Andris Nelsons / Boston Symphony Orchestra DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH Symphonies Nos. 5, 8 & 9 - Suite from "Hamlet"
. . . played with insight and panache . . . [the performance Andris Nelsons] coaxes from his musicians is at the highest level and the deep soundstage of the recording makes it an excellent album for headphones . . . [Shostakovich 5]: Nelsons conducts with a storyteller's eye for detail. A passage near the end of the first movement . . . is dramatically poignant. In Nelsons' transparency, the soft pluck of a harp and the ping of a glockenspiel come into focus. Even menacing moments are judged for clarity . . . [Shostakovich 8]: Nelsons has a way with the BSO woodwinds as well . . . piccolos glare, double reeds converse in intimate asides and English horn player Robert Sheena gets plenty of space to breathe in his plaintive first movement solo . . . [Shostakovich 9]: [Nelsons lets] the BSO strings dance and sing while the brass wink and snarl . . . (Tom Huizenga / 19. May 2016)
[Shostakovich 9]: A stern-sounding fanfare -- the BSO horns have played brilliantly of late under the direction of the former trumpeter Nelsons -- makes the fourth movement, Largo, sound dramatic, but not tragic. The finale is a piece of concluding genius, played with professional exuberance . . . [Shostakovich 5]: The music is gripping, innately classical in concept, and full of originality. From the opening . . . listeners are engaged. (Keith Powers / 26. May 2016)