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Anne Shelley
Music Media Monthly, March 2013

SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: Symphony No. 8 (Nelsons) (NTSC) 709908
SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: Symphony No. 8 (Nelsons) (Blu-ray, HD) 710004

This disc brings us a moving performance by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra…Nelsons’ energy face-to-face is one of the greatest values of this production. The Rienzi overture hums with building intensity and bright emotion, and Strauss‘s Dance of the Seven Veils is a wild ride, but thankfully everyone keeps all their veils on. The Shostakovich requires a real commitment of attention and energy on the part of performers and listeners alike. This disc is one of very few video recordings of the Shostakovich available, and I highly recommend it. © 2013 Music Media Monthly Read complete review

John Quinn
MusicWeb International, May 2012

…I can give this present DVD no higher praise than to say that the music making preserved here is of the same exalted standard that I’ve experienced from Abbado.

The Wagner is done very well. It’s evident from his facial expressions that Nelsons delights in the Rienzi’s Prayer theme, which he takes pretty broadly—though the sumptuous, aristocratic playing of the Concertgebouw’s string choir justifies that indulgence. There’s not a lot one can do with the tub-thumping, Weber-esque allegro music except to play it for all it’s worth and Nelsons does just that. He leads a vivid, red-blooded account of the Dance of the Seven Veils, helped by some colourful and suitably seductive paying by the orchestra: the principal flute and oboe players offer particularly delightful contributions. Again, it’s evident that the conductor is relishing the music and the response of the Concertgebouw’s players.

This is a gripping, magnetic account of one of Shostakovich’s finest symphonic utterances. From start to finish the RCO offers peerless playing that seems completely in tune with their conductor’s vision of the piece. As for Nelsons, this is another significant achievement in his recording career. Up to now I’ve only seen him conduct when sitting in the stalls—in other words, he’s had his back to me. Seeing him now from the front it’s fascinating to watch how he communicates with the orchestra through gestures and facial expressions. This concert offers further confirmation that Andris Nelsons is a major talent. The audiences in Birmingham should make the most of him for surely it will not be too long before one of the world’s leading orchestras snaps him up.

It only remains to say that the camera work is excellent, offering unobtrusive but very interesting and varied perspectives on the performers. The sound quality is very good and people who play DVDs through their hi-fi system will get even better results than I did, I’m sure. In short, the technical presentation is fully worthy of this remarkable concert. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

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