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.
Symphony no 7 in C major, Op. 60 "Leningrad"by Dmitri Shostakovich
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1941; USSR
Average Customer Review: ( 3 Customer Reviews )
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
Petrenko, Shostakovich Symphony No. 7July 3, 2013By Henry A. See All My Reviews"Thirty years ago, Naxos Records shocked the classical music recording industry by releasing low-cost discs of standard repertoire by relatively unknown orchestras and conductors. Its business practices earned it a substantial market share, with millions of CD sales and an online digital library second to none. Today, Naxos CDs are still a fraction of the cost of their name brand competitors; however, in what appears to be an image shift, they are no longer relying on lower profile artists. Albums such as Shostakovich Symphony 7 by Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic are helping to reshape Naxos into the very kind of label it competed against in the 1980's. Even the famous simple white cover art, that has been in use for thirty years, was scrapped in favor of a stylish red sleeve, illustrating that Naxos is making a push to re-brand itself as a new cool industry leader. Petrenko's expertly paced interpretation allows the symphony to unfold like a well-executed drama. Though the programmatic elements of this work are hotly debated, Petrenko's crafting of this performance makes a strong case for a narrative. His rendition of Symphony No. 7, as well as other staples from the Russian repertoire, has earned him acclaim as a master interpreter. This recording makes it clear why Petrenko has been scooping up the highest awards in classical music (Gramophone Classical Recording of the Year 2009, 2011). His proficiency on the podium is matched by the competence of the RLPO. From the opening notes of the first movement, it is easy to ascertain that this is an ensemble of the highest caliber. The strings play with a brilliance typically reserved for brass. Hauntingly beautiful wind solos, a dazzling brass section, and rock solid percussion complement them. Together, the RLPO presents the listener with a vast palette of acoustic color. Their playing never once flat-lines, and demonstrates the importance of sound in motion. This is achieved in large part to the ensemble's vast dynamic control. It is a mastery that keeps listeners glued to the edge of their seats for the entirety of the performance. This ensemble, which is the oldest professional orchestra in Britain, is undeniably at the top of its game. This recording will make a fantastic addition to any Shostakovich collection and makes a strong case for Petrenko's other recordings in the cycle. A full list of this collaboration's discography are available through Naxos Records: . http://www.naxos.com/person/Vasily_Petrenko/65309.htm"Report Abuse
Accessible ModernismJune 25, 2013By Oscar O. Veterano See All My Reviews"SHOSTAKOVICH ; Symphony No. 7 Leningrad NAXOS The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of chief conductor Vasily Petrenko, has issued an exciting new rendition of Shostakovichs Symphony No. 7. Also called the Leningrad, this music was written under extreme duress, while the composer was serving in the Home Guard, fighting the Nazis, at the Battle of Leningrad. This is a clear and precisely balanced recording, brilliantly conducted and performed, of music that still sounds urgent and intensely modern, while remaining accessible and emotionally involved. In fact, this sense of humanity and involvement is why this music continues to be relevant today; those who tend to stay away from serious 20th century music under the mistaken impression that its all bleak, 12 tone alienation are in for a surprise upon hearing Shostakovichs 7th. Highly recommended 9 out of 10 Oscar O.Veterano"Report Abuse