There are a lot of performances of this remarkable symphony available now, but this one stands out as having a truly distinctive and persuasive point of view. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, however well it plays, isn’t an orchestral powerhouse like the Chicago Symphony (Previn) or Kondrashin’s Moscow Philharmonic, but Vasily Petrenko more than compensates for any lack of sheer heft with an extra jolt of energy and a razor-sharp rhythmic attack. Listen to the strings dig into the music right after the first movement’s “climax of fugal insanity”. If the preceding din isn’t exactly paint-peeling, it’s still very exciting, and as you can hear, Petrenko sustains the tension very well, providing anRead more unusual degree of continuity to a movement that easily tends to break up into a sequence of disconnected episodes.
The scherzo also is unusually characterful—slower than the norm, which only makes it more gaunt and spooky. The “tick-tock” percussion at the end is especially clear, and disturbingly mechanical. As for the gripping finale, not only is the wacky ballet suite interlude remarkably fun, but Petrenko really unleashes the hounds in the form of some magnificently braying brass in the final chorale. This is one of those performances that justifies purchasing yet another recording of what is becoming a relatively well-known work. It confirms the piece as a true classic, in the sense that a variety of approaches reveals an endless series of valid interpretive possibilities. The performance is also extremely well recorded, naturally balanced, and vividly present. Wonderful.
Symphony no 4 in C minor, Op. 43by Dmitri Shostakovich Conductor:
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1935-1936; USSR
Average Customer Review: ( 5 Customer Reviews )
Great PerformanceJune 30, 2014By Henry S. (Springfield, VA)See All My Reviews"Here is a recording that should really fine favor with fans of Dmitry Shostakovich's often enigmatic music. Under Vasily Petrenko's direction, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra delivers an impressive performance of a powerful, 65 minute long symphony, written in the 1930's but first performed in the early 1960's. Most noteworthy is the orchestra's ability to transition quickly and seamlessly between the shifting moods of Shostakovich's multi-faceted score- deep introspection with soft, low strings, blaring tutti passages with heavy brass and percussion batteries, bitingly satirical musical statements featuring piccolos and flutes, and a subdued, ethereal conclusion featuring the celesta, perhaps to suggest a disembodied, shimmering, floating final thought. Make no mistake- this is not easy music to digest. There are simply too many ambiguities flowing from Shostakovich's pen. On the other hand, please rest assured that this giant 4th Symphony is well worth hearing, especially when it is performed by an orchestra as good as the RLPO. Recommended."Report Abuse
Wonderful performance andrecordingDecember 10, 2013By Frank Paris (Happy Valley, OR)See All My Reviews"I have several recordings of this work and Shostakovich has always been one of my favorite composers and this symphony has gradually worked its way to the top of my preference by this composer. This interpretation is so "right on" and satisfying that it prompted me to eventually buy all my favorite Shostakovich symphonies performed by this group, in favorites order (the performance and recordings are uniformly excellent): 8th, 11th, 1st, 5th, 7th. They all have realistic dynamic range and Shostakovich is famous for going pppp to ffff. So you need perfectly quiet electronics and plenty of power."Report Abuse
Stunning!November 29, 2013By Kefyn Catley (Sylva, NC)See All My Reviews"Continuing his Shostakovich cycle Petrenkos recording of the 4th provides an insightful interpretation and a breathtaking performance presented in full vivid sound. Not surprisingly it was Gramophones record of the month November 2013. Get it!"Report Abuse