Shosty five.....

Discussion in 'Orchestra / Solo / Chamber Music' started by gordygourmet, Feb 4, 2005.

  1. gordygourmet

    gordygourmet New Friend

    Sep 30, 2004
    St. Cloud
    Well, awesome again. As per usual. I hope St. Cloud's performance is a tenth as well done as Thursday mornings performance by you guys.

    I was wondering though, what you think of the tempos Maestro Vanska is taking. Especially the last movement.

    Bill is around the same tempos with us in St. Cloud. I like listening to the slower tempi, but playing them is another story :-?

    I will be back Saturday night, as I can't get enough of the wonderful sounds of the MinnOrch trumpet section. Damn it, you guys are very good. I am now plugging in my Yamaha Silent Brass to play some Shostakovich here in my hovel, er, apartment. Wow, I have never played this late before! See the inspirational effect you have!!

  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    "what you think of the tempos Maestro Vanska is taking? Especially the last movement."

    dear Patrick,

    Umm, yeah... that is one slow mother shutchyomouth.

    I've done it the slow tempo for the majority of my professional career but the award definitely goes to Osmo for the slowest. He said in rehearsal in his deep-voiced, Finnish accent, "Brass, I am sorry for your leeps, but this must be the tempo". His reasoning had to do with the correction of an old printing mistake, which, if you really think about it, makes sense. The final tempo mark has been regarded as quarter at 184. Well, guess what, sport fans? That was supposed to have been the eighth note at 184!

    So, move over, Lenny Bernstein and the wonderful old recording from the early 1960s. The fact is that even though the tempo is misinterpreted, it's a great old recording with a tremendous spirit and he makes a good case for that tempo. It was the tempo of choice among many conductors for a while because of that recording.

    But look at the bright side: since it's so slow, you have that much longer to rest in between licks! It works out better!

    Have a good show when it's your turn and thanks for coming. We'll see you Saturday!

  3. MahlerBrass

    MahlerBrass Piano User

    Oct 1, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Man I wish I could've been there to see that, that's one of my favorite symphonies. Now I may be WAY off here, but if I'm not mistaken, I believe Shostakovich's 5th symphony was written kind of forced through him because the Russian government had told him his music wasn't nationalistic. Rumor has it that Shostakovich was outraged with this, as they did threaten to hurt his music career and all, that he wrote the finale of the 5th to be taken one of two ways, on the fast side portraying kind of a comic value to the entire piece, as if to make fun of nationalistic pieces all together, or on the slow side to portray his true nationalistic characteristics. Again, I may be way off here, but that was once told from a very reliable source.
  4. James Smock

    James Smock New Friend

    Sep 30, 2004
    Pacific Northwest
    I have a couple of recordings of this piece with the Leningrad Philharmonic, Mravinsky at the helm.

    The first was recorded in 1956, and features a tempo of about 132 for the quarter in the last movement. It pretty much stays there the whole time.

    The second (I don't have it in front of me, c~1984) is MUCH quicker, closer to 140 at the beginning of the movement. Measure 5 features a staggering accelerando to 165ish for the quarter. Mravinsky puts on the breaks later.

    Of course, neither fo these recordings are as fast as marked...

    This piece stands up to many different interpretations, so I'm not knocking Osmo's temo. Considering that Mravinsky is pretty close to the source, though, I wonder what Shostakovich actually intended.

    Also, I have to wonder how much control Mravinsky was allowed by the Soviet regime. I don't know enough about it to make a guess.

    I highly recommend the 1984 recording. It's on Errato, I believe. What fiery interpretation and playing!
    From a (trumpet) listening standpoint, I lump this in with that BSO Leinsdorf Maher 5 with Voisin. Once you get past what we, with our homogenized expectations, are used to, the playing is qute fabulous.

    Any thoughts?

    James Smock
  5. robertwhite

    robertwhite Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Shostakovich's personal feelings about the Soviet Union, Stalin, etc. have been the subject of relatively intense scholarly debate for roughly 10 years now. The whole idea about the end of the Fifth being "like someone beating you over the head" comes, I believe, from "Testimony" - which appeared in the '70's as Shostakovich's "memoirs". The credibility of this attribution has been soundly rebuffed, but the idea sticks.

    Shostakovich's own son, Maxim - a successful conductor - has corroborated the interpretation of the Fifth being a semi-subliminal attack on Stalin, and that his father was a fierce anti-Soviet crusader in his private life. We can hardly blame his own son for fostering romantic notions about his father's role in history, but scholarship points in a less grandiose direction. Some scholars even assert that Shostakovich was very much a willing pawn of the Communist Party.

    That's life, I guess. Ambiguity everywhere you turn.


    PS - Kudos, James, on the Mravinsky reccomendations. Almost everything he recorded with the Leningrad Phil. that I've heard has been amazing!

Share This Page