For collectors of Shostakovich's film scores, volume three in Chandos' series will be in part a blessing and in part a curse. The blessing is that portions of four scores are given terrific performances in tremendous sound. Compounding that blessing is that while two scores -- Hamlet and Five Days and Five Nights -- are fairly well known to fans of the composer, two scores -- The Unforgettable Year 1919 and The Young Guard -- are fairly obscure even to fans of the composer. But whether well known or obscure, all the performances by Vassily Sinaisky and the BBC Philharmonic are first rate. Sinaisky, who has distinguished himself as a superb conductor of the Russian orchestral repertoire, and the BBC, which has distinguished itself as a superlative orchestra in just about any repertoire, plays with polish, panache, and palpable enthusiasm, and Chandos, which has distinguished itself with an excellent catalog of recordings of all sorts of repertoire, grants them big, colorful, and detailed sound. But the curse, while by no means lessening the quality of what's here, may nevertheless prove maddening for Shostakovich fans. Because even with terrific performances and tremendous sound of fairly well-known and fairly obscure music, their one regret will be that only portions of the scores are recorded -- and while it is grand to have seven and a half minuets from The Unforgettable Year 1919 and 10 minutes from The Young Guard, more would have been better. Still, for what it has, this disc can't be missed by listeners who have to have all the Shostakovich they can get.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Hamlet, suite from the film score, Op.116a (assembled by Atovmyan)|
|Five Days - Five Nights, suite from the film score, Op. 111a (assembled by Atovmyan)|
|The Young Guard, suite from the film score, Op. 75a (assembled by Atovmyan)|