Shostakovich: Symphonies 9 and 10 (LSO Live)
If Gianandrea Noseda were not already music director in Washington DC and at Zurich Opera, he would probably be top of the London Symphony Orchestra’s wishlist to succeed the stop-gap Sir Simon Rattle in two years’ time.
Listen to the whiplash crack of the rhythms he elicits at the start of the Shostakovich ninth symphony, and you might be reminded of the young Riccardo Muti at the Philharmonia in the 1970s. Listen further to the ironic discordances of the Largo movement, and you’ll hear a unique fusion — a lyrical Italian with a sophisticated sympathy for covert Russian ambiguities.
Noseda served time as an assistant in Valery Gergiev’s opera company in St Petersburg. He went on to work for the BBC in Manchester before becoming music director of the Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy. Somewhere along the line he put in guesting stints with the Israel Philharmonic, the LSO and Pittsburgh. In sheer variety of experience, few conductors today can match him. In his mid-50s, he will be in contention for every major vacancy in the coming years.
These live recordings from the Barbican demonstrate Noseda’s tendency to go for a tight close-up when an individual player or section shines bright, and for a wider view when Shostakovich lapses into one of his mumbling equivocations and melancholic slumps. The 10th symphony loses a notch or two of tension in the finale and the recorded sound is constipated by the Barbican’s acoustic shortcomings. But the release gives us what we most crave right now — an experience, or at least a simulacrum — of live orchestral music in all its colours and frailties. You won’t be disappointed.
To read more from Norman Lebrecht, follow him on Slippedisc.com.
Get the daily arts news straight to your inbox.