Thursday, September 23, 2010
Happy Birthday, Dmitri Shostakovich!
"Modern Russian Music"
Orchestre Symphonique de Paris conducted by Julius Ehrlich
Columbia Masterworks set M-347, two 10-inch 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 27.12 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 12.81 MB)
The other Shostakovich recording I present is of the Ninth Symphony of 1945, for me one of the most delightful of his fifteen symphonies. This is only the second recording made of it, by the New York Philharmonic (or, as it was called in those days, the "Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York") conducted by Russian-born Efrem Kurtz (1900-1995). It's a fine one, marred only by the extremely slow tempo that he takes for the second movement, probably resulting from an incorrect metronome marking in the earliest scores of the symphony published in America. It was released at the same time as the first recording, by Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony (currently available on a Biddulph CD). I've also included, as a bonus, a transfer of a single record by Kurtz and the New York Philharmonic, of a Shostakovich Waltz and a Prokofiev March:
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 9, Op. 70; Waltz from "The Golden Mountains"
Prokofiev: March, Op. 99*
Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York conducted by Efrem Kurtz
Recorded April 8, 1947, and *April 20, 1946
Columbia Masterworks set MM-688, four 78-rpm records and
Columbia Masterworks 12881-D, one 78-rpm record
Link (FLAC files, 82.33 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 41.48 MB)
Below I reproduce the cover art for the 78-rpm album of the Shostakovich Ninth (thanks to Buster, Joe and others for the advice on how to do scans of large record covers!). It's by the inimitable Alex Steinweiss, Columbia's art director during the 40s. Note the stick figures in the background: there are nine of them, to match the fact that it's a "Symphony No. 9" - a typical Steinweissism.