Billed as the start of a new complete Shostakovich symphony cycle, this initial entry holds a great deal of promise. The Eleventh Symphony has more the character of a film score than a traditional symphonic work: it thrives on atmosphere, color, and the repetition of simple tunes and motives rather than drama created by development and tonal contrast. Conductor Vasily Petrenko certainly understands this, whether in capturing the ghostly string timbres of the opening (reinforced by celesta on its many subsequent returns), in the crushing massacre sequence in the second movement, or in the splashy ending, with cymbals, bells, and tam-tam making cinematic contributions.
Petrenko's also very sensible in his handling of tempo. TheRead more first and third movements don't drag; the second and fourth have plenty of excitement with rhythms that never turn mechanical (as they have a tendency to do, what with so much militaristic march music). The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic plays very well, with distinguished contributions from all departments. My only quibble concerns the slightly backward positioning and lack of clarity afforded the timpanist, who carries much of the thematic substance of the first movement and presides over the massacre's percussion fusillades. Otherwise, this is pretty terrific on all counts. I recommend it accordingly, and look forward to the continuation of the cycle. [4/2/2009]
a Spectacular 11th from Petrenko and Sagan, anMay 25, 2014By Tony Engleton See All My Reviews"05-25-2014 After multiple attempts to write this review on a a virus infected laptop, I've decided to make it short and sweet, before I lose yet another one. here is the skinny. This is a SPECTACULAR performance of a great, or near great Symphony, written in 1957, the year of Sputnik and depicting the events of Bloody Sunday, January 9, 1905 in St. Petersburg, when the Czar's troops opened fired on a mass of peaceful demonstrators, killing hundreds and wounding thousands. It helped pave the way to the 1917 Revolution and, of course, Sputnik, and "Latka" and Yuri Gagarin and Alan Sheppard and eventually Apollo 11. Perhaps, it could be said to also have led to Sagan's "Cosmos", though I think he would of done that great series anyhow. Slightly ahead of The Civil War and Baseball on PBS, "Cosmos" helped introduce me to the music of Shostakovich, though I didn't know the 11th Symphony until at least 35 years later, in about 2012/13. Thereis a similar link to the lesser known music of Alan Hovhaness as well, via this TV show. For several reasons, THE best thing PBS ever did, Cosmos had mysticism, romance, intellectual stimulation and tons of charm and elegance, much due to Dr Sagan, and although I fpound him a bit ar-fetched at times, I liked him immediately. I have to hurry! the RLPO's percussion is perhaps THE best group in this April 2008 recording and Petrenko is "off the charts" with his grand and focused conducting. His attention to detail is superb, his sense of dramatic scope is epic and his commitment to deep, expressive and moving leadership is as could as one may ever hear again. This young man is something else, to be blunt and his Naxos cycle thus far, is just wonderful. I own several of them, and I tell you, I am ONDE happy camper!!! To compete with the likes of Haitink, Solti, Karajan and some of the Russians, is not just notable, but truly incredible. I predict this cycle will go down in history as one of the best ever. NICE JOB, NAXOS!! DO NOT PASS THIS ONE UP!! Get yours today, happy listening and God bless you, Tony."Report Abuse
It makes me shiverOctober 2, 2013By Mary Lynn H. (San Antonio, TX)See All My Reviews"Petrenko and RLPO play this so well; that you need a blanket during the first movement. It's icy and chilly and scary; an amazing performance. I'm so glad I have it. I'm looking forward to Petrenko's complete Shostakovich cycle. Bravo!"Report Abuse