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Shostakovich, D.: Symphonies, Vol. 1 - Symphony No. 11, "The Year 1905"

Shostakovich, D.: Symphonies, Vol. 1 - Symphony No. 11, "The Year 1905"

1 Mar 2009

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 31 Mar 2009
  • Label: Naxos
  • Copyright: (C) 2009 Naxos
  • Total Length: 57:33
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001W1WJQE
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,518 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Mondoro TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 April 2009
Format: Audio CD
Shostakovich symphony cycles are appearing in increasing numbers in response to continued public interest in a composer who, like Mahler, can be said to have summed up the human experience in the last century. This commencement to a new series with Petrenko and the RLPO makes a worthy addition to the catalogue, and I hope successors to it - the 8th was done live recently and the 10th is scheduled for next season - will not be far behind.

Of all what might be called his 'political' Symphonies, the 11th is the one describing events - the 1905 Revolution - that arguably were closest to the composer's heart. Revolutions that fail have an expectation, an innocence, that those which succeed - 1789, 1917 - tend to lose as the men of violence take the helm. The massacre of peaceful demonstrators outside the Winter Palace which triggered the abortive revolt of an oppressed people thus remained a pure expression of the popular will, untainted by later excesses. The 11th Symphony, with its revolutionary songs, is a tribute to the victims of Tsarist tyranny: in the second movement, the massacre is described; in the third - a heart-rending threnody, they are commemorated; and the last looks forward to a better future.

The present recording avoids some of the slow pacing that can make the work rather too long for the listener: at 57:37 it is at the faster side overall (Mravinsky is shorter still) and benefits as a result. The dynamic range is, if anything, extreme, and unless one has undemanding neighbours, volume adjustment will be necessary from time to time - but that is the way the symphonmy is written anyway.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By JayJayDee on 2 Jan 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful symphony.
Since Stokowski released this onto the 'western' scene in the late 1950s (with the Houston Symphony Orchestra on the Everest label?) it has been beset by charges of agitprop. Such critics did not know their Shostakovich. He is Everyman's composer: compliant and critical. Cajoling and condemnatory.

The best performances of this symphony in the past have been from Mravinsky and Kondrashin. Their apparent attention to the party line caused a certain amount of disdain amongst the critics who were jealously guarding 'The Symphony' from an invasion of pictorialism (Did they know their Berlioz?). Those of us who always loved the theatricality of this symphony and also spotted a strength of line and intellectual argument in this music are absolutely thrilled by the amount of performances of this work that have been committed to disc. I just can't stop accumulating them.

Some performances seem either too plush, or they drag us through nearly seventy minutes of highly concentrated and sustained tension; without yielding a satisfactory denouement. Rostropovich's LSO Live performance has, perhaps, an even finer recording but is dogged by a metronomic efficiency of the percussive sections. This is not supposed to be measured or comfortable music. This is not for Classic fM's Smooth Classics Hour. It needs a touch of hysteria about it. This is for the radical philosopher amongst us and within us all.

Now Vasily Petrenko and Naxos have given us an even more modern candidate for a straight line to the heart of the piece in a lean but not hurried traversal of 57 minutes. The Liverpool players give this their best shot and sound absolutely convinced that this is the begining of a revolution against oppression.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By N. P. Smith on 4 April 2009
Format: Audio CD
This is the first release in a projected complete Shostakovich Symphony cycle planned for completion over 5 years.

No.11 may seem an unusual choice to begin a series with, but this work, which depicts the 1905 massacre outside St Petersburg's Winter Palace, enables the RLPO and Vasily Petrenko alike to give listeners a good indication of what can be expected from the cycle as a whole.

Great swathes of the music are of almost glacial stillness and dramatic tension, and Petrenko's ability to maintain this tension for extended periods is awesome. Successive dramatic climaxes, especially in the second movement "The Ninth of January", are built with a clear structure and the conductor takes care never to over dramatise music that could in other hands seem histrionic.

The third movement, "Eternal Memory", is as impassioned as Shostakovich gets, while the final movement builds to a searing finale and at the end we are left, quite literally, with the sound ringing in our ears, as the bells are left disappearing into the silence - a sound that would usually be drowned by audience applause at a live performance.

The Naxos engineers have captured the sound in Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall with a brilliance and clarity that we would expect from a full-price label, and at this price there is no excuse not to own this spectacular recording.

Recent live performances of other symphonies in the cycle, given in Liverpool by the same artists (Most recently No.8, being recorded in early April 2009), make us look forward with anticipation to the future releases in this set.
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