Prague Symphony Orchestra

Václav Smetáček

The Royal Festival Hall, London

Recording: 6th March 1968

Editor of Fanfare

“I’ve heard the [OCCDs Shostakovich] 10th several times, and agree that it’s exceptional; better than any others I’ve heard. (I believe that the first time I bought it on LP was on DG with Karajan, which was exciting, but nothing like yours.)”
Joel Flegler (publisher and editor of Fanfare), private correspondence, 30th December 2009

MusicWeb International

“The Royal Festival Hall is a notoriously unforgiving acoustic which especially at this time had a problematic, dry clarity. Nevertheless with canny and practised microphone placement this recording captures fidelity without undue spotlighting. It also captures the full complement of strings that the Prague orchestra took with them.”

“This fine performance, extremely well captured in sound, is a most worthwhile addition to the discography of the Tenth.”
Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International, March 2012

International Record Review

“Smetáček was a fine conductor and here he shows an outstanding grasp of the long symphonic span of the first movement and a gripping, frenetic kind of urgency when it’s called for elsewhere. The orchestra plays with tremendous clarity and attack (as well as taut discipline) and the result is an account that deserves a very warm recommendation. The sound is particularly clean … this is a remarkable performance.”
Nigel Simeone, International Record Review, June 2012


“Imagine my surprise when, opening the booklet of this CD, I saw a blurb praising the disc from my editor and publisher, Joel Flegler! Flegler’s rave for this disc references the Karajan recording, which just happens to be the performance I own … So I made the inevitable A–B comparisons.”

“[T]he rhythmic elements […]—like the sonorities—are crisper here than in Karajan’s hands … [W]hat is more interesting is the manner in which Smetáček plays the majority of the symphony, so that—thanks to the much greater transparency of texture—it is considerably lighter than Karajan without sacrificing a whit of Karajan’s emotion or energy. The sound quality on this 1968 live performance is […] clear, bright, and fresh…”

“Bottom line: Karajan’s version is now out of my collection and Smetáček’s is now in. This one is truly a gem.”
Lynn René Bayley, Fanfare, 36:2, November/December 2012

Customer review

“[This is] the most riveting, satisfying and moving performance of this great symphony I’ve ever heard. I’ve played it over and over again in the months since I bought it.”

“Your production and engineering on the Shostakovich strike me as things of wonder, with your superb skills placed completely at the service of the music.”

“Many, many thanks for one of the greatest experiences in almost 50 years of listening to recordings of classical music.”
Bill Abbie, Edinburgh, private correspondence, 30th November 2012

Track listingTime
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony no 10 in E minor, op 9347' 44"
1  I Moderato20' 25"
2 II Allegro*4' 27"
3III Allegretto10' 55"
4 IV Andante – Allegro11' 57"
Total time:47' 44"

*Sample extract (control with the Sound Sample tab at the top of the page)

†This track may be heard on the Sampler CD