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Customer Review

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better that expected, 30 April 2013
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This review is from: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7, "Leningrad" (MP3 Download)
After the success of previous Petrenko/Liverpool Shostakovich recordings I was counting the days to getting hold of this one, probably one of the most iconic of symphonies. Imagine the loudspeakers belting it out at the German Army across Leningrad, telling them the Russian Spirit will never be broken!
Petrenko has moulded the forces of the RLPO into a powerhouse that has the ability and arsenal to bring it off without sounding at all stretched.
I wasn't disappointed - from the very first theme right up to the final mega-crescendo chord the musicians are completely in control and know precisely what they are stating. Every change in dynamic, every new colour and timbre is part of a unified message that comes from deep down inside the soul of this most Russian of Shostakovich's symphonies.
Recording quality is at the very top quality.
I am only missing 4, 13 and 14 and then I will own the definitive cycle of the symphonies.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 30 Apr 2013 23:35:48 BDT
Roasted Swan says:
errm... Leningrad not Stalingrad

Posted on 1 May 2013 13:06:58 BDT
It's myth-making by the Socialist Realist Soviets that this symphony is (only) about Germans attacking Leningrad. Read carefully Krzystof Meyer book on the composer as an example.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 May 2013 17:25:50 BDT
Hi Charles,
I am sure you are absolutely correct. But make sure you listen to this recording!
Cheers

In reply to an earlier post on 3 May 2013 09:31:52 BDT
I certainly will. The Ashkenazy/Decca/Leningrad PO - now deleted I think - is a revelation too.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 May 2013 10:02:40 BDT
We heard St Petersburg play it last year at the Barbican. It was tremendous. I have the Temirkanov recording but will look out for the Ashkenazy one you suggest.
Cheers

Posted on 6 May 2013 20:35:58 BDT
JayJayDee says:
The definitive cycle of Shostakovich is that by Kiril Kondrashin.
This ongoing series is a fine modern alternative and is very well played, but it is not the last word. All the same, I look forward to Petrenko's Thirteenth.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jan 2016 01:07:09 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Jan 2016 04:46:14 GMT
I don't know about Kondrashin vis-ŗ-vis this symphony, but I sure have vivid memories of the transition from knowing it in William Steinberg's pioneering but utterly banal 78 r.p.m. set and Leonard Bernstein's revelatory recording with the N.Y.P.O. As 19-years-old sailor in 1963, another dude, a grubby, pimply, odourous, and obnoxious fellow sailor, had that Steinberg 78s set (long after it was cool to play discs of that older format!) and he played it over and over and over again in the barracks. Everybody (most of us, in our common situation, were musically inclined and trained) just detested the work. Steinberg and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra seemed to do everything to emphasise all the worst in this symphony: utter, noisy bombast and claptrap.

Years later someone insisted that I reacquaint myself with the Seventh. I got the Bernstein recording, heard it, entirely amazed (and pleased with the music). Now the work sounded like the masterpiece of emotion, sensibility, and epic structure that it is.

Seldom have I had such a transformation of the estimation of any musical work as that. When and if I hear Petrenko, Bernstein will be the measure of success in knowing whether the young man grasps just what this music can be.
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