Shostakovich: Symphony No.11 CD
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Symphonie n°11 en sol mineur "1905" op.103 / Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra - Vasily Petrenko, direction
About the Artist
Vasily Petrenko has been awarded the prize of best male artist at the Classical Brits 2010
Top Customer Reviews
Of all what might be called his 'political' Symphonies, the 11th is the one describing events - the 1905 Revolution - that arguably were closest to the composer's heart. Revolutions that fail have an expectation, an innocence, that those which succeed - 1789, 1917 - tend to lose as the men of violence take the helm. The massacre of peaceful demonstrators outside the Winter Palace which triggered the abortive revolt of an oppressed people thus remained a pure expression of the popular will, untainted by later excesses. The 11th Symphony, with its revolutionary songs, is a tribute to the victims of Tsarist tyranny: in the second movement, the massacre is described; in the third - a heart-rending threnody, they are commemorated; and the last looks forward to a better future.
The present recording avoids some of the slow pacing that can make the work rather too long for the listener: at 57:37 it is at the faster side overall (Mravinsky is shorter still) and benefits as a result. The dynamic range is, if anything, extreme, and unless one has undemanding neighbours, volume adjustment will be necessary from time to time - but that is the way the symphonmy is written anyway.Read more ›
Since Stokowski released this onto the 'western' scene in the late 1950s (with the Houston Symphony Orchestra on the Everest label?) it has been beset by charges of agitprop. Such critics did not know their Shostakovich. He is Everyman's composer: compliant and critical. Cajoling and condemnatory.
The best performances of this symphony in the past have been from Mravinsky and Kondrashin. Their apparent attention to the party line caused a certain amount of disdain amongst the critics who were jealously guarding 'The Symphony' from an invasion of pictorialism (Did they know their Berlioz?). Those of us who always loved the theatricality of this symphony and also spotted a strength of line and intellectual argument in this music are absolutely thrilled by the amount of performances of this work that have been committed to disc. I just can't stop accumulating them.
Some performances seem either too plush, or they drag us through nearly seventy minutes of highly concentrated and sustained tension; without yielding a satisfactory denouement. Rostropovich's LSO Live performance has, perhaps, an even finer recording but is dogged by a metronomic efficiency of the percussive sections. This is not supposed to be measured or comfortable music. This is not for Classic fM's Smooth Classics Hour. It needs a touch of hysteria about it. This is for the radical philosopher amongst us and within us all.
Now Vasily Petrenko and Naxos have given us an even more modern candidate for a straight line to the heart of the piece in a lean but not hurried traversal of 57 minutes. The Liverpool players give this their best shot and sound absolutely convinced that this is the begining of a revolution against oppression.Read more ›
I look back to the propitious beginning of the cycle with the release of the 11th Symphony 'The Year 1905'in 2009; my Amazon webpage for the disc reads that I had purchased it on 10th August 2010. Many - and this includes me - believe that the 11th is Shostakovich's best Symphony. It depicts a fraught 'Bloody Sunday' massacre of two hundred peaceful demonstrators by Czarist soldiers outside the Winter Palace in St Peters burg in 1905.
The characteristics of this rendition became the hallmark of the cycle as a whole; the charisma, prowess, and on this specific instance passion of the young Russian conductor, Vasily Petrenko, an inspired Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and a crystalline clear sound by the supposedly humble Naxos label.
The excerpt that follows from the note on the cover of the disc provides a superb description of the character and characteristics of orchestra and Symphony:
'Scored for a sizable orchestra of triple woodwind, four horns, three each of trumpets and trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, celesta, harps and strings, the Symphony makes extensive use of revolutionary songs as thematic elements, as it progresses, without pause, from the glacial opening movement, 'Palace Square', to the terrifying massacre and its aftermath, 'The Ninth of January', the funeral third movement, 'Eternal Memory', and the final movement, 'The Tocsin', which culminates with cataclysmic bell strokes.'
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this very much. I was present in the Royal Albert Hall when Sir Malcolm Sergeant conducted the UK premier in the presence of the composer and this audio disc brought back... Read morePublished on 8 July 2014 by John Chandler
Fantastic reading of one of Shotakovich' most colourful symphonies. The symphony is fulf of tension from the mysterious beginning up to the overwhelming end wirh the bells. Read morePublished on 3 May 2014 by Bert Nederlof
Previously, I had the Rostropovich/LSO recording of this not very well known symphony. The Petrenko recording is far superior, very good performance and excellent recording.Published on 22 Jan. 2014 by John HOLLAS
First heard this on this year's Proms. Was knocked out by its beauty and power. Starts off ultra quiet, so you really need to have a quiet time to listen. Read morePublished on 30 Oct. 2013 by Martin Verrill
Very good performance from a good young Russian conductor. I strongly recommend this recording to anyone wishing to build up a collection of the Shostakovich symphonies.Published on 29 May 2013 by dip
With its title and description of actual events the Eleventh Symphony, especially with the, "Leningrad" Symphony acting as a previous model, was in serious danger of sounding like... Read morePublished on 24 May 2013 by xxsfgsvs
This very well recorded and dynamically wide-ranging disc from 2008 was Petrenko's Shostakovich calling card. It declared a number of things. Read morePublished on 10 May 2013 by I. Giles