18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A landmark recording for the RLPO,
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This review is from: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7, 'Leningrad' [Vasily Petrenko | RLPO] [Naxos: 8.573057] (Audio CD)
Following their highly acclaimed performance of the `Leningrad' at the Philharmonic Hall in January 2012, Petrenko and the Phil recorded this eagerly awaited CD a few months later. Their spacious (79' 15") account is remarkable for its dynamic range, from the barely audible drum taps that launch the `war machine' section of the first movement to the magnificent conclusion, with an augmented brass section proclaiming faith in ultimate victory.
Picking out orchestral sections/soloists for particular mention is difficult as the RLPO give us a truly excellent performance, but I would point out such less noticeable features like the bass clarinet musings that end the Adagio. Other high points in these middle movements are the warm string tone that follows the woodwind announcement of the opening theme in that movement, and the headlong, very Mahlerian outburst of passion in the middle of the otherwise staid and reflective second movement.
Petrenko makes a powerful case for the finale, too often dismissed as a mere exercise in bombast. After the initial, over-rhetorical introduction, he builds up the music from the intensity of the `sarabande' passage (at 6'), thence to the passacaglia, with its major/minor ambiguity, to reach the apotheosis in the major chord that ends the symphony in a blaze of glory. Above all, he convinces listeners that the `Leningrad', structurally one of the more uneven Shostakovich symphonies, is a great work.
Excellent analytical notes provided, as always, by Naxos. Don't hesitate; this is yet another landmark performance by the RLPO.
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Initial post: 8 May 2013 02:33:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 May 2013 02:34:49 BDT
Mr. T. Y. W. Kent says:
Fine review. For me 4,7,8 & 11 are finest of the canon. I am keeping up with the RLPO's cycle but hope that no-one forgets Neeme Jarvi's RSNO versions some of which I heard live. I think that criticisms of 7 due to structure and the Nazi bolero of the 1st movement are misguided. Yes, Stalin is there in the shadows but Hitler is the immediate threat. It is a magnificent scream against oppression, brutal merciless war and mass murder, rape and genocide. For me it just works emotionally. I hope that it does for many others. My family endured the Clydebank Blitz and my father helped relieve Belsen. Perhaps that that explains my view. Enjoy, Tom K.
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