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


Naxos 8.573132

   MusicWeb International, December 2014
   Sinfini Music, September 2014
   Classical Music Sentinel, September 2014
   Fanfare, September 2014
   American Record Guide, September 2014
   MusicWeb International, July 2014
   PS Audio, July 2014
   Gramophone, June 2014
   Pizzicato, May 2014
   BBC Music Magazine, May 2014
   Infodad.com, May 2014
   International Record Review, May 2014
   ClassicsToday.com, April 2014
   Examiner.com, April 2014
   Sinfini Music, April 2014
   The Sunday Times, London, April 2014
   David's Review Corner, April 2014
   MusicWeb International, April 2014
   Positive Feedback Online, March 2014

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Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, December 2014

I have admired many of the issues in Vasily Petrenko’s Shostakovich cycle, but none more than this harrowing account of the death-ridden Fourteenth Symphony—one of the composer’s greatest works. With powerfully idiomatic performances by both soloists and the Liverpool strings and percussion, this superb recording is the first to set alongside the classic one by Reshetin, Vishnevskaya, and Rostropovich. © 2014 MusicWeb International



Peter Quantrill
Sinfini Music, September 2014

…the production values are uniformly excellent…conductor Vasily Petrenko makes a distinctive case for each symphony, requiring his Liverpool band to turn on a sixpence for the jump-cut sequences in the early and late works, and mining a broad, properly Russian vein of tragedy in the mid-period symphonies.

The bass Alexander Vinogradov is excellent…[as] a kind of co-conspirator with the Israeli soprano Gal James in the Fourteenth…The strings of the RLPO are appropriately thinned-out to provide the sparest possible backing to these reflections on death. © 2014 Sinfini Music Read complete review



Jean-Yves Duperron
Classical Music Sentinel, September 2014

…this symphonic work is Shostakovich at his gauntest. And Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic musicians deliver in kind. And both singers seem to have…opted for a vocal quality that is bone-chilling in its baleful and sinister character. Enjoy! © 2014 Classical Music Sentinel Read complete review



Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, September 2014

To have a new version…and in such a stunning performance and recording as this one by Petrenko, James, Vinogradov, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and Naxos is very welcome indeed, and urgently recommended. © 2014 Fanfare Read complete review



Stephen Estep
American Record Guide, September 2014

Petrenko has delivered a respectable, emotionally-true account of the 14th. The singers are quite good, and the orchestra isn’t shy about their vituperative business. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Michael Cookson
MusicWeb International, July 2014

Maestro Petrenko’s pair of high quality soloists, Israeli soprano Gal James and Russian bass Alexander Vinogradov…deliver vividly voiced interpretations.

…throughout this compelling performance the string ensemble is commendable as is the fresh feeling of rhythmic freedom from the percussion.

The Naxos engineers continue their sterling work, capturing an excellent sound quality…With this outstanding new recording…Shostakovich’s music is being given the finest advocacy. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Lawrence Schenbeck
PS Audio, July 2014

SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: Symphonies, Vol. 8 - Symphony No. 7, "Leningrad" (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Petrenko) 8.573057
SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: Symphonies, Vol. 10 - Symphony No. 14 (G. James, A. Vinogradov, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Petrenko) 8.573132

…Petrenko’s performance is one of the very best around.

I found Symphony No. 14 much more rewarding. Its theme is Death—cruel, implacable, inevitable—concerning which the musical message is delivered at least as fervently as that of No. 7. However, No. 14 brings more raw honesty, laden with ironic subtexts, to the shoot-out.

Petrenko has just one more Shostakovich symphony left to record (No 13, “Babi Yar”). It’s bound to be excellent. © 2014 PS Audio Read complete review




David Gutman
Gramophone, June 2014

…with bold sound and detailed booklet-notes this would be a thrilling investment at any price. Let’s not forget the singers’ fresh-sounding contribution. Alexander Vinogradov…is one of those Russian basses whose rich, sepulchral tones, easily produced, belie a boyish frame. Gal James…throws herself into the proceedings with striking commitment. Strongly recommended. © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, May 2014

Vasily Petrenko’s account of Shostakovich’s 14th Symphony is a very dark one, with much desolation and showing a composer sinking totally into despair. The excellent Liverpool Philharmonic plays with a sharp and often stringent sound. © 2014 Pizzicato



BBC Music Magazine, May 2014

Orchestral double basses…have terrific impact, and the pizzicato trudging of the prisoner in the Sante Jail is vividly caught. The frenzy and the dances bite deep under Petrenko. © 2014 BBC Music Magazine



Infodad.com, May 2014

The penultimate release in Petrenko’s Shostakovich cycle for Naxos…is at the same excellent level as all the others. Petrenko’s soloists are particularly well-suited to the music, with Gal James’ slightly shrill soprano fitting the texts well and the deep, resonant baritone of Alexander Vinogradov slipping warmly and firmly into the music from start to finish. But what Petrenko does that sets his reading of this symphony on such a high plane is to regard the work as a true symphony, accepting the groupings of poems as being, in effect, symphonic movements, and bringing out very cleanly the elements that appear here and are clearly symphonic in Shostakovich’s non-vocal works…Petrenko’s performance is a well-organized and deeply moving one, with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra once again playing with eloquence and understanding, and the result is a Shostakovich Fourteenth that stands at the same level as the other entries in this series—and that is a very high level indeed. © 2014 Infodad.com Read complete review



International Record Review, May 2014

I have been impressed with this issue, for it is technically superbly recorded and the performance has an integrity that is most admirable…The orchestral playing…is extremely fine throughout. © 2014 International Record Review




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, April 2014

This is a sensational performance, the first that truly vies with the classic Rostropovich/Vishnevskaya/Reshetin for supremacy. Vasily Petrenko enjoys the distinct advantage of two absolutely fabulous young soloists.

…Petrenko is more than gripping. …Petrenko captures every mood, from the feverish waltz of Malagueña, to the urgent yearning of O Delvig, Delvig! In Petrenko’s hands, we become supremely conscious of how Shostakovich achieves moments of exquisite beauty using the simplest of means—a wandering string line in De profundis or The Death of the Poet—or passages of sardonic humor with the militant rhythm of the tom-toms in On Watch. © 2014 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



Stephen Smoliar
Examiner.com, April 2014

Between the irony, the brevity, and the transparency of orchestration, this music is highly meditative but never maudlin. Once again Petrenko has come up with a performance that recognizes all of these positive qualities, providing an account that honors the sincerity of Shostakovich’s expressiveness during what was clearly an extremely depressing time in his life. © 2014 Examiner.com Read complete review




Norman Lebrecht
Sinfini Music, April 2014

Described by Shostakovich as ‘a protest against death’, the Russian translations of eight 20th-century poems can sound harsh and the orchestration sparse. Not here: the sound picture is near-perfect. Neither singer—the Russian bass Alexander Vinograd and the Israeli soprano Gal James—ever has to force a line and the orchestra point up the rhythms with stunning precision and a serenity of strings. No previous recording of the 14th Symphony lays greater claim to beauty. Five stars, no question. © 2014 Sinfini Music Read complete review




Hugh Canning
The Sunday Times, London, April 2014

Petrenko’s outstanding series of the complete Shostakovich symphonies with his Royal Liverpudlians continues to impress. © 2014 The Sunday Times, London



David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2014

In the strict terminology, Shostakovich’s Fourteenth is not a symphony but an orchestral song-cycle scored for solo soprano, baritone, strings and percussion. It uses the highly emotive poems of Lorca, Apollinaire, Kuchelbecker and Rilke, all translated into Russian for the composer, though it has been performed on disc using the original languages. Most speak of death, some of love, and a few touch on the thorny Russian topic of imprisonment, Shostakovich at times taking a very sardonic look at life. Having had the good fortune some years ago of comparing all of the recorded versions of the fifteen symphonies and writing about them at length, I found the Fourteenth the most difficult to describe, as the interpretive differences were often less obvious than in all the other symphonies, and yet the end result, strangely enough, were performances that were so very different. In the case of Vasily Petrenko his view is one of harsh reality, often drawing from the orchestra ugly sounds to reinforce the words, the recording accentuating this brutal approach by close microphoning. Response to the soloists has to be a personal reaction to vocal quality, Alexander Vinogradova, having a distinctive Russian vibrato, his voice and approach ideal for the hard-hitting moments, of which there are so many. I suppose I will forever hear the originator, Galina Vishnevskaya, singing the soprano part with her characteristic quality as it raged against the dying of light. Yet if we take from our ears those years long ago, the young Gal James is a superb singer very well able to send a cold shiver down the spine. Her intonation is squeaky clean, while the bottom end is uncommonly well-supported and weighty. All of this pontificating leads me to say that you will find few versions more disturbing than this one, and it will take its place in the finest recorded Shostakovich cycle of modern times. © 2014 David’s Review Corner



John Quinn
MusicWeb International, April 2014

…this new Petrenko recording has much to commend it; it’s one of the best performances in his cycle to date. I’m delighted to find that even though this is not a full-price issue, Naxos have not stinted and have provided the transliterated Russian texts and English translations in the booklet. That’s crucial to appreciating this symphony…

Anyone who has been following the Petrenko cycle can add this latest instalment with confidence. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Bob Neill
Positive Feedback Online, March 2014

Petrenko’s continuing insistence on Shostakovich as musical poet and the emotional power of his ardent young soloists, a Russian baritone and Israeli soprano, makes moments of this performance almost overwhelming.

The quality of the recording—great resolution and presence—magnify the whole presentation dramatically.

This is the penultimate release in one of the greatest symphonic cycles of our time. © 2014 Positive Feedback Online Read complete review





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