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Shostakovich's cantatas, like a good proportion of his symphonies, are usually seen as potboilers to keep Joe happy, so the texts are a bit toe curling! However the music is wonderful and Jarvi superb, so if you love russian choirs and don't speak russian, you'll enjoy these as much as I did Motherland and forests are particularly good
A generous collection of three large-scale choral works by Shostakovich, one (The Execution of Stepan Razin) a masterpiece, the other two less familiar because of their associations with Stalin. Putting these aside and listening to them with an innocent ear, 'The Song of the Forests', the longer of the two, is no propagandist paean, but reveals the voice of the composer most prominently in its third movement, Memories of the past, not far from the world of the Eighth Symphony. But it is the first work on the disc that makes the greatest impression, the defiance of the Cossack leader Stepan Razin, with its meaningful reference to those 'against the people'. We are not far from the ferocity of the Cossack letter to the Sultan in the 14th Symphony, and the sound picture of the first movement of the 11th Symphony.
The circumstances of this recording, made by an Estonian conductor with an Estonian orchestra and choir, have received much publicity recently, but these should not blind the listener to its sheer quality. I would pick out particularly the innocent quality of the boys' voices in the 'Forests'cantata, the sheer wall of sound, enforced gaiety and the eerie hushed orchestral playing following the beheading of Stepan Razin, and the singing of the two soloists. Enthusiastically recommended.
Note: No text has been provided with this recording. This is not really so vital for the second and third works as the notes provided offer a guide, but for the first work on the disc they are important. This link which I have found on the internet should provide Yevtushenko's text
Lo Shostakovich popolare di Stenka Razin ma anche i due "oratori" politici ed introvabili "il sole splende sulla nostra Patria" ed " il canto delle foreste" in un edizione nuova di Paavo Jaarvi. Tremendi i due oratori, politicamente corretti, musica di regime di cui si vegognava persino l'autore, inneggianti allo Stalinismo. Da conoscere per inquadrare un epoca gli opportunismi e le paure di un compositore. Saranno meglio comprese dopo aver ascoltato la famosa Quinta.
Bel enregistrement d'oeuvres finalement assez rares ; mis à part Kondrachine ou Svetlanov, peu de chef ont abordé ces cantates de circonstance à la gloire du régime. Paavo Järvi à la tête d'un ensemble superlatif réussit à élever le niveau des ces musiques somme toute assez mineures. Pour l'amateur de Chostakovitch qui n'a pas dans sa discothèque les deux références russes citées ci-dessus, ce CD à la magnifique prise de son, est absolument recommandable.
Without doubt the best CD Released in so far in 2015 .I enjoyed this so much that while deprived of the CD I paid for the Digital version also . The "Song of the Forests" is a definite highlight , but would argue that "The Sun Shines over our Motherland " has despite assertions to the contrary much musical merit .