Great performances of this massive symphony aren’t exactly thick on the field, but my goodness, this is one of them. Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic play with 100 percent commitment in every single bar. The first movement opens broadly, the intensity already palpable. Taking full advantage of excellent sound and a wide dynamic range (crank up the volume for this one), the central march and battle will have you sweating in your seat. The unrelentingly sustained passion that Petrenko brings to this long section triumphantly vindicates Shostakovich’s controversial vision, and at the same time makes short work of a 28-minute overall timing.
It may sound odd, but whatRead more stands out most in the scherzo (for me anyway) is the strikingly sharp pizzicato violins accompanying the shrill clarinet in the movement’s central outburst (sound sample below). Obviously this isn’t the most important idea, but the fact that Petrenko and his strings take such care to characterize even simple accompaniments helps us to understand just why this performance is so compelling. Like the first movement, the Adagio has a strikingly intense central episode, one whose contrasting power helps to sustain interest in the slow, grave outer sections. Then we come to the finale, with a thrilling, wild allegro, and a broad, take-no-prisoners coda that’s simply immense. Petrenko’s Shostakovich cycle already is one of the best out there, but this release really puts the seal on his achievement. This is absolutely essential, and as I said, it’s exceptionally well recorded to boot.
Magnificent PerformanceMay 31, 2014By Henry S. (Springfield, VA)See All My Reviews"Shostakovich's 'Leningrad' Symphony, with all of its wartime allusions and biting, often brutal portrayal of struggle, can be a tough act for American music lovers. Thoroughly Russian in spirit, the 7th Symphony deals with tragedy, violence, perseverance, and heroism, all arising from historical experience to which most of us cannot relate with any degree of accuracy. Having said that, however, this gigantic symphony has had substantial exposure in the West, and even now it may be getting yet another lease on life. The driving force behind this latest surge is the absolutely riveting, and even searing, new Naxos recording of the 'Leningrad' by the truly excellent Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. It is my view that a symphony such as this one can best be experienced only through dedicated, intense listening devoid of any outside distractions. Assuming that this can be done, then the 7th Symphony has a staggering musical story to tell, from the ominous, fearful approach of what promises to be cataclysmic conflict to the quiet beauty of elegiac remembrance of loss to the overpowering ecstasy of imminent victory and resolution. If you are willing to devote the time and effort to some serious listening, Vasily Petrenko's work with the RLPO is sure to provide a stunning musical experience. Everything about this recording is superb- orchestra, conductor, wide dynamic range, glowing state of the art sound, etc. Very much recommended."Report Abuse
To the Point, and very much so!May 24, 2014By Tony Engleton See All My Reviews"05-24-2014 Since my new laptop is currently infected, and I've already lost several reviews regarding this excellent Naxos cycle of the Shostakovich Symphonies. I own 2,4,5,6,7,8,10,11 and 12, and also 15. Can't get enough! Petrenko drives his RLPO as relentlessly as were the Germans by their commanders in WWII. This 900 some day siege is brought to life on this great sounding CD. As the Maestro takes about 15 minutes for the main march theme segment, he fills out the remainder with grace, lyricism and great attention to detail. Listening to this winner shows why it is a great work, and, for a young man, he's truly phenomenal and fantastically gifted. DO NOT PASS THIS ONE UP!! Get yours today and enjoy. Best wishes and listening, and a big God bless you, Tony."Report Abuse
Another Shostakovich symphony winner from NaxosSeptember 24, 2013By Dean Frey See All My Reviews"Vasily Petrenko's continuing Shostakovich cycle on Naxos has received many very positive reviews, including a number of my own. He is obviously well aware of Soviet tradition, and seems to have a reverence towards Shostakovich's very Russian genius. At the same time, though, he remains true to his personal vision of what this music means, and what it can sound like with an outstanding orchestra. There was as much Bernstein as there was Shostakovich in the famous recordings of the 7th Symphony which (more or less) sold the world on a deeply flawed masterpiece. In this disc Petrenko puts his personal stamp on this music, in collaboration with the talented Liverpool musicians. I look forward to what Petrenko will do with the great works ahead in this series!"Report Abuse