Classical Music Home

The World's Leading Classical Music Group

Email Password  
Not a subscriber yet?
Keyword Search
in
 
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews



 

SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: Symphonies, Vol. 8 - Symphony No. 7, "Leningrad" (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Petrenko)


Naxos 8.573057

   Fanfare, November 2013
   Fanfare, November 2013
   Fanfare, November 2013
   Fanfare, November 2013
   Fanfare, November 2013
   MusicWeb International, September 2013
   BBC Music Magazine, September 2013
   American Record Guide, September 2013
   MusicWeb International, August 2013
   Pizzicato, August 2013
   Classical Net, July 2013
   Allmusic.com, July 2013
   Classical Music Sentinel, July 2013
   ClassicalCDReview.com, June 2013
   ClassicsToday.com, June 2013
   Infodad.com, June 2013
   BBC Music Magazine, June 2013
   Audiophilia, May 2013
   Sinfini Music, May 2013
   The Arts Desk, May 2013
   International Record Review, May 2013
   Positive Feedback Online, May 2013
   David's Review Corner, May 2013
   Diapason

English        French        German        Spanish
See latest reviews of other albums...

Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, November 2013

This is a wonderful Seventh. Petrenko knows exactly what he wants from the orchestra at any given moment and in the aggregate, and his Liverpool players give him everything he asks of them. A cumulative power and summation is achieved by this performance that’s both emotionally stirring and deeply satisfying, and Naxos’s excellent recording further enhances the effect. Very strongly recommended. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review



Arthur Lintgen
Fanfare, November 2013

The “Leningrad” Symphony is one of those works where the opening theme can almost predict what the interpretation will be like as a whole. Petrenko is slow and almost solemn…Petrenko plays the haunting passage that follows beautifully, with an underlying hint of menace. The almost Brahmsian return of the main theme near the end of the first movement is absolutely gorgeous…

The beginning of the second movement has an excellent swing and flow that continues with the bass clarinet solo after a central climax that is note-perfect…The light textured, accompanying strings are outstanding. Petrenko pays great attention to subtle background details without sounding fussy. In the Adagio, Petrenko again micromanages details very effectively…The transition to the fourth movement is chilling, and Petrenko whips the orchestra into a frenzy in the ensuing Allegro. He builds the finale slowly and inexorably. The massed brasses produce a remarkably unified sound (Petrenko has built the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic into a world class ensemble).

The engineer holds things together remarkably well at the big climaxes with no congealing of instruments or collapse of the sound stage. The bass is solid…Fine instrumental detail is very good.

This “Leningrad” Symphony…is probably the best performance in Petrenko’s Shostakovich cycle so far. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review



Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, November 2013

I’ve enjoyed all of Petrenko’s Shostakovich releases thus far—when it is complete, I predict that this will be among the very best Shostakovich cycles on the market. This disc is particularly good, though, because Shostakovich’s Seventh is anything but foolproof, and it only takes small miscalculations for it to become overlong, overly noisy, and banal. None of those happen here. Sometimes the middle of the road is the best place to be, and by keeping in between interpretive extremes, and conjuring really stellar playing from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Petrenko’s recording of the Seventh is a winner. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review




Peter J. Rabinowitz
Fanfare, November 2013

Vasily Petrenko’s new recording, part of his exceptional Shostakovich symphony cycle, doesn’t stint on the sheer volume—but its climaxes are all the more shattering because of the sensitivity with which the conductor treats the quieter passages. Add to this Petrenko’s uncanny handling of the music’s contestatory counterpoint and his overall sense of its architecture, and you have one of the great recordings of this still troubling work. © 2013 Fanfare




Arthur Lintgen
Fanfare, November 2013

…the best performance so far in [Petrenko’s] well-received complete Shostakovich symphony cycle. © 2013 Fanfare



Michael Cookson
MusicWeb International, September 2013

In this compelling performance Petrenko…is clearly a committed advocate of the score demonstrating that he has the full measure of the scale of Shostakovich’s writing. The full-bodied sound from the Liverpool Phil is highly effective and the wide dynamics and vivid climaxes are wonderfully controlled. In the final movement Petrenko from around 13:00 allows the music gradually to gather in weight and intensity, becoming louder, sustaining a profound seriousness. This culminates in a drama of electric intensity.

Petrenko is in his element with Shostakovich’s Leningrad, directing a stunning performance from the Liverpool Phil which is in inspired form from first note to last. Recorded in the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool the sound feels remarkably fresh and the balance is impressive too. © MusicWeb International Read complete review



BBC Music Magazine, September 2013

Recording the entire cycle of Shostakovich’s symphonies, which we are still in the process of doing, has been a very special project. Out of the entire cycle, it is the Seventh that stands out as my favourite so far. The orchestra gave me a superb range of dynamics, with an incredibly soft opening and brilliant strength in the climaxes, and I am very proud of the outcome. © 2013 BBC Music Magazine



Stephen Estep
American Record Guide, September 2013

It’s a good recording overall…the sonics are excellent…and the orchestra is responsive. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



John Whitmore
MusicWeb International, August 2013

It must be said straightaway that the orchestral playing on display in this latest instalment of Petrenko’s Shostakovich cycle is an absolute triumph. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic is in fabulous shape…and the playing is truly world class.

This is an absolute bargain and goes straight to the top of the list. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, August 2013

With the excellent RLPO Petrenko gives a terrific account of Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony. Rarely a conductor made such a good use of dynamics to underline the inner conflict and the whole spectrum of emotions buried by the composer in this music. © Pizzicato



Robert Cummings
Classical Net, July 2013

Vasily Petrenko continues his cycle of the Shostakovich symphonies with this stellar entry of the controversial Seventh. The first movement reading is maybe the finest I’ve ever encountered on recording. Petrenko delivers an excellent rendition of the invasion theme and its Bolero—like buildup.

The sound reproduction is vivid and powerful…and the album notes by Richard Whitehouse are thorough and illuminating. © 2013 Classical Net Read complete review




Blair Sanderson
Allmusic.com, July 2013

This 2012 recording by Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra offers plenty of heroism for those who hear the work as a wartime manifesto…The orchestra gives a committed and sure-footed performance, and Petrenko’s rapport with his musicians goes a long way toward explaining the spontaneity and energy of their playing. Naxos’ recording is clean and spacious… © 2013 Allmusic.com Read complete review



Jean-Yves Duperron
Classical Music Sentinel, July 2013

Petrenko keeps a firm grip on the musical narrative at all times, so much so that we never lose track of the unfolding story. Even the second subjects, counter motifs, and ideas tossed around within the orchestral fabric are always clearly audible, and therefore influence our perception of this work. This is most evident during the expertly paced and highly expressive slow movement.

The recording quality is superb, with a wide dynamic range that does full justice to everything from a lone distant flute to a full battalion of percussion instruments. The strings in particular are very well captured, projecting an aggressive bite when called for. Highly recommended! © 2013 Classical Music Sentinel Read complete review



Robert Benson
ClassicalCDReview.com, June 2013

The amazing young Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko…nears the end of his Shostakovich symphony cycle with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic for Naxos with this magnificent account of the powerful Leningrad Symphony…The conductor’s broad tempi bring total playing time to 79:15; the cumulative effect will delight both those who love this war symphony, and audiophiles as well. An outstanding issue—and at a modest price! © 2013 ClassicalCDReview.com Read complete review




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, June 2013

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.

…Petrenko and his strings take such care to characterize even simple accompaniments helps us to understand just why this performance is so compelling.

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. © ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



Infodad.com, June 2013

What a performance this is! This is a very expansive reading of the symphony…and is about as elegantly paced and structured a performance as this work is likely to receive. And Petrenko here has the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra sounding…so full and warm that it reflects all the grandeur of Shostakovich’s vision while downplaying the symphony’s ragged and overdone elements. © 2013 Infodad.com Read complete review




David Nice
BBC Music Magazine, June 2013

Performance

Recording

Unless something goes seriously wrong in the last three issues still to come, Vasily Petrenko’s Liverpool Shostakovich Symphonies cycle will stand as a major recorded achievement for the 21st century.

…Petrenko’s is the third interpretation to convince me that Shostakovich wasn’t just going through the motions in this Symphony.

Fresh, beautifully phrased and vividly recorded…Petrenko’s Symphony No 7 clamours to be heard. © BBC Music Magazine



James Norris
Audiophilia, May 2013

It is a very fine interpretation.

For too long, Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony has been used as a musical battering ram in the concert hall and this performance shows just how good it can be when given a sympathetic and well thought out reading.

Petrenko has admirably conveyed the complexity and the pathos of this symphony in a way seldom achieved by other more starry conductors and the result is a finely paced unfolding of the drama from the whisper of the strings to the full orchestral tutti with driving brass and percussion and wailing woodwind giving a terrifying account of the horrors of war.

This performance deserves to be in every orchestral music lover’s collection…With sound as good as performance and value, it’s an easy recommendation. © 2013 Audiophilia Read complete review




Norman Lebrecht
Sinfini Music, May 2013

Norman Lebrecht Album of the Week

Petrenko and the RLPO’s recording of Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony stands apart as a treasurable, terrific affirmation of a towering masterpiece…

The Royal Liverpool Phil’s cycle of Shostakovich symphonies stands apart from all previous recordings for its edginess and its youth. [Vasily Petrenko] performs the ‘Leningrad’ Symphony not as a relic of an historic event but as a work of music that demands objective interpretation in a different century. 

The ear is struck immediately by his refusal to overplay textural excesses. The atmosphere is quieter, less ominous than we’re used to. Flutes and clarinets are reduced to a whisper and strings to a hushed susurrus. When the climaxes explode, they do so with total shock and desperation. Between extremes, the conductor maintains an even emotional keel, avoiding the risk of melodrama that Bartók so wickedly caricatured in his Concerto for Orchestra. Petrenko puts his mind to saving the symphony from itself. © Sinfini Music Read complete review



Graham Rickson
The Arts Desk, May 2013

Vasily Petrenko’s revisionist Shostakovich cycle hits new heights with this reading of the wartime Leningrad Symphony. This is a big-boned, satisfying blast of a performance. It’s daringly expansive in scale and astonishingly loud in places—Naxos’s sound is thrillingly widescreen in the brassier moments. This isn’t a symphony that anyone can be expected to enjoy in a conventional sense, but Petrenko will keep most listeners fully engaged for 79 minutes. He doesn’t overlay any irony, any subtext, playing the music commendably straight. The first movement’s chunky opening theme is beautifully, smoothly shaped, and the all-important solos on violin and piccolo six minutes in are gorgeous—making the side drum’s entry that much more unsettling. Shostakovich’s cacophonous climax is ear-splitting, made more so by Petrenko’s trenchant, careful pacing. Thrilling, in other words. © The Arts Desk Read complete review




Peter J. Rabinowitz
International Record Review, May 2013

…what’s most immediately striking about this recording…is the unparalled way Petrenko handles the softer passages. It’s not, however, simply a matter of volume: the quieter passages are notable, as well, both for their subtle shading and for their exquisite colour (try the haunting tone of the flutes, harp, and bass clarinet starting at rehearsal 97, 8’49” in the second movement or the gossamer sounds of the muted violins after rehearsal 189, 9’56” in the finale). Rarely have you heard the end of the second movement die away so magically.

Throughout the performance, Petrenko plays up the contestatory nature of the counterpoint, encouraging competing lines to jostle for our attention.

Yet for all this heightened contrast, the performance never seems out of proportion, much less flashy…the pacing is always convincing…Rhythms are consistently resilient and well articulated, balances are sure…the orchestral timbres have tremendous character throughout…Petrenko, though, will keep you riveted from first note to last…The orchestra plays brilliantly throughout, with superlative work from the soloists (special praise due to the first oboe). The sound is the best I’ve heard, even in this series; I hope a Blu-ray edition is in the works.

A high point in an already exceptional cycle. © 2013 International Record Review



Bob Neill
Positive Feedback Online, May 2013

What Vasily Petrenko and his Liverpudlians continue to find in the symphonies of Shostakovich never ceases to impress. This is one of the truly great recording projects currently in process.

…if you’ve not gotten into this cycle yet, start here. © 2013 Positive Feedback Online Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2013

‘I dedicate my Seventh Symphony to our struggle against fascism, to our coming victory over the enemy, to my native city, Leningrad,’ wrote Shostakovich. The older residents of Leningrad and Liverpool will recall the years when fascism tried to wipe them from the face of the earth. For those of us who lived through those times, myself close by to the city of Liverpool, the symphony is still a potent reminder of the forces of evil. Some today question whether it was ever really a symphony, in the accepted sense of the word, but the charismatic young Russian conductor, Vasily Petrenko, has achieved that almost impossible balancing act of keeping something in reserve after taking the first movement almost to white-heat, so that the finale still becomes, as it should, the work’s defining moment. It is something very few conductors have achieved on disc and almost never in the many concert performances I have heard. Listen to Leonard Bernstein’s recording and the Liverpool orchestra’s opening movement does not have the same impact as his Chicago Symphony, but then Bernstein’s finale is nowhere near as characterful as with Petrenko. Or sample the much vaunted Rudolf Barshai and the Cologne Radio Symphony, a performance as valid as Petrenko, but the Naxos sound quality is in a much more exalted class. So its a question of swings and roundabouts, and maybe none will ever equal the highly emotional Czech Philharmonic with Ančerl in a long deleted recording. I guess Petrenko would have loved some Chicago violins, but in today’s world his magnificent performance is right at the top of the premiere league. If the horns could have packed more weight at times, the rest of the brass have the scorching Russian quality, and the woodwind is superb. One can only hope the performance is released on Blu-ray. It would, I guess, be quite sensational. In this format it is strongly recommended. © David’s Review Corner




Patrick Szersnovicz
Diapason

Once again Vasily Petrenko reveals himself as a fine expert of this music © Diapason






Famous Composers Quick Link:
Bach | Beethoven | Chopin | Dowland | Handel | Haydn | Mozart | Glazunov | Schumann | R Strauss | Vivaldi
6:01:57 AM, 12 July 2014
All Naxos Historical, Naxos Classical Archives, Naxos Jazz, Folk and Rock Legends and Naxos Nostalgia titles are not available in the United States and some titles may not be available in Australia and Singapore because these countries have copyright laws that provide or may provide for terms of protection for sound recordings that differ from the rest of the world.
Copyright © 2014 Naxos Digital Services Ltd. All rights reserved.     Terms of Use     Privacy Policy
-208-
Classical Music Home
NOTICE: This site was unavailable for several hours on Saturday, June 25th 2011 due to some unexpected but essential maintenance work. We apologize for any inconvenience.