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SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: Symphonies, Vol. 9 - Symphony No. 4 (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Petrenko)


Naxos 8.573188

   Fanfare, March 2014
   Fanfare, March 2014
   Scene Magazine, January 2014
   The Sunday Times, London, December 2013
   Audiophilia, December 2013
   Chicago Tribune, December 2013
   BBC Music Magazine, December 2013
   International Record Review, December 2013
   Gramophone, December 2013
   MusicWeb International, November 2013
   Pizzicato, November 2013
   Infodad.com, November 2013
   Daily Telegraph (UK), November 2013
   Gramophone, November 2013
   ClassicsToday.com, November 2013
   Audiophilia, October 2013
   The Arts Desk, October 2013
   Sinfini Music, October 2013
   David's Review Corner, October 2013

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Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, March 2014

Petrenko seems to have a firm grasp on the score’s structural elements, and to that extent, his reading gels and produces a cumulatively satisfying result.

Overall, Petrenko’s Fourth is consistent with his approach to his previous releases in this cycle…exceptionally well-played and structurally sound. If you’ve been collecting the entire set, I can think of absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t acquire this one… © 2014 Fanfare Read complete review



Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, March 2014

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra plays beautifully throughout, and the woodwinds, so central to the sound of any Shostakovich symphony…do excellent work here.

I feel that Petrenko’s sane, committed, detailed, and bombast-free reading invites repeated listenings, and I can’t imagine that anyone who has been following this series will be disappointed with it in any way. © 2014 Fanfare Read complete review



Chris Morgan
Scene Magazine, January 2014

…this recent Naxos recording—featuring the instrumentalists of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of conductor Vasily Petrenko—is the definitive presentation of the fourth; a stunning statement of bold originality that changes lives whenever it is performed. From the opening fanfare of the first movement to the pulsing percussion and afterglow strings that end the third, it is a fierce tribute to the singular artistic vision that guided the composer throughout his career. Awesome. © 2014 Scene Magazine Read complete review



Hugh Canning
The Sunday Times, London, December 2013

coruscating performance © The Sunday Times, London




Audiophilia, December 2013

Audiophilia Star Recordings of the Year 2013

The staff of Audiophilia listened to hundreds of new recordings this year and published reviews of almost sixty in RNR and as standalone reviews. Some recordings nominated were not reviewed, but were in heavy rotation as review repertoire. The staff whittled the many nominations down to fifteen we thought worthy of our Star moniker. There were so many incredible recordings this year.

Congratulations to all the nominees and a special congratulations to the fifteen winners.

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4 Naxos
Nominated by James Norris. © 2013 Audiophilia



John von Rhein
Chicago Tribune, December 2013

Chicago Tribune’s best classical recordings of 2013

The young Russian conductor’s nearly-complete Shostakovich cycle on Naxos has brought some terrific entries, but this latest installment is in a class of its own. The 1936 Fourth is Shostakovich’s suppressed symphony, withdrawn on the eve of its premiere and not heard until 1961. In none of his later symphonies did the composer pack such unrelenting desperation and numbed despair. Petrenko takes us directly to the music’s troubled soul. © 2013 Chicago Tribune



BBC Music Magazine, December 2013

This is one of those rare symphonies, like Mahler’s Seventh, which has rarely had a less than committed performance on CD, possibly because the stakes are too high and the selective orchestral writing too exposed to let any laziness pass muster. Since Vasily Petrenko and Liverpudlian’s haven’t disappointing in any instalment of their Shostakovich cycle so far, the chances were they would excel here. And they do…in the long term it’s bravissimo all round. © BBC Music Magazine



David Gutman
International Record Review, December 2013

No one collecting this cycle will be disappointed by the chiselled unanimity of the magically improved Liverpool ensemble.

The package is amazing value at bargain price. © 2013 International Record Review




Edward Seckerson
Gramophone, December 2013

The symphony that Stalin’s Soviet Union was not ready to hear and would have consigned to oblivion given half the chance gets an absolutely stonking performance from Vasily Petrenko’s Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Never has the insane logic of the piece been clearer or more acutely felt. The thrills and surprises are many, but there’s also a tragic inevitability. This is possibly the star turn of this conductor’s Shostakovich cycle. © Gramophone



Byzantion
MusicWeb International, November 2013

There are perhaps fifty or so recordings already of Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony, a number of them the subject of critical acclaim. The RLPO’s Shostakovich cycle under Vasily Petrenko for Naxos—this is volume nine already—has itself been highly praised. It is shaping up nicely as a contender among complete sets.

In terms of clarity and detail, the recording is splendid—probably the best in the series to date. As usual, Richard Whitehouse’s notes are detailed and well written, providing both a cultural and a technical account of the work. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, November 2013

Shostakovich’s Fourth shows the tragedy of the human being in the machinery of dictatorship. Petrenko uses the dynamic forces of his as always excellent Liverpool Philharmonic to let us experience musically the implacability of such a terror. © Pizzicato



Infodad.com, November 2013

The remarkable Shostakovich cycle led by Vasily Petrenko for Naxos continues with a sure-handed, thoughtful and emotionally wrenching performance of one of the most difficult of the composer’s symphonies to bring off successfully, his Fourth. The Fourth sprawls and can easily spiral out of control, but Petrenko knows the score so well and holds onto it so firmly that it here attains tremendous grandeur as well as considerable emotional punch. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra has become increasingly adept at giving Petrenko just what he wants in Naxos’ excellent Shostakovich series…the balance of orchestral sections is so good and the careful attention to phrase and rhythm so impressive that the ensemble seems to have internalized Shostakovich almost as thoroughly as has Petrenko himself. This performance, and the series of which it is a part, are simply splendid. © 2013 Infodad.com Read complete review




Geoffrey Norris
Daily Telegraph (UK), November 2013

vivid performance © Daily Telegraph (UK)




Edward Seckerson
Gramophone, November 2013

The opening goes off like a cartoon alarm clock, shrill and insistent, the ensuing march more satirical, almost more Prokofiev than Shostakovich in Vasily Petrenko’s hands. This is less the child of Mahler’s Third, more death takes a holiday than summer marches in. Significantly, Petrenko comes to this piece—or appears to—without even scant acknowledgement of its structural anomalies, its weird and wonderful digressions, transformations and mutations. It’s a work teetering between the rational and irrational, the comic and tragic, the real and the imagined. Just when you think it’s slipping into abstraction, something happens to make you think otherwise. Petrenko makes following its thought processes, its phantasmagorical journeying between worlds, so much easier. He makes perfect sense of the seemingly senseless.

The overriding effect of [Petrenko’s] performance is one of liberation and inevitability.

Perhaps the best of Petrenko’s much-praised cycle, then, and a strong contender for ‘best in catalogue’. The skewed logic of the piece is made gripping, the disparate and the enigmatic reconciled. © Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, November 2013

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. …Vasily Petrenko more than compensates for any lack of sheer heft with an extra jolt of energy and a razor-sharp rhythmic attack.

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. © 2013 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



James Norris
Audiophilia, October 2013

Petrenko and the RLPO have recorded a dazzling performance that gets to the very heart of the piece, he has a sure feel for the composer and whilst driving the music on he brings out the ethereal quality and quirkiness of the rhythms to stunning effect.

The recorded sound is superb and the orchestra are on top form throughout with transparent textures even in the most explosive moments.

A must have performance to add to the other fine interpretations in this cycle. © 2013 Audiophilia Read complete review



Graham Rickson
The Arts Desk, October 2013

…Vasily Petrenko’s new version is as good as any around. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic play out of their skins—everything’s secure, but nothing sounds glib or slick.

Petrenko’s percussionists make the Scherzo’s eerie fade sound effortless, but it’s Petrenko’s Finale which really stuns. Shostakovich’s nods to Mahler are everywhere—the introductory funeral march is terrific, as is the raucous, unsettling circus music which follows. All culminates in one of the loudest perorations imaginable and the most emotionally devastating of symphonic fadeouts, replete with a twisted reference to the major-minor triad motif heard in Mahler 6. Unmissable. © 2013 The Arts Desk Read complete review



Philip Clark
Sinfini Music, October 2013

Shostakovich’s opening – super-high woodwinds, strings and xylophone – in Petrenko’s hands puts one in mind of an Edvard Munch scream; stylised expressionism, chilling to the marrow. And everything about this performance, from its marshalled rhythms and breathless, nervy pace to its lurid, nothing-behind-the-eyes orchestral colours, feels like hyped-up realism, which, of course, also means its slant on reality is artificial and twisted – a powerful metaphor indeed for trying to live a true artist’s life under the cosh of Stalin. © 2013 Sinfini Music Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2013

By the time Shostakovich had reached his Fourth Symphony storm clouds of officialdom were gathering around him leading to the denouncement of his music. To limit any further damage to his reputation as a composer, he quickly withdrew the Fourth Symphony from rehearsal at the eleventh hour. There followed his appeasement with the populist Fifth Symphony, the Fourth only resurfacing twenty-five years later in 1961 when the artistic situation in Russia had largely changed…there are passages of great beauty, the whole suggesting a picture of the Russia that was surrounding Shostakovich in the Communist era. I particularly like Petrenko’s doom-laden opening to the finale, a march-like mood into which you can read so many thoughts in the composer’s mind. As the music reaches the frenetic central section, Petrenko is as exciting as it comes, the final climatic outburst cataclysmic. The Liverpool orchestra respond throughout with outstanding playing, the woodwind solos as good as you will get on disc…among recent recordings this well-recorded Naxos would be a top choice. © David’s Review Corner






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1:42:28 PM, 23 August 2014
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