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Shostakovich: Symphony No. 14
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Shostakovich: Symphony No. 14

1 April 2014 | Format: MP3

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 April 2014
  • Label: Naxos
  • Copyright: (C) 2014 Naxos
  • Total Length: 49:19
  • Genres:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,266 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 17 April 2014
Format: Audio CD
My original experience of this Symphony was the Barshai/Moscow Chamber Orchestra on vynil going back to the 1970s. The Soprano was Margarita Miroshnikova. This was the yardstick by which I came to judge subsequent renditions of this particular piece of music. Seemingly no longer available even as a CD (who has the Melodya catalogue these days?), I sought alternative recordings which regrettably never quite did it. The soprano was either too harsh or sang flat in places. This must be an extraordinarily difficult piece to pitch with the voice. These included the Neeme Järvi, Ladislav Slovak (appalling), Barshai but with the WDR Symphonie. It was the final movement by which I judged my satisfaction - Conclusion - where the two voices combine in (sorry anglicized as per the libretto) "V mig visshey zhizni ona nas strazhdet..." etc. On this Petrenko recording with Gal James and Alexander Vinogrodov I have found that which had eluded me for so long. There is such a perfect blend of voices in this last movement which I personally found profoundly moving given the context of the whole symphony. For me James, Vinogrodov and Petrenko have produced an immensely satisfying interpretation which the others have come nowhere near. All this at a budget price. I have several of the other Petrenko recordings and as they all seem to be so crisp and sharp in rendition I wondered at the timings of each movement compared to others. For instance in concert Sanderling would conduct Shostakovich Symphonies like he had a train to catch especially No 5 which does well at a quick tempo even so. However, with Petrenko we get the measure plus the lyricism without being rushed but also without becoming a dirge like the Slovak Naxos recordings which will now be placed in the reserve collection. Petrenko will now grace my CD Library pride of place. Even if you have other interpretations of Symphony 14, this is something special.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener on 1 April 2014
Format: Audio CD
Seeing that this release of the Shostakovich Fourteenth, a deeply gloomy work, debuted at #1 in classical recordings indicates how popular Vasily Petrenko has become and how notable his entire Shostakovich cycle - it will conclude with one more release (Sym. 13 "Babi Yar"). Probably more than any of his other projects on disc, this long project made Petrenko's name, because he showed that he could stand up to great Shostakovich conductors on the order of Bernstein, Mravinsky, Kondrahsin, and Rozhdestvensky with fresh ideas and his immense musical gifts.

His Fourteenth is "taut and unsparing," to quote the Financial Times, to which we can add knife-edged. Where Simon Rattle, in his excellent, much more plush version from Berlin, softened the relentless theme of death that ties these eleven poems together, Petrenko's spareness is more confrontational. As most Russian recordings of the score have done, he's chosen a bass soloist with a deep, resonant voice (Alexander Vinogradov) where Rattle chose the less lugubrious Thomas Quasthoff. The young Israeli soprano Gal James seems remarkably adept at Russian, and her delivery has a touch of Slavic throatiness, adding to the reading's air of authenticity. (For the exact opposite, turn to Haitink's recording with Fischer-Dieskau and Julia Varady, singing the poems in their original languages, thus introducing Spanish, German, and French.)

Perhaps I should have led with a succinct judgment: This performance is as engrossing and musically convincing as the best of Petrenko's prevoius Shostakovich. It's only disadvantage, which will bother only a few listeners, is that the small ensemble of strings and percussion isn't expanded on the scale of Rattle's account, and the playing as such isn't world class.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Serghiou Const on 5 April 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
With the release of the 'Fourteenth Symphony', the penultimate release in the Shostakovich cycle comprising all fifteen symphonies, only the thirteenth is pending to complete the cycle with the brilliant Vasily Petrenko conducting an excellent Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Naxos label delivering an excellent in quality and clarity sound in the recordings. I intuit that the cycle is destined to become a memorable one.

The pensive mood of the symphony is reflected on the brown-yellow color of the disc cover.

The symphony has the particularity in being in effect a symphonic song-cycle, comprising a set of eleven poems on the theme of mortality, and in particular early or unjust death, for two solo singers accompanied by strings and percussion.

The poems were written by major literary figures like Federico Garcia Lorca, Guillaume Apollinaire, and Rainer Maria Rilke who all by tragic coincidence suffered a premature, early death. The songs are sung in Russian translation but in the liner note along with the Russian there is a translation in English of the original French, Spanish, and Russian texts. Also illuminating notes on the distinguished careers of the soloists, Israeli soprano, Gal James, and Russian baritone, Alexandr Vinogradov.

The eleven songs are divided in three movements comprising songs Nos. 1-3, 4-7, and 8-11 and consequently the attribution as 'symphonic song-cycle' is literally correct.

The first part symmetrically comprises a slow introduction followed by a scherzo and sonata-like allegro with slow coda. The second part comprises two relatively slow movements that frame a compact scherzo then brief intermezzo.
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