Three weeks after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Shostakovich volunteered with the Home Guard in Leningrad. As the siege of the city intensified, he worked on his Seventh Symphony, completing three movements before being forced to leave Leningrad and travel east by train. The work was completed in December that year. Initially he gave each movement a programmatic title, but later withdrew them, leaving this epic work as an emblem of heroic defiance in the face of conflict and crisis: 'I dedicate my Seventh Symphony to our struggle against fascism, to our coming victory over the enemy, to my native city, Leningrad.'
'The playing is not only well drilled throughout the four movements, it is also steeped in atmosphere that evokes a whole spectrum of emotions that seem to come as close to the nub of what Shostakovich was experiencing and voicing through his music as it is possible to be. While we all hear this symphony in our own ways, Petrenko's vision of it is thoroughly compelling.' --The Telegraph
Petrenko's Shostakovich cycle already is one of the best out there, but this release really puts the seal on his achievement. This is absolutely essential, and as I said, it's exceptionally well recorded to boot. --David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday 10/10
A conductor who can make Shostakovich's vast, vulgar Seventh Symphony as moving and impressive as Vasily Petrenko makes it has an understanding of this music at the absolutely highest level. --Mark Estren, InfoDad