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Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4
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Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4

1 Oct. 2013 | Format: MP3

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Oct. 2013
  • Release Date: 1 Oct. 2013
  • Label: Naxos
  • Copyright: (C) 2013 Naxos
  • Total Length: 1:04:44
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00FEYCR30
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,487 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Peter Hemsworth on 30 Sept. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful recording of Shostakovich's 4th symphony and it captures, in full-bodied clarity, superlative orchestral playing of a mighty score. Bravo! indeed to all concerned.
Every one of the many, shifting moods of this symphony are captured and characterised, the brutal (how wonderfully hammered and shrieked out in the opening), the lyrical and the mysterious. So many details of this complex score are brought out as if the work were brand new. I have listened to many recordings of this symphony, many of them extremely fine, and this one stands out in every way. There are so many characterful and beautifully played solos (bass clarinet, trombone...) and the famous frantic fugal passage for the strings in the first movement is terrifying. I am in awe of the the whole cycle so far (only 13 and 14 to go) and all at bargain prices: they would be worth collecting at full price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By I. Giles HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 3 Nov. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This disc, very well recorded in 2013, presents a very convincing reading of this often problematical symphony. At the time it was written this was undoubtedly the most searching of Shostakovich's symphonies to date. What it was searching for was the problem as it soon fell foul of the Soviet authorities and Shostakovich withdrew it during the rehearsal stage and, as is well known, followed this work with the very contrasted fifth which was described as in response to just criticism. Thereafter Shostakovich's musical output was a cat and mouse game between himself and the censors who had power of life and death over those whom they didn't like.

This is a long symphony in three movements that each contain many contrasted sections. It therefore needs long-term vision and a firm grip on these disparate constructional considerations if it is to meld into a satisfactory whole. If that is achieved the symphony is transformed from being a difficult work in danger of fragmentation into a powerful musical statement and one of his finest symphonies. One inevitably wonders what he would have written thereafter if the authorities had not been such an intervening pressure upon him.

Petrenko, in this reading, clearly shows that he is able to control all these elements and not lose sight of the long goal. This is one of his most impressive achievements in what has proved to be an impressive series. The playing of the orchestra could be reasonably described as inspired and the recording is both clear and weighty. The quality of the recording is a major contributor to the success of the communication of Petrenko's vision of the work.

This disc therefore joins the elite of recordings of the fourth symphony. They include versions by Gergiev, Jarvi and Petrenko.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mason Taylor on 11 May 2014
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I've been pretty much obsessed with this symphony for a good long while now, and over the years seem to have collected virtually every recording there's been. For this review, I'll pass over the work's extraordinary history, and proceed straight to my comments on this particular version.

Naxos' whole new cycle is a laudable project, but, while it's finely played and decently enough recorded, this particular release is ultimately scuppered by Petrenko's interpretation: while it's true to the letter of the score, it pretty much stops at that: there's very little looking to what's beyond - its spirit, if you like. Others find so very much more to this fantastic (in both senses of the word) work than he is able to reveal here. I'm aware, of course, that it is a bargain issue, but that really shouldn't justify selling the piece short (admittedly, there are full-price versions which fall at the same fence). On its own terms it passes muster, but in comparison to the considerable competition (often to be found as cheaply as discs in complete sets) this recording is ultimately rather anaemic and grey, with its extremes of emotion and volume somewhat underplayed.

In the best of hands, a performance of this symphony can be a kaleidoscopic switchback of vivid emotions and images, apparently as inconsequential as a dream (or perhaps, even more accurately, nightmare), even though a certain structural logic survives. Here we have the structural logic but without much of the emotional overlay, so, sadly, the listener is denied one half of the story and thus the full, harrowing, impact it should possess. To be fair, several other conductors have recorded the symphony more than once, so perhaps Petrenko may find something more to say after further acquaintance.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mondoro TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Oct. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This was recorded immediately after the live performance at the Philharmonic Hall on February 7th this year. Like the recent 'Leningrad' symphony release, it captures much of the atmosphere of the concert performance itself.

As usual, Naxos has provided detailed analytical, as well as background, notes, so it is only necessary to mention some highlights in this version. First, the very clear recording, bringing out Petrenko's attention to detail in the many sections where Shostakovich thins down his orchestration to chamber music proportions and allows gentler instruments such as the orchestral harps to stand out. Secondly, some outstanding contributions from section leaders: the first bassoon and trombones were the stars of the show in the live performance for their solos in the finale's quasi-scherzo section, and much of which of this is conveyed here. Thirdly, the Phil's upper strings, which meet the challenge of that physically demanding fugato in the first movement (5'15") and come out with flying colours.

Petrenko's interpretation of this massive work catches much of its kaleidoscopic nature, seemingly formless and ever changing, but in reality highly integrated and the work of a composer who knows exactly where he is going. The last eight minutes of the score, from what the CD notes rightly terms the 'granitic chorale' on brass, through to the chilly intensity of the final pages with their celesta chimes leaving the listener looking out into the abyss are memorably delivered here.

While not displacing older classic interpretations (e.g. Previn and Rozhdestvensky) this Naxos release has the advantage of superior sound, and clarity that enables one to admire Shostakovich's skill as orchestrator as well as composer.
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