Paavo Järvi

Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10; Veljo Tormis: Overture No. 2

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This is, believe it or not, Paavo Järvi's first recording of a symphony by Shostakovich. For an ambitious conductor whose repertoire ranges from Beethoven to Tüür, it is somewhat surprising that he has so far bypassed these standard repertoire works. Given the range of quality in the younger Järvi's recordings, one could expect anything in his Shostakovich from his Prokofiev's kinetic excitement to his Nielsen's wayward tempos. Perhaps surprisingly, Järvi delivers a no-nonsense reading of the composer's Tenth Symphony, an account of manifest integrity that has no truck with cheap tricks, but instead concentrates on the work's thematic development and formal drama. Järvi's tempos are neither too fast nor too slow, but just right, allowing him room to articulate the lines and harmonies but always with enough forward motion to keep the music relentlessly driving onward even in the work's slowest pages. Many listeners may already have favorite recordings of this popular work -- the iron-fisted Mravinsky with the unsurpassed Leningrad Philharmonic tops many Shostakovich fans' lists -- so for them Järvi provides an attractive coupling: Veljo Tormis' brilliantly effective Overture No. 2. Plus, of course, Telarc provides Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony with astoundingly vivid digital sound that easily surpasses the hollow sound Melodiya provided the Leningrad Philharmonic.

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