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Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 1/ 3 CD

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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  • Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 1/ 3
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  • Shostakovich: Symphony No. 2 to October, Symphony No. 15
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  • Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13 Babi Yar [Vasily Petrenko, RLPO] [Naxos: 8.573218]
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Vasily Petrenko
  • Composer: Dmitry Shostakovich
  • Audio CD (28 Feb. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B004KDO2GG
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,992 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10 - Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  2. Symphony No. 3 in E flat major 'The First of May', Op. 20 - Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Product Description

Product Description

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra - Vasily Petrenko, direction


''This series… is developing into something really special. These RLPO Shostakovich recordings withstand comparisons with some of the greatest performances on disc.'' --Hugh Canning, --The Sunday Times

Shostakovich's mature music is so wide in its emotional range that the first three symphonies are easily overlooked. It would be a pity if this pairing of the First and Third became the Cinderella of the Royal Liverpool Phiharmonic/Petrenko cycle: the playing is fabulously crisp and committed, while the interpretations combine atmosphere and a sense of proportion-to the benefit of the youthful. First,which receives an eerily effective performance, free of exaggeration. The musical rewards of the Third, a self-consciously revolutionary piece, may be fewer, but with the Philharmonic Choir contributing a lusty finale, this CD captures its upbeat pulse as vividly as any rival version. ***** --Financial Times, 19/02/11

Steadily building up their catalogue of Shostakovich symphonies, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Vasily Petrenko here bring together a distinctly odd couple. Listening to the lucidity, economy and refined orchestral palette of the First Symphony, it is hard to imagine that only four years separate it from the Third s radical departure from symphonic norms. But Petrenko musters his forces superbly in both scores, harnessing the orchestral virtuosity that each of them demands, and lending the maligned Third a plausible raison d être additional to its mere significance as an instance of Shostakovich flirting with modernist Twenties trends. The First Symphony, completed in 1925, signalled the precocious, fresh talent of a composer who was then still only 18 years old, one who drew on conventional symphonic models while revealing a conspicuously individual personality in his treatment of them. The Third, composed in 1929, broke new grounds of complexity, territory that Shostakovich also explored in his more or less contemporaneous opera The Nose. Bearing the subtitle First of May , the symphony is in a single movement, which nevertheless falls into four discernible sections and ends with a jubilant chorus, along the way renouncing those aurally helpful principles of thematic unity and symphonic argument that had been paramount in the past. It needs careful handling if it is to assume appreciable shape, and Petrenko judges it expertly, knowing precisely when to put the foot down and increase the horsepower just as instinctively as he can allow the music to brood or manifest its strangeness. In the First Symphony he and the orchestra are fully equal both to the prominent, nifty solo writing and to the larger-scale sonorities, adding lustre to a disc that highlights intriguing stages in Shostakovich's development. --Daily Telegraph,13/03/11

Every young composer needs the sensitive skilll of Vasily Petrenko to join the dots of fits-and-starts inspiration,and I've never been more convinced by the whole,rather than just the isolated gestures,of the teenage shostakovich's first symphony.You hear more than ever how prophetic it is of things to come. Performance ****(*) Recording **** --BBC Music magazine,May'11

Disc of the Week --BBC CD review,16/04/11

Petrenko pulls his punches in two early Shostakovich symphonies.At bargain price,Naxos's offering id hardly bettered. --Gramophone,June'11

Disc of the Week --BBC CD review,16/04/11

This latest instalment in Petrenko's Shostakovich cycle with the RLPO more than maintains the superb standard they've set already. The quality on offer on the First Symphony is outstanding. **** --Classic fm Magazine,July'11

Disc of the Week --BBC CD review,16/04/11

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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After a spellbounding Shostakovich 10th a few months ago, I was expecting something even more special from Petrenko's latest Shostakovich release, the 5th in his ongoing cycle of the complete Shostakovich symphonies. I was not disapointed. This is Shostakovich of the highest possible standard, beating so many other contenders and keeping Petrenko in the reign as Shostakovich champion.

Petrenko gives a highly impressive performance of the first symphony. There is a excellent dynamic contrast right from the very beggining when a slight crescendo is added onto the very first note. This contrast continues throughout the whole symphony, with the most full, almighty forte's in the massive climaxes, and the most lush, pure pianissimo's. Petrenko handles the accompaniment for the many solos in this symphony very well by always getting the perfect balance. There are many solos in this piece that this orchestra have carried out to complete perfection but in particular: the flawless piano and wind passages in the virtuosic scherzo, the oboe solo at the beggining of the almost mournful 3rd movement, what sensitive playing! And also the percussion at the very beggining of the final movement, justice is really made to Shostakovich's genius orchestration here. But all sections of the RLPO deserve much credit: the lush strings, the joking but extra sensitive winds, the glorious brass and the thrilling percussion. At the helm of such a fantastic group of musicians, Petrenko does an absolutely amazing job, his choice of tempi always perfect. Also I would like to compliment Petrenko for making sense of the structure of this highly original piece. Where many conductors go wrong is by making the lead - ins to different sections sound "disjointed".
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By Mondoro VINE VOICE on 31 Mar. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Yet another excellent instalment in the award-winning Petrenko Shostakovich cycle, this time coupling the composer's stunning First with the more problematic Third. The RLPO's sheer virtuosity, referred in the preceding review, is matched by a recording of great clarity, as has been the norm in earlier releases in this cycle.

Petrenko has caught the very wide range of emotions expressed in the highly-accomplished First symphony, with quirky, sometimes sardonic playfulness (the two movements); mood of tragedy projecting in the drooping oboe and cello solos at the start of the Lento; and the unusually structured finale, starting with a recitative-like passage on oboe and tremolo strings- a device that was to become a trademark in later symphonies- introducing a lengthy struggle that leads to the final victory, expressed in an emphatic and defiant brass peroration.

After the sheer achievement of the First, the Third is a disappointment musically. True, the composer's skill as an orchestrator and his ability to challenge his players technically is again evident, and once more Petrenko and the RLPO have risen to the challenge. But this symphony is unstructured and musically seems to be going nowhere in particular. There are some gestures that were to become familiar later, including the 'busy' orchestral playing of the second part. The most satisfying section, Track 7, catches a note of repose rare in Shostakovich, beautifully conveyed in playing of great sensitivity. The composer's decision to set a rather mediocre poem celebrating revolution as a finale has probably contributed most to the generally bad press the Symphony has received. While I admired the Russian-sounding RLPO chorus, my earlier opinions of this choice of finale did not change materially.
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I have little to add to Daniel Hogan's excellent review. I agree with every word. Like the performance of the Tenth, tempos seem natural an unforced throughout even allowing for some particularly animated playing in the first symphony finale. The playing is world class again and the recording is top class too.

I doubt if the First could sound better though there is still an element of the student rather than master about it. The orchestra handles the many solos superbly and here Shostakovich shows his own identity with a masterly orchestration.

I must confess I must be one of the few people in the world to have a soft spot for the Third. It is one of my guilty pleasures. Its choral finale is mercifully short (Shostakovich apparently found the text laughable himself) and while the work sets out to depict some communist bombast there is a great deal of evocative tone painting throughout: this really is the music of youth and spring. It is unusual to catch Shostakovich indulging in landscape painting but it is to be found here. Overall it is bright and showy with a more profuse orchestration than the First, though the growing influence of Mahler is still hard to detect - it really comes to the fore in the Fourth.

As in much early Shostakovich the music is keen to shock with his customary nervy melodic lines, twists, harmonic raspberries and orchestral washes rather than the more boney and soloistic First. Just to confirm its radical credentials Shostakovich made a point of not repeating any themes: a linked four movement structure is clear but any thoughts of sonata form or rondos go out of the window. A shame you might feel that he abandoned his mastery of form shown in the first.

This Naxos series is rapidly turning into the one to beat.
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