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Shostakovich: Symphony No.7 Hybrid SACD, Live, SACD

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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. 1. Allegretto
  2. 2. Moderato (poco allegretto)
  3. 3. Adagio
  4. 4. Allegro non troppo
  5. 1. Allegretto
  6. 2. Moderato (poco allegretto)
  7. 3. Adagio
  8. 4. Allegro non troppo
  9. 1. Allegretto
  10. 2. Moderato (poco allegretto)
  11. 3. Adagio
  12. 4. Allegro non troppo

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars 11 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A performance so superb it makes a long symphony seem brief! 23 Mar. 2004
By Grady Harp - Published on
Valery Gergiev continues to grace the recording platform with exciting and meticulously crafted performances, especially of the Russian repertoire. This stunning interpretation of Shostakovich's SYMPHONY # 7, THE LENINGRAD is not only a near flawless live performance, it is unique in coupling the Kirov Orchestra with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. With such able forces at his beck and whim he is able to produce some of the grandest sound ever bestowed on this symphony. The big sounds are to be expected and when the visualization of war is the focus, the effect is overwhelming. Yet it is the way he makes the softest of sounds so pulsatile that is the mysterious merit of this CD. The entry of the strings introducing the infamous march tune that dominates the first movement is like a distant whisper of the cataclysm to come. All of the solo voices - the intrepid snare drum, the bass clarinet, bass bassoon, flutes, percussion, and indeed every section - glistens in technique. The inner slow movements of this symphony can be problematic in less facile conductors' hands, leaving the impression that perhaps this was not Shostakovich's best writing. But in Gergiev's concept these movements bloom with that 'echt' Russian sound that can bring any critic to his knees. Having just come from a performance of this work with the Los Angeles Philharmonic performing with luster and sheen under the baton of guest conductor Vassily Sinaisky (one of the already very fine concert season's more brilliant events), listening to this recording continues revelatory. Perhaps it takes a Russian conductor to find that special Russian sound: if that is so then we are much blessed with this very fine recording!
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Gergiev Disc! 14 Oct. 2003
By Neaklaus - Published on
This recording of the Shostakovich Symphony no. 7 in C "Leningrad" is one where an event has been captured for posterity. As with many of Valery Gergiev's recordings there is a
sense of "occasion" here, it was recorded in September of 2001
in the Netherlands, but the occasion for the concert is not mentioned in the liner notes. The performance is quite stunning to say the least the first movement is one of the most frightening pieces of music I think I have ever heard. It is almost difficult to not listen to it and not feel like you are
waiting for something to happen to you. This is truly a "demonstration" SACD, I'm sure the CD also sounds quite good too. The liner notes tell the interesting story of how this work
found its way from what was then the Soviet Union, which was under siege from the Nazis to the West. The Sheet music was photographed and put on microfilm and flown to of all places Teheran, and then on to London and eventually New York where it was performed by Toscanini and the NBC Symphony. This disc can be called a "demonstration" SACD. It is a must for Gergiev fans and for those who appreciate the music of Dmitri Shostakovich.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even More SACD goodness 13 Aug. 2003
By Ken Bailey - Published on
About a month ago, there was an interview of the Conductor on NPR for the release of this particular CD. They asked him the question of why did he use two orchestras, apparently the piece was meant to be played with two orchestras. They played some samples from it and I couldn't wait to get it. I was almost going to buy the standard format until I found out it was coming out on SACD, I'm glad I waited.
Of course I popped the CD in my car and it sounded pretty good. Then I popped the CD in my home unit and got to have my living room filled with the sounds of two symphonies. The repetitive music in the first movement really comes through clear. You can feel the impending doom that is about to befall Leningrad (or some people from Stalinism).
I hope they give the same treatment to the 8th at some point. I like that one a little better than this one.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gergiev knows his Shostakovich 21 Oct. 2004
By Giacomo C. - Published on
This is one impressive recording. The two large orchestras together are almost too overwhelming.. The sound is thick and sinewy in a way that one is unaccustomed to.
This interpretation ranks with the best in this symphony, Gergiev obviously knows his Shostakovich. The orchestral playing is fully up to his vision, being quite spectacular.
Gergiev makes more of the last three movements than most (one actually wants to hear them in this recording!), and hits all the right spots in the first.
Is this the best 7th? Impossible question, but one thing is certain - it has an unfair advantage over all the others in a superior format. ;)

The quality of the SACD recording is one of the best I have heard so far. As I listened to it for the first time, I was not struck by the quality right from the start, but once the orchestra started to unleash its fury halfway through the march I heard things one would not expect to hear outside of the concert hall itself.
This is a big recording of big music, and frankly, a big listening room is needed to fully appreciate it. My little room was shaking from the overly enclosed reverberations!

I look forward to hearing more of Gergiev's Shostakovich done in SACD. I echo another reviewer's desire to have a recording of the 8th of this quality.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but nothing to get super excited about 3 Nov. 2005
By Dr Allan Steel - Published on
I have about 10 recordings of this symphony.

Despite having 2 orchestras, the sound level on this recording is far too low. The start of the invasion theme was TOTALLY inaudible with my open headphones and standard background noise around me!

People rave about the sound of the 2 orchestras, but it's not a super clear recording and TOO QUIET in places. Strings are far too weak in places in the 1st movement; can hardly hear them when you should (as in other recordings).

The side drum in the invasion theme is far too close. Ridiculously, when we get the first real tutti (with the swirling horns), the side drum drowns out the trombones and other heavy brass!!! It is quite interesting to hear the side drum clearly in the big tuttis, but I don't consider it an UPFRONT soloist in the huge climax!

The top of the climax (when the side drum stops at 16:51) has a big bad DECCELERANDO which is VERY eccentric, not in the score and WEAKENS the climax in my view. The best point which I love about this normally is that the side drum hammers relentlessly at the same tempo to its very last beat at the climax. This slow down is inauthentic and WRECKS it!

Gergiev DOES NOT know his Shostakovich -- conduct as the composer wanted it (and knew best), please!!!

Some positives: 4th movement, at 5:01 onwards, I like the clear trumpets, side drum and strings. The climax of main theme of this movement at 5:49 is nice and clear on woodwind (which is rare; very often obscured). But timpani sound a bit out of tune at very end of symphony.

The Bernstein/CSO/DG recording is heaps better overall and if you want big clear sound go for it -- nothing approaches it for the 1st and 4th movements. Haitink/Conc/Philips is similarly good all round with very clear sound.

So I consider this an ECCENTRIC performance with some interesting bits, but far from a top standard of interpretation and the sound placement is very strange (particularly of the side drum).

So ignore the super hype of all the other reviewers about it being best ever, etc.
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