Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 113 "Babi Yar" (Live)
In 1970, Riccardo Muti conducted the first Western European performance of Shostakovich’s 13th Symphony, a tape of which the composer kept until his death a few years later. This new live recording poignantly reunites work and conductor, who this time leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, bass soloist Alexey Tikhomirov, and male choir—all in electrifying form. Shostakovich’s settings of five poems by Yevgeny Yevtushenko—including the opening lament for the 34,000 Jews murdered in 1941 by the Nazis at Babi Yar—are dark and brutal. The remaining four poems, describing human bravery in the face of unimaginable adversity, encapsulate the fear and dread of living under Soviet oppression, and Muti brings a claustrophobic intensity and defiant dignity to Shostakovich’s alternately sardonic and angry music.