This is VERY FAR from the "Seventh of Choice".
I have about 10 recordings of Shostakovich 7 and love the piece. It is huge and has so many powerful bits. Bernstein (DG) and Haitink (Decca) probably are amongst the best versions for this.
I've read positive reviews of this, but why don't any of them point out how many bad errors there are in this recording?
This is a huge piece and requires a top-notch orchestra. Sadly the orchestra here is not quite up to it in several places. The recording is interesting because it brings out some things not heard in other recordings. For example, the timpani are quite clear and so some curious things are heard for the 1st time.
So there are some good bits, but the general quality of playing is well below acceptable to be a great recording.
I list some of the things below I noted. Those who praise this recording should check out some of the really bad bits I mention. The woodwind at 5:40 in the last movement is absolutely awful -- why couldn't they edit this with a redo?? -- it really is terrible for a studio recording.
So not recommended: great in a few places, but disappointing too often with poor performance. Naxos has done some great recordings with the Russian PO, but this one falls short, sadly.
Trumpets obscured at the very beginning!
10:58: first viol entry strange kind of muffled?
11:39: tuba really stands out almost like a solo (stuck on doh te, doh, te, ...)!
12:56: timpani entry motto stays clear -- curious to hear "solo" tuba staying audible even when orch grows.
14:06 closing motto: timpani sound a bit out of tune.
14:14 GOOD: Walking timpani really comes out unlike any other recording. Violins, xylophone, and other high parts have same part as timpani, so quite curious.
14:51 the big shift to the "Klemzer" tune: trumpets a bit weak and distant when they should be absolutely blasting.
15:25: the frantic xylophone & piccolo do not come out: pity.
15:40: when bass gets the frantic triplets: bass clear, so good.
16:20: beating timpani nice and curious but cymbal & gong crashes cut off too quickly.
17:09: BAD: trumpets sound a bit off in climax.
17:27: solo tuba curious again (timing a bit off).
18:05: side drum attack curious.
22:04: BAD: horn entry does not match bassoon!
22:15: wonderful string reentry done without errors (phew!) but a bit rushed.
flutes nice and clear in last section.
8:40: bouncy solo tuba comes through again curiously in middle dramatic section and muted trumpets sufficiently loud in this section!
11:31: BAD: clarinets off in tender section with strings (ouch)!!!
13:28: BAD: harp is painfully off in sweet repetition of flute by violas.
4:17: tuba is nice and clear again in nasty tuba section (like like the Bernstein recording).
5:40: climax of main tune of last mvmt: timpani clear and good (rather like climax of 2nd mvmt of Sym 11), but woodwind WOEFUL!!!
5:43 and 5:49: AWFUL: clarinets are totally out of tune -- why didn't they redo this??? Right as this cacophony is happening, I do like the 1st violins coming out clearly with the same pattern as the timpani.
15:11 BAD: woodwind off.
17:15 onwards: timpani then trumpets and trombones very clear so good.
18:04: BAD: huge horn entry not done cleanly.