Shostakovich: Symphony No 10

Howard Smith
Music and Vision (UK)

...In many instances emerging talents, coming fresh to the repertoire, have a commitment and degree of purpose that’s hard to match. Thus it proves with the Australian Youth Orchestra... Add to this Melba Recordings’ insistence on sonic excellence, authoritative notes, unsurpassed illustrations, quality packaging and the crème de la crème among Australian music students - no wonder the results are very special.

Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony (1951/53), his most popular, after No 5, is no easy work to tackle with true success...For this notable occasion the AYO was directed by peripatetic musician, Alexander Anissimov...

Shostakovich’s extended opening Moderato, in sonata form, begins with a whisper; from which the Australian players proceed with breadth, somber intensity and purposeful dignity. The youngsters have seemingly taken distressing post-Stalinist echoes to heart and the unyielding movement unfolds with inexorable menace and power.

For the Allegro Anissimov adopts a ferocious pace...There’s no doubting that the OZ ensemble is more than equal to such demands...

...their grit and exhilarating propulsive energy suits this music to perfection...

...flawlessly performed for this recording.

From its forlorn beginnings (2’28") the AYO’s concluding Andante-Allegro is a triumph...All the while we’re in the company of strings, brass, et al, worthy to hold their heads high among the best of the best...give me this Melba ‘Australian’ (2006)...Fair dinkum, you cobbers ‘down under’, your Shostakovitch 10 is choice and no mistake!