Sunday, February 2, 2014

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 (Rodzinski)

Cover design by Alex Steinweiss
It's been quite a while since I have offered anything by Shostakovich.  Well, here is his most famous work, conducted by the man who gave it its American première (with the NBC Symphony in April, 1938) - Artur Rodzinski.  By the time this recording - the work's third, following ones by Mravinsky and Stokowski - was made, the United States had entered the Second World War as an ally of the Soviet Union, which perhaps explains the militant-looking cover art depicted above!  Moreover, between the time of the recording (in February, 1942) and its release (around October the same year), Shostakovich had appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine in his fireman's helmet in connection with the American première of his Seventh Symphony conducted by Toscanini, so he was very much the "man of the hour" among musicians in the public mind.  So Columbia must have figured they had a sure winner in this recording, and indeed it appears to have sold quite well for a contemporary symphony.  It usually turns up in terrible pressings made during the war from recycled shellac, but I was fortunate enough to find a copy made in the immediate postwar period:

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47
Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Artur Rodzinski
Recorded February 22, 1942
Columbia Masterworks set MM-520, five 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 96.98 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 69.31 MB)

2 comments:

  1. At 8:14 with the cut, it might very well have been a push to fit the 4th mvt
    onto two sides. So perhaps he did the LP with cut just because that's what
    he was used to....

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  2. Thanks so much for doing this. I cannot imagine how long it must have taken, and your care and explanation make this a valuable historical article as well!

    ReplyDelete