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Two bold scores by Dmitri Shostakovich are offered together for the first time. The symphonic suite of music written for Nikolai Akimov’s avant-garde staging of Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a reflection of the producer’s outlandish “funhouse mirror” version of the tragic tale. Shostakovich himself suppressed his Fourth Symphony for nearly three decades in the wake of ruthless political pressure following the premiere of his opera “Lady Macbeth” during the height of Stalin’s tyrannical reign and entrusted its debut in 1962 to Kiril Kondrashin, who unleashes the music’s vehemence and ferocity in a recording that is arguably definitive.

“Of [Dmitri Shostakovich’s theatrical] scores… Hamlet was made of sterner stuff. This music is close in spirit to the major works he was working on at the time; you’ll find many of the same textures and sometimes even the same music here. … Kondrashin’s Fourth was made shortly after the first performance and is altogether outstanding. It is both spontaneous and imaginative. … [I]ts intensity of feeling and refinement of detail are matched by recording quality of striking range for its period.”

-Gramophone

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