SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 9, Op. 70; PROKOFIEFF: Lt. Kijé Suite – London Symphony Orchestra/ Sir Malcolm Sargent – Everest 35mm mag film recording reissued as Classic Records

by | Jul 25, 2006 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 9, Op. 70; PROKOFIEFF: Lt. Kijé Suite – London Symphony Orchestra/ Sir Malcolm Sargent – Everest 35mm mag film recording reissued as Classic Records 3-channel HDAD2018 (CD/DVD-V audio/DVD-A audio), 46:36  ****:

This is the second Classic Records HDAD I am covering. To avoid having to repeat some of the basics about this special audiophile series, please consult my first review Here.

There are changes in the programming on this disc compared to the no-longer-available Everest CD reissue of the mid 90s. That one paired the Shostakovich 9th with the same composer’s 6th.  This one offers probably a bit more variety and interest to possibly more buyers by including the popular satirical suite by Prokofiev, Lieutenant Kijé – (however on the jewel box rear the composer is misidentified.)  The pairing also seems appropriate since the Ninth is rather witty in its own way, even though Shostakovich lacked the biting satirical vein often heard in Prokofiev. This was, surprisingly, the first stereo recording of the symphony.

The symphony has five movements and some of them are in the Neoclassical style used in works at this time by many composers. Shostakovich had been playing four-hand arrangements of Haydn and Mozart with his good friend Kabalevsky, and was in the mood for the Classical style. The slowest movement – the Largo – features a long solo by the bassoon, and the finale demonstrates the composer’s special humor in music, reminding one of some of his light music works which abound in high spirits. (He even did an arrangement of “Tea for Two.”)

The music of Kijé was originally a score for a 1933 Russian film depicting various tales about a mythical soldier. The cornet becomes a major instrumental feature of the five-movement suite, and saxophone is also heard.

Again I found the mid-90s CD and the newly-provided CD identical, and the three-channel playback a much greater improvement than going from Dolby to 96K to 192K resolution. These are both exceptional recordings;  the original Everest engineers did a great job and deserve to be honored alongside the Living Stereo and Living Presence specialists.

 – John Sunier

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