Since 2015, multi award-winning Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons has been steadily working his way through Dmitri Shostakovich’s cycle of 15 symphonies with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, of which he is Music Director. Deutsche Grammophon has released four instalments so far and of these three have won Grammys for Best Orchestral Performance; the 2018 recording of Symphonies Nos 4 and 11 won that year’s Limelight Orchestral Recording of the Year.

Andris Nelsons

As a consequence, this latest recording, the fifth in the series, is hotly anticipated. It comprises the bookends of Shostakovich’s symphonic output, No 1 (Op. 10) and No 15 (Op. 141) paired here on the first of two discs. Shostakovich was 19 in 1925 when he completed his First Symphony, an extraordinary, sophisticated melange of styles and genres (from gallops to funeral marches) that calls to mind his early work playing piano accompaniment to silent films, which required similarly abrupt shifts in mood, tempo and style. “His first symphony was already perfect”, says Nelsons, whose reading matches its exuberant intensity with...