority of Mravinsky, we should note that his great art larked a culmination of the Russian conducting school in general. Indeed, the school had a short but boisterous evolution. ‘’Once when I was listening to music, I experienced the shock like there was a lightning bolt or a thunder bolt. The art should be shocking. Otherwise it is not the art’’. These words of Yevgeny Mravinsky have to be considered the motto of his creative life, its principal criterion. The greatness of Mravinsky is in his serving his art, the music, serving the creators of music, in the widest scale of tasks, which he set himself and other musicians who trusted him, in his continuous search of ideals and in the perfection of approaches, which contribute to the better realisation of them. The most appropriate personality to compare with Mravinsky is Wilhelm Furtwangler. There is much in common in both geniuses starting with (as a funny detail) the physical constitution. Both artists had a determined character and a creative will, both were able to re-create the whole complicated score in its integrity, finally the domination of ethical principles was their primary artistic tas. Both Mravinsky and his older contemporary Furtwangler belonged undoubtedly their time, their ‘’tragic’’ age. Each was his homeland’s son, who felt the destiny of his country and its people. At the same time each of them represented a timeless and ‘’boundless’’ phenomenon, with their art belonging to the world and peace, to the society and societies, to the civilisation and the universe. 1937 and 1938 determined the later route of Mravinsky’s artistic life, when he moved from a conductor of musical theatre over a podium of concert hall. In 1937 during the Decade of the Soviet music Mravinsky gave the premiere of the genial Fifth Symphony by Dmitri Shostakovic. In 1938 he performed again this ‘’mirror of the time’’ during the All-Union Competition of Conductors. He literally shocked audiences and jury which implicitly awarded him the First Prize. Since the collaborative work of Shostakovich started, each of them got fully equal rights inside this ‘’creative union’’. Shostakovich wrote about their work at the Fifth Symphony : ‘’I was submitted to detailed interrogation by Mravinsky. He asked about every measure, every thought, required a solution to any of his doubts. However, to the fifth day of our collaboration I started considering this approach absolutely justified. I gave more care to my work, while watching how seriously Mravinsky worked. I realised that a conductor should not sing like nightingale…’’ The acquaintance and close work with Shostakovich, the triumph at the All-Union Contest, finally the post of the chief conductor of the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra – all that determined a brillant future of Mravinsky. He has raised it up to the unprecedented level of mastery. Since that time the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra is always associated with the name of Mravinsky, with his art and artistic destiny. END

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