Appearing hot on the heels of Riccardo Muti’s memorable recording of “Babi Yar” with the Chicago Symphonycomes this latest instalment in the Russian National Orchestra’s Shostakovich cycle, conducted on this occasion by Kirill Karabits. Although approaching Yevtushenko and Shostakovich’s ironic excoriation of Russian society thoughtfully and carefully, this new recording seems poles apart from Muti’s account in several important respects.

Clocking in at just over 58 minutes, it is one of the fastest performances on disc, while Muti probably holds the record for one of the slowest, at over 68 minutes. Karabits’ faster tempi suit the moods of the second and fifth movements particularly well. Humour’s “jaunty dance” is exactly that, and the finale’s bizarre mix of the hearty and the surreal has a true sense of direction.

In the remaining three darkly ominous movements the overall emotional effect is less consistent. Karabits elicits some fine playing in the brass and winds and is at pains to bring out a wealth of orchestral detail. At times, however, the engineering seems to rob the cumulative weight...

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