Mark Wigglesworth's cycle of the symphonies of Dmitri Shostakovich has been evolving gradually
since its beginnings in 1997. First out was No. 7, the 'Leningrad Symphony', which Classic CD
Magazine described as 'a magnificent release in all respects'. Since then, Wigglesworth has offered
us a Ninth, Twelfth and Fourteenth all designated 'Benchmark Recordings' by BBC Music Magazine
at the time of their respective releases, a ‘Babi Yar’ (No. 13) described as 'probably the most
convincing Thirteenth to have appeared in the West’ in International Record Review, an account of
the Fourth in which the conductor, according to the DSCH Journal, proved himself to be
'unquestionably outstanding'... The list could go on, with the general verdict being that the cycle has
offered constantly interesting and often thought-provoking interpretations and striking performances.
Wigglesworth started his traversal with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, recording Symphonies
Nos 5, 6, 7, 10 and 14 with that orchestra, and in 2005 moved across the English Channel to
continue the project with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. It is the Dutch ensemble
that on this last instalment of the series perform the First and the Fifteenth, the alpha and omega of a
symphonic production that spans almost 50 years of the composer's life and more than perhaps any
other body of musical works reflects world events – the Communist revolution, World War II, Stalinist
oppression – and their creator's reactions to them.