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Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra release the penultimate disc in their acclaimed cycle of the symphonies by Dmitry Shostakovich. Dedicated to Benjamin Britten, the Fourteenth Symphony views death through multiple lenses. Two solo singers, strings, percussion and the vivid poetry permeating its eleven movements probe the subject of mortality – particularly early or unjust death – in all its pitiable intensity.

Naxos 8.573132
SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: Symphonies, Vol. 10 - Symphony No. 14
G. James, A. Vinogradov, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Petrenko

At its première in June 1969 Shostakovich described his Symphony No. 14, in effect a symphonic song cycle, ‘a fight for the liberation of humanity…a great protest against death, a reminder to live one’s life honestly, decently, nobly…’ Originally intending to write an oratorio, Shostakovich set eleven poems on the theme of mortality, and in particular early or unjust death, for two solo singers accompanied by strings and percussion. This is the penultimate release in Vasily Petrenko’s internationally acclaimed symphonic cycle.

Listen to Edward Seckerson and Vasily Petrenko in discussion about the Symphony No. 14.

About the Artists

Vasily Petrenko was appointed principal conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 2006 and in 2009 became chief conductor. He is also chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Mikhailovsky Theatre of his native St Petersburg, and principal conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. He was the Classical BRIT Awards Male Artist of the Year 2010 and 2012 and the Classic FM/GramophoneYoung Artist of the Year 2007.

Read Jeremy Siepmann's interview with Vasily Petrenko.

The award-winning Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra is the UK’s oldest continuing professional symphony orchestra dating from 1840. The orchestra gives over sixty concerts each season in Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and tours widely throughout the UK and internationally. In recent seasons world première performances have included major works by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Sir John Tavener, Karl Jenkins, Michael Nyman and Jennifer Higdon.

Previous releases in this Shostakovich symphony cycle

Some of the critical acclaim for the series

Vol. 1: Symphony No. 11

This is one of the best recordings I’ve heard of this piece. I can find so little to pick at, and it simply leaves me speechless. (American Record Guide)

Vol. 2: Symphonies Nos. 5 and 9

A truly breathtaking response from Vasily Petrenko and his now world-class Liverpudlians…superb playing all round. (BBC Music Magazine)

Vol. 3: Symphony No. 8

Petrenko shows a remarkable sense of the architectural ebb and flow of this masterpiece. The sound from top to bottom presents the massive climaxes like no other recording does. (Fanfare)

Vol. 4: Symphony No. 10

The phrasing in this 10th is exquisite, the ensemble is very fine, and the musicality heartbreaking. (Audiophilia)

Vol. 5: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3

The Liverpool orchestra impresses with its virtuosity and precision in these two scores. This disc is to be recommended for its intelligence in interpretation and for the coupling of the two works. (

Vol. 6: Symphonies Nos. 6 and 12

Vasily Petrenko leads a first movement that beats just about everyone in terms of sheer excitement… (

Vol. 7: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 15

...another splendid release in an exceptional cycle. (International Record Review)

Vol. 8: Symphony No. 7

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

Vol. 9: Symphony No. 4

Perhaps the best of Petrenko’s much-praised cycle ... and a strong contender for ‘best in catalogue’.  (Gramophone)

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