BBC Music Magazine



Symphony No. 5

NDR Elbphilhar­monie Orchestra/ Krzysztof Urbánski

Alpha Classics ALPHA 427 46:16 mins ‘Shostakovi­ch’s Fifth is without doubt one of the greatest symphonies ever written.’ Krzysztof Urbánski evidently speaks for many of his peers: the catalogue is stuffed with outstandin­g recordings. Still, his unfolding of the long first movement, with its many tempo changes, as a single unified sweep is most impressive, as is the hushed desolation he achieves in the third movement. Maybe his account of the post-mahlerian Scherzo lacks quite the savage bite of certain other versions, but his interpreta­tion of the opening stretch of the finale not as a resurgent gathering of the masses, but as an increasing­ly frantic flight, suddenly confronted by the brutality of power, is terrifying. The NDR Elbphilhar­monie Orchestra responds with all due intensity.

Alas, the recorded sound is both slightly recessed and reverberan­t, so that searing tuttis tend to get fuzzed by extraneous resonance while some of the quieter string textures lack presence – the first violins’ high tremolo F sharp in the final bars of the slow movement is inaudible. Whether this is the result of too-distant miking or of still problemati­c acoustics in the new Elbphilhar­monie hall is hard to tell. Bayan Northcott



 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom