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Chris Morgan
Scene Magazine, December 2015

…conductor Vasily Petrenko injects purposeful energy into the proceedings—encouraging the musicians to impressive levels of instrumental legerdemain… © 2015 Scene Magazine Read complete review

Mark Sealey
Classical Net, December 2015

The Orchestra’s suitability to tackle the mammoth cycle of Shostakovich’s 15 great symphonies is evident from the very first bar of their performance of the First Symphony. All 15 symphonies by Shostakovich (1906-1975) have just been made available as a set of 11 CDs on Naxos… It’s a superb set which has garnered multiple accolades and can be safely recommended in every respect. © 2015 Classical Net Read complete review

Paul E. Robinson
Musical Toronto, December 2015

THE LIST | Fifteen Classical Music CD’s For Christmas

As music director in Liverpool, Vasily has been impressing a lot of people and gradually putting together an excellent Shostakovich symphony cycle. Here is a boxed set of all 15 symphonies in world-class performances at a bargain price. © 2015 Musical Toronto, November 2015

This one is a gem, a set of outstanding readings of difficult music in which conductor and orchestra are fully involved and the musicians play nearly at the level of a first-rate Russian orchestra—a huge accomplishment in this repertoire.

The performances here…are equally masterful in their understanding of the music and Petrenko’s ability to communicate what he knows and feels about it. © 2015 Read complete review

Tom Gibbs
Audiophile Audition, November 2015

Magnificent, thrilling performances given expressive, idiomatic readings by a formidable young conductor.

…the performances are skillful, breathtaking and beautiful. Reference quality sound rarely comes at this bargain-basement price point. Very, very highly recommended! © 2015 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Jens F. Laurson, November 2015

Specifically a very successful cycle of Shostakovich’s Symphonies recorded for the Naxos label helped to greatly improve the visibility—or audibility—of this conductor-orchestra pair. © 2015 Read complete review

Jeff Simon
The Buffalo News, November 2015

Vasily Petrenko and his Liverpudlians are fine, if not transcendent, performers of this music and Petrenko is as passionately committed to the drama of Shostakovich’s career as a conductor could be. © 2015 The Buffalo News Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2015

Ten years ago I had the task of comparing all of the complete cycles on disc of Shostakovich’s symphonies without finding one I could recommend as a whole. So where does this new one fit into that comparison? Well, for a start, the recorded sound is in a different league to the venerable Russian recordings conducted, with intimate inner knowledge of the composer, by Gennadi Rozhdestvensky. The young Russian conductor, Vasily Petrenko, certainly avoids the liberties taken by Mstislav Rostropovich with his American orchestra, and he obtains far more vitriolic orchestral climaxes than the refined Concertgebouw Orchestra gave to Bernard Haitink. That leaves us with Rudolf Barshai who, I guess, comes as close to the composer’s wishes as anyone, though his ‘live’ recordings with the well-meaning Cologne Radio Orchestra just do not measure up to the standards of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in the studio. Looking back through my reviews, as Petrenko’s individual discs have appeared over the five years, I wrote time and again that the orchestra played as if their lives depended upon it, and now hearing them all over again, that was an understatement. Petrenko’s tempos—when the composer demanded it—are as quick as any on the large number of single discs that exist of the more popular symphonies—with his orchestra going into a virtuoso overdrive. He also makes the Second and Third symphonies worthy of being included in Shostakovich’s symphonic canon, where that is hardly true elsewhere. The Fourth, once cast out into the wilderness, is here taken back into the fold, those angular and aggressive moments hitting home with brutal force, while the popular Fifth takes on a fresh and vivid new life. Petrenko does his best to make us believe in the Seventh, but it’s a hard task, Shostakovich musically redeeming himself in the Eighth, the most coruscating of the composer’s war-time compositions. At times acerbic, and others doom laden, the massive orchestral climaxes are here almost overwhelming. So we eventually reach the Thirteenth—via a Tenth that only seldom smiles—and this is the problem symphony for non-Russian performers where a chorus is involved. I guess there will never be anything to surpass the ‘live’ recording made in Moscow two days after its premiere, by which time it was banned, and in those circumstances the performance of this protest work was electric. Yet the singers from the north of England are a proud lot, and don’t look kindly on standing second best to anyone, and give of their all. Then add the virile voice of the young bass, Alexander Vinogradov and the performance comes a close second. And so I could go on eulogising, but you can find detail reviews that I have written over the years on this internet site. Now repackaged, these superbly engineered discs come in a box that will take up no more than three normal CDs. It complemented with an outstanding booklet that contains the words of the vocal symphonies. So here at last I have a cycle I can commend wholeheartedly to you and at a ludicrously low price. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

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