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
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1935-1936; USSR
Symphony No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 43: I. Allegretto poco moderato - Presto
Symphony No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 43: II. Moderato con moto
Symphony No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 43: III. Largo - Allegro
Average Customer Review: ( 4 Customer Reviews )
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
13 down, two to goNovember 26, 2013By L. Ragsdale (Minneapolis, MN)See All My Reviews"With this latest addition to the complete Shostakovich Symphony cycle by Petrenko and Naxos, the only symphonies left to record are numbers 13 and 14. To paraphrase what a friend of mine once said: "Listening to (or performing) Shostakovich is like eating candy." And this performance and recording gets 5 stars for both the sonics and the excellence of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. I will admit I had to listen to this three times before I began to truly get into this lesser performed work. But it is every bit as good as, if not better than some of his later works. OK, so it does not end with a bang like the Fifth Symphony. But this ending is just as satisfying after all the places traveled during this work. If you like Shostakovich and don't know this work, grab this recording. You will not regret it."Report Abuse