“One of the successes of this recording is the feeling that these are unedited takes (the occasional studio noise remains as do some imperfections in the playing, none of which matters in the face of the musical gravitas) – the ebb and flow of paragraphs and climactic tension are organic and have a build-quality commensurate with the concert hall.”
“In the opening movement, Berglund & the RNO manage what others often do not - namely to convince the listener of the structure and the emotional narrative of the work….In short, this shattering music receives the playing it fully deserves here from Berglund and the RNO. This RNO focused series from Pentatone is fast turning into the most exciting cycle of the Shostakovich symphonies to be put down on disc and is easily the best recorded.”
“Pentatone’s excellent Shostakovich symphony cycle is shared thus far by three conductors: Vladimir Jurowski (Nos. 1 and 6), Mikhail Pletnev (No. 11) and this new issue with Berglund conducting the Symphony No. 8. Berglund might seem an odd choice to conduct Shostakovich, but he and the superb Russian orchestra provide a fine performance beautifully recorded.”
“Berglund and the Pentatone engineers have scored a triumph….Without excellent recorded sound, listening to this work can be even more painful than is inherent in the music. Pentatone has exceeded itself in providing surround sound in every respect as good as it gets. Highly recommended”
“There are now performances of this symphony for every taste, from the fast and urgent Caetani (Arts Music) to the very slow and grave second Previn recordings (DG), but none offer quite Berglund’s interpretive point of view, so there really is something new here for collectors to enjoy. The engineering also is very good both in stereo and multichannel formats, and the bottom line is that you may quibble with certain details, but there’s no question that Berglund delivers an intelligent, moving, and fully formed conception of this powerful and emotionally draining symphony.”
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