Wartime Music Vol. 7: 1941-1945

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Although this disc's aesthetic value is negligible and its historical value minimal, any sufficiently dedicated Shostakovich fan will want to hear it, not for the performance of the composer's Ninth Symphony -- a more cursory run-through would be hard to imagine -- but for the performances of Russian River and Native Leningrad. Both were war-time commissions for patriotic purposes, both clearly fulfilled that purpose through their rousing tunes and simplistic sentiments, and both have remained un-recorded since the invention of stereo. Not that the performances here are anything to write home about -- Alexander Titov and the St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra are able to perform these works, but they bring no more talent, skill, or enthusiasm to them then they do to the Ninth Symphony, and their performances can most generously be described as serviceable. Recorded in cramped gray sound that unfortunately suits the music and the performances, this disc won't be for everyone, or, indeed, for almost anyone, apart from listeners who absolutely must hear everything Shostakovich ever wrote.

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