THE SCORE CONTAINS musical clues that can help us decipher Shostakovich’s intentions.
First, I think this performance is either one of the best or is the best available, more subtle and effectively pointed than any I've heard--Lenny or Giergiev or Mavrinsky. It makes a very convincing case for the music and for what is probably behind it. I prefer MTT's tempo in the coda of the finale over Lenny's, because MTT's slower, and ironically, more traditionally slow tempo illustrates the line from "Boris Goudinov" by the Boyars to the people, "Rejoyce! Your job is rejoycing!" In "Testament," Shostakovich is supposed to have said that the final pages of the symphony are like the Boyars in "Boris," beating and whipping the people to rejoyce for the new tzar, and, in fact, I believe Shos. quotes part of "Boris" in the slow movement of his work. Whether one is convinced by any of this or not, MTT certainly makes an excellent case for looking and listening to this symphony with new ears and hearing it anew. By the way, most Soviet-era conductors spoke of this work as being a kind of challenge to Stalin, or something of the sort.
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