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This review is from: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7, "Leningrad" (MP3 Download)
Amazing how the views of this symphony have changed over 50 or 60 years.It was regarded as a triumph of Russian resistance when first performed.Then, during the cold war, it was hardly performed at all, regarded as Soviet bombast - like the People's Palace in Warsaw.
Nowadays we can be more sophisticated and sensitive to the role of the Russian composer or even of their average citizen.Now we know how barbaric Stalin was to the citizens of the country he ruled. Furthermore we think that maybe they might not have held out against the Germans without this terror which applied to everyone, not least Soviet composers. We see the country today ruled by an ex KGB man and we realise that Russia is never going to be a sort of Eastern Tunbridge Wells. So we have to reconsider Soviet music like the Leningrad symphony, often just as music and not trying to spot the secret signals Shostakovich may have been trying to send out. I have always liked the 7th which struck me as very Mahlerian;except sometimes the shrill tone Shostakovich often employs for the woodwind is not to my taste. I also like this performance ,though it is not as exciting as my old Melodya LPs by Mravinsky. Yes that dates me.
As for Petrenko , Liverpool can rightly be proud that he is the best 'thing' to hit the city since Danny Murphy. And, like the latter, he will be snaffled up by London before too long.