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In its orchestral form, Shostakovich’s austere Michelangelo cycle could be considered his 16th symphony. A profoundly dark meditation on art and death, a twin to the 14th symphony, it receives here an unparalleled performance. Muti and his players are inside every note, every silence, and Abdrazakov is better here even than his fine Manchester recording (Chandos). The intensity and focus throughout are shattering, as indeed in the rarely-heard Schoenberg which precedes it.

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