Kurt Sanderling, Berlin Symphony Orchestra – Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 (1992) [Japan 2004] SACD ISO + DSF DSD64 + Hi-Res FLAC

Kurt Sanderling, Berlin Symphony Orchestra – Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 (1992) [Japan 2004]
SACD Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 50:41 minutes | Front/Rear Covers | 1,42 GB
or DSD64 2.0 Stereo (from SACD-ISO to Tracks.dsf) > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | Front/Rear Covers | 1,23 GB
or FLAC Stereo (carefully converted & encoded to tracks) 24bit/96 kHz | Front/Rear Covers | 1,06 GB

Dmitry Shostakovich holds a place among the most important composers of the 20th century, and his Fifth Symphony is a symphonic masterpiece, which helped him secure that position. Kurt Sanderlings interpretation with the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester was louded by the composer himself. He was the first conductor to conduct Shostakovichs music following the ostracism of 1948. Sanderling’s wife Barbara, a double bassist with the BSO, stated that her husband had developed an unbelievable understanding of this music. It was providential that Shostakovich expressly confirmed what Kurt Sanderling had read into the music.

Some background may be helpful. After many years in the Soviet Union working primarily with the Leningrad Philharmonic, Sanderling returned to (East) Berlin in 1960 and until 1977 served as General Music Director of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra—not to be confused with the Berlin Staatskapelle (the orchestra of the state opera) or the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (of West German Radio). While Sanderling’s orchestra may lack the tonal refinement of adjacent Western rivals, it responds to his direction with impressive commitment. Lest everything sounds too carefully rehearsed, the occasionally raw winds cannot help but sound spontaneous and indeed authentic in this repertoire.

Roughly speaking, Shostakovich 5th performances fall into two broad categories: the unambiguously tragic, with slow codas to the finale, and the more ambiguously triumphant, with quicker tempos at the end. The best of the former include this recording, Rostropovich, and Maxim Shostakovich (Melodiya). while excellent versions of the latter include Previn (RCA) and Bernstein, among others. This isn’t to say that the entire expressive significance of the work hangs on the coda of the finale–not at all–but that crucial moment does provide a useful point of reference and comparison.

So if you are looking for the version that wrings every drop of existential anguish from the piece, then Sanderling is your guy. It’s not just that the coda of the finale is the most shattering on disc, with those repeated A’s hammered out in the violins and piano like a stabbing pain (sound clip), there’s also an amazingly intense, gripping, and wonderfully sustained Largo, with especially beautiful string playing, not to mention a first movement that opens like the crack of doom and never lets up. Even the more easeful second subject carries with it a benumbed sense of dread. Only the scherzo offers a brief hint of gawky humor. The Berlin Symphony Orchestra gives Sanderling 100% commitment, and the East German engineering, typically, is very impressive.

There are too many recordings of this wonderful piece to call any single version “definitive”, but this one belongs in the collection of anyone who cares about Shostakovich, and who relishes the most emotionally complete listening experience possible.


01. Sinfonie No.5 in D-Moll Op.47: I. Moderato. Allegro non troppo
02. Sinfonie No.5 in D-Moll Op.47: II. Allegretto
03. Sinfonie No.5 in D-Moll Op.47: III. Largo
04. Sinfonie No.5 in D-Moll Op.47: IV. Allegro non troppo

Kurt Sanderling – Conductor
Berliner Sinfonia-Orchester

Produced by Heinz Wegner. Engineered by Hartmut Kölbach. Balance Engineer: Eberhard Richter.
Recorded in January 19-22, 1982 at Studio Christuskirche, Berlin.
Avex Japan # AVCL-25284










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