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While not quite as sinister as Berglund's, or as exciting as Bernstein's, this new Naxos recording by the Vasily Petrenko and the RLPO of Shostakovich's much-recorded war symphony has a lot going for it. The recording is both weighty and, when needed, shrill (there's much work for piccolos and first violins in their highest register). The wind soloists play beautifully throughout (special mention for the oboe and the E flat clarinet, each in the second movement). While the overall pace is slow, perhaps a little too slow in the first movement, there's still a stark, relentless quality to the rhythmic structure everywhere except the final few bars, where the last (perhaps triumphant?) climax is played as if it were a Tchaikovsky slow movement, molto rubato. I'm not sure about that, though I think I see what Petrenko means.

At any event, as others have said this is a very good recording of an excellent work, and it's very good value for money.
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on 17 March 2016
This is a 5* high octane performance of a bleak masterpiece with both conductor and orchestra on top form. The recording is easily comparable with the great recording made by Leonard Bernstein and the Chicago Symphony. The playing is just brilliant.
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on 23 January 2016
This is the symphony begun by Shostakovich during the siege of Leningrad in 1941. It is therefore an outstanding cultural experience in both musical and historic terms, and this recording lives up to that promise.
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on 21 November 2016
Most enjoyable.
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on 7 October 2016
excellent
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on 19 November 2016
Great
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on 28 July 2017
A great piece of 20th century classical music,played by a great Orchestra and it's famous conductor.
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on 20 May 2016
Great Leningrad
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on 18 March 2016
Good value recording
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on 26 May 2013
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.
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