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CHAN 9522
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CHAN 9522

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10 · The Big Lightning

The Classical Shop
release date: October 2000

Recorded in 24 Bit / 44.1Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 1995


Russian State Symphony Orchestra

Valeri Polyansky

Dmitry Fadeyev

<nobr>bass (Semyon/Manager)*</nobr>

Tatiana Sharova

<nobr>soprano (Old Woman)*</nobr>

Vsevolod Grivnov

<nobr>tenor (Yegor/Tommie)*</nobr>

Anatoly Safiulin

bass (Bass solo/Voice from the megaphone)*

Andrei Baturkin

bass (Mayofel)*

Oleg Dolgov

tenor (Architect)*

Russian State Symphonic Cappella


Grand Hall of Moscow Conservatory


Valeri Polyansky


Igor Veprintsev

Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos


Total Time - 73:50
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Please Note: On Mp3 format an unavoidable click may be heard on segue track breaks, to avoid this issue please select lossless or better
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Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op. 93

  in e-Moll - en mi mineur  
1 I Moderato 23:24
2 II Allegro 4:43
3 III Allegretto 13:11
4 IV Andante - Allegro 15:00

The Big Lightning*

5 1 Overture - 1:52
6 2 Scene - 2:53
7 3 Song of the Architect - 3:54
8 4 Scene with an American - 1:48
9 5 Mayofel's Song - 2:16
10 6 Telephone Calls - 0:56
11 7 Semyon's Song - 0:59
12 8 Duet of Semyon and Yegor - 0:42
13 9 Procession of Models 2:12
This release continues Polyanksy’s on-going series of works by Shostakovich.

This disc couples the rare operetta The Big Lightning with the more popular Symphony No. 10.

There is only one other recording of The Big Lightning currently available.

The Big Lightning is an unfinished operetta which parodies several well-known tunes and was discovered in 1980 by the conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky.

Valeri Polyansky and his Russian forces are undoubtedly suitable exponents of this repertoire and have made an excellent series of recordings of well known and less familiar Russian repertoire on Chandos, all of which have been well received.

The time gap between the ‘little’ Ninth (1945) and the epic Tenth is the longest between any of Shostakovich’s fifteen symphonies. It was first performed in December 1953, almost a year after Stalin’s death and was a product of the ‘thaw’ that followed his death. The symphony was written quickly during the summer of that year, but had certainly been in his mind for a couple of years, and it had been anticipated in earlier works such as the First Violin Concerto and the Fifth String Quartet. Much of the fascination of this symphony lies in the composer’s Chekhovian use of certain idées fixes – for example, the personal motto theme, or the enigmatic horn call. The dramaturgical scheme (as Soviet musicology puts it) is, likewise, splendidly carried through. The first two movements are diametrically opposed: the long, questioning lyrical flow centring on E minor, which breaks out of its introspection and mounts to a towering climax before returning to its starting point, is set against the martial scherzo of the utmost violence and brevity in B flat minor – a blistering, spitting march that knows no bounds. The third movement introduces the composer himself with his DSCH theme. It may suggest relief in the more traditional form of a dance-scherzo 3/4 time, but its mood is suppressed and unstable. The finale begins darkly, with a searching recitative that heralds sorrow and anxiety. But the lightening of mood, which soon occurs, is only part of the contradictory forces that appear to the end of the symphony. In his youth Shostakovich was a prolific and brilliant dramatic composer, writing around thirty scores for the theatre and cinema. The Big Lightning remained unfinished and little was known about it until 1980 when the conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky found nine numbers in full score all belonging to what appears to have been the first act. Apparently, what survives dates from 1932 when the Maly Opera Theatre in Leningrad organised ‘artistic brigades’ to write ‘new Soviet operas’.

‘Polyansky’s keenly observed reading… is aptly rousing.’
BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 9476 (Symphony No. 11)

‘I have a hot-and-cold relationship with this piece, and the Chandos disc made me warm to it again. I can recommend it enthusiastically.’
Fanfare on CHAN 9621 (Symphony No. 7)

‘The Russian State Symphony Orchestra play rousingly for Polyansky…’
Classic FM on CHAN 9585 (Symphony No.12)

K Bradwell

M Pearson