Gustavo Gimeno conducts the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg in a fascinating survey of confident, assured and striking orchestral works by the young Shostakovich. This new recording for PENTATONE includes his breathtaking Symphony No.1 op. 10 – the student work which brought Shostakovich international fame.
While indebted to the Russian masters, Shostakovich’s early works nevertheless demonstrate his precocious brilliance, originality and flair and they offer an intriguing glimpse at the evolution of his distinctive, mature style. From the easy going and good humoured Scherzo op. 1, the Tchaikovskian Theme and Variations in B-flat major op.3, or the Stravinskyan Scherzo op. 7, his youthful vitality is never in doubt. But with his Symphony No.1 op. 10 he produced his first masterpiece and found his own distinctive voice. It’s a thrilling work full of sardonic edginess, pained introspection and dramatic outbursts, and closes with a barnstorming finale. Composed 10 years later, the aptly titled Five Fragments for orchestra op. 42 are short, pungent and austere pieces; the arresting style is modernist but the sound is unmistakeably Shostakovich.
Following his acclaimed conducting début with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2014, Gustavo Gimeno took up the post of Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg with the 2015/2016 season. An auspicious collaboration with PENTATONE followed in 2016 and three releases with the orchestra are planned in 2017. “His musical rhetorics are refined, his grip on the structure of the compositions is accurate and convincing” observed Joep Stapel in the NRC Handelsblad, “Gimeno knew how to keep the tension and made the musicians … excel.”