This recording marks the return of Mark Wigglesworth’s Shostakovich cycle. The series continues with the excellent Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, with which Wigglesworth has enjoyed a longstanding and successful relationship. The fruits of this collaboration are obvious in this recording of Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony – a work which the conductor in his own liner notes describes as ‘a poem of suffering’, quoting the composer. Although written at the turning point of World War II, and to the open disapproval of Stalin’s propaganda machine, the symphony is far from jubilant. Instead, the themes Shostakovich explored – albeit in deepest secrecy – were the pain and the terror which the Russian people had experienced during the pre-war years. Mark Wigglesworth’s previous Shostakovich interpretations have been highly praised for being “gripping”, “moving” and “compelling”. With the present work – containing what is “possibly the most terrifying music Shostakovich ever wrote” according to Wigglesworth himself – the emotional temperature is no lower, and is brought even higher through the great power and clarity of the Studio Master format new to this series.
Previous instalments in the Shostakovich cycle, all with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, are:
Symphony No. 7, ‘Leningrad’ (BIS-CD-873)
Symphony No. 5 · Symphony No. 6 · Symphony No. 10 (BIS-CD-973/74)
Symphony No. 14 (BIS-CD-1173)