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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An orchestra in top form,
This review is from: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8 (Audio CD)This is the third instalment in the Petrenko cycle of Shostakovich symphonies, and follows a much-praised public performance the month before this recording was made, in March 2009.
The 8th Symphony of 1943 is the more abstract, and arguably greater, companion to the 'Leningrad'. The long first movement is an arc of sound in which the tension inexorabkly mounts to an almost unbearable climax, then unwinds slowly into an uneasy calm. Then follow two hard-driven scherzi, and a slow movement that forms the emotional heart of the work, ending with the unnerving judder of flutter-tongued flutes. The finale, following on without a break, offers a new dawn, dying away until a shift to a major key allows a tentative expression of optimism at the end.
The composer challenges the mettle of orchestral soloists, with many passages calling for great expression as well as virtuosity: a long cor anglais solo in the dying fall of the first movement; the piccolo in the scherzi; and a violin solo in the finale can be picked out from many in this visionary score. The RLPO principals are up to this challenge, with playing of great eloquence and refinement.
This is a performance which will greatly enhance the growing reputation of the RLPO and its young Russian conductor, and sits comfortably alongside the now classic versions of Mravinsky and Previn. It has the added advantage of superior modern sound to capture the extreme dynamic range of this symphony. As usual, Naxos provide excellent programme notes and the bargain price that is a feature of the company.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine modern recording to rival the very best in the European tradition,
This review is from: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8 (Audio CD)This disc, very well recorded in 2009, is an impressive follow=on to Petrenko's earlier symphony 11 which garnered considerable critical acclaim. This is of the same quality on all counts.
The RLPO has progressed to worldwide standards of orchestral delivery under Petrenko in a surprisingly short period of time and has extended Petrenko's contract to 2015. Petrenko has explained in previous interviews that he has tried to develop a Russian sound within the orchestra for performances of Russian repertoire. This has required adjustments to, not only musical phrasing, but also to the actual production of the instrumental sounds behind that phrasing.
What we get here is a 'Russianised' European sound. This does not have the degree of textural or emotional rawness that one can hear in Svetlanov's recent Russian recordings for example, but it certainly delivers more of that than in Haitink's readings to take a further and opposite example. Of course, if Shostakovich is to be seen as a truly universal composer with universal messages to impart, it should be possible to appreciate his music in various national and international 'tongues' so to speak. This is why Haitink's reading of this symphony can still be admired and appreciated particularly given the fine recorded sound provided by Decca.
However there are differences. This new performance makes more of the desolation and emptiness to be found in the outer movements especially. Equally there is a more intense build up of tension in the climaxes following on from those points of desolation. The emotional contrasts are thus emphasised more radically. The faster movements such as the allegro progress with more determination and drive. Haitink always provides a degreee of dispassioate restraint relatively.
I conclusion I would suggest that this disc will not disappoint those who respond well to the earlier 11th symphony by this team. The disc certainly deserves to be considered as one of the best currently available. it has the great additional advantage of offering state of the art sound at a bargain price point. Collectors of alternative interpretations should find this a fine extra recording to own. Collectors looking for an 'only' version would be wise to give this disc serious consideration.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern, western reading - probably superior to Haitink.,
This review is from: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8 (Audio CD)Cool and sleek, the playing of the RLPO has nothing in common with the driven, desperate, Soviet orchestras by any means, and so cannot be compared to Kondrashin (still my top choice overall) or Rozhdestvensky. As an alternative to Haitink (formerly my top western choice) on Decca, Petrenko and the RLPO provide it, and possibly beat it.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous recording.,
This review is from: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8 (Audio CD)Spectacular and flawless performance by a well integrated orchestra. Together with a very good sound engineering, it's a winner. The fourth movement is terrifying. Highly recommended.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CD Review - Symphony No 10 - Shostakovich - RLP0/Petrenko Series,
This review is from: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8 (Audio CD)This recording is part of the admirable Naxos budget price CD series of symphonies by Shostakovich with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under the able Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko. Although I am not first and foremost a devotee of twentieth-century music and prefer small-scale chamber performances to symphonies, this series presents an ideal opportunity to acquire a worthy version of the complete cycle of one of the modern age's great symphonic creations - with the Soviet Union history background and influence in evidence (a tale to be told in itself). These performances and recordings deliver a stirring sound-world. Prompt and pleasing order/delivery service.
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