April 3, 2015—The Boston Symphony Orchestra and Deutsche Grammophon have announced a new partnership that will feature a series of live recordings under the direction of BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons. This new recording initiative will launch with a project entitled “Shostakovich Under Stalin’s Shadow”, focusing on works composed during the period of Shostakovich’s difficult relationship with Stalin and the Soviet regime—starting with his fall from favor in the mid-1930s and the composition and highly acclaimed premiere of his Fifth Symphony, and through the premiere of the composer’s Tenth Symphony, one of the composer’s finest, most characteristic orchestral works, purportedly written as a response to Stalin’s death in 1953.
In addition to Symphonies 5-10, the project will also include performances and recordings of the incidental music from King Lear and Hamlet and the Passacaglia from Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. The recordings of these works will take place at Symphony Hall—one of the world’s most renowned halls for acoustical excellence—during performances scheduled in the BSO’s 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 seasons, all under the direction of BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons.
The first of the BSO’s five live recorded albums—to be released by Deutsche Grammophon in three installments between summer 2015 and summer 2017—will feature the Passacaglia from Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, the opera that appalled Stalin and propelled Shostakovich out of the dictator’s favor, and Symphony No. 10. The album will be recorded during the BSO’s upcoming concerts at Symphony Hall, April 2, 3 & 4, under the direction of Mr. Nelsons.
Andris Nelsons—born in Riga, Latvia in 1978, when it was still a part of the Soviet Union—is certain to bring a unique perspective to the performances and recordings of Shostakovich’s music. One of the last conductors trained under the Soviet music tradition, and having studied extensively in St. Petersburg, Andris Nelsons now represents the last of a distinct musical voice that is influenced heavily by both those great Russian masters and later by Western European masters of the core Germanic repertoire.