The “Last Aristocrat” of the Soviet Era

Alto returns to international availability podium giant Evgeny Mravinsky‘s titanic recording of Shostakovich’s anguished aural portrait of the Soviet Union at war.

Evgeny Mravinsky (1903-1988) was born into a family of Russian aristocrats — yet not only survived but thrived in the Soviet era by virtue of his enormous talent, masterful management skills, and dedication to Russian and Soviet orchestral works. His recording career actually spanned six decades — but is comparatively spare.

Mravinsky’s late recordings are of enormous interest as they captured the Leningrad Philharmonic in often excellent sound. This recording of Shostakovich‘s Symphony No. 8, written in the closing years of World War II and depicting the horrors of a nation still fighting off a near-genocidal invasion by Nazi Germany, was made in 1982 and first appeared on Philips in both vinyl LP and later in CD format, but did not last long in the catalog despite a slew of rave reviews (with many reviewers not noticing that the recording had been transferred at the wrong speed). Brief appearances on other labels have made this recording one of the most sought-after Mravinsky CDs. Alto returns this sensational recording — impeccably transferred from archival originals, correctly pitched, and praised by Musicweb International as “an excellent choice at bargain price and is unmissable if you crave the authentic Soviet tradition”, to the international catalogue.

You can find the full details on this release here.