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Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7- Leningrad

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Audio CD, May 28, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.'

Review

'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


Product Details

  • Orchestra: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Vasily Petrenko
  • Composer: Shostakovich
  • Audio CD (May 28, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B00BX8TZM2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,180 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Considered by almost everyone to be one of the true bright lights of the young conductors today, Vasily Petrenko, chief conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and chief conductor designate of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra continues to gather kudos from around the world, especially for this traversal of the Russian repertoire and the symphonies of Shostakovich in particular. In October 2007 Vasily Petrenko was named Young Artist of the Year at the annual Gramophone Awards, and in 2010 he won the Male Artist of the Year at the Classical Brit Awards. In 2009 he was awarded Honorary Doctorates by both the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University, in recognition of the immense impact he has had on the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the city's cultural scene. And it is with this orchestra that he impresses with this stunning interpretation of the Symphony #7 `Leningrad' of Shostakovich. Petrenko is a regular guest conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (his performances of the Shostakovich 10th and of Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony have been season landmarks).

Though the aura surrounding the 7th symphony is fairly well known, it bears reiterating. 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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Oscar O. Veterano on June 25, 2013
Format: Audio CD
SHOSTAKOVICH ; Symphony No. 7 "Leningrad" NAXOS

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of chief conductor Vasily Petrenko, has issued an exciting new rendition of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7.
Also called the Leningrad, this music was written under extreme duress, while the composer was serving in the Home Guard, fighting the Nazis, at the Battle of Leningrad.

This is a clear and precisely balanced recording, brilliantly conducted and performed, of music that still sounds urgent and intensely modern, while remaining accessible and emotionally involved.

In fact, this sense of humanity and involvement is why this music continues to be relevant today; those who tend to stay away from serious 20th century music under the mistaken impression that it's all bleak, 12 tone alienation are in for a surprise upon hearing Shostakovich's 7th.

Highly recommended 9 out of 10 Oscar O.Veterano
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Hank Attaway on June 24, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Thirty years ago, Naxos Records shocked the classical music recording industry by releasing low-cost discs of standard repertoire by relatively unknown orchestras and conductors. Its business practices earned it a substantial market share, with millions of CD sales and an online digital library second to none. Today, Naxos CDs are still a fraction of the cost of their name brand competitors; however, in what appears to be an image shift, they are no longer relying on lower profile artists. Albums such as Shostakovich Symphony 7 by Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic are helping to reshape Naxos into the very kind of label it competed against in the 1980's. Even the famous simple white cover art, that has been in use for thirty years, was scrapped in favor of a stylish red sleeve, illustrating that Naxos is making a push to re-brand itself as a new cool industry leader.

Petrenko's expertly paced interpretation allows the symphony to unfold like a well-executed drama. Though the programmatic elements of this work are hotly debated, Petrenko's crafting of this performance makes a strong case for a narrative. His rendition of Symphony No. 7, as well as other staples from the Russian repertoire, has earned him acclaim as a master interpreter. This recording makes it clear why Petrenko has been scooping up the highest awards in classical music (Gramophone Classical Recording of the Year 2009, 2011).

His proficiency on the podium is matched by the competence of the RLPO. From the opening notes of the first movement, it is easy to ascertain that this is an ensemble of the highest caliber. The strings play with a brilliance typically reserved for brass. Hauntingly beautiful wind solos, a dazzling brass section, and rock solid percussion complement them.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Scarlet Voice on June 25, 2013
Format: Audio CD
First, this reviewer must disclose he had never heard Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7 before listening to this new Naxos release. As an amateur historian heavily read in World War Two histories and historic novels, my knowledge of the Eastern Front in Russia made the experience of listening to this mammoth symphony all the more startling, written in 1942 when the German army was, in fact, the "barbarian at the gate" of Mother Russia.

Maestro Vasily Petrenko has molded the sound of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra to recreate a near-perfect reflection of a European (even eastern European) orchestra of Shotsakovich's period. No mellow, sweeping, soaring strings here: this is not Ormandy's Philadelphia Orchestra sound. It is a vibrant, personal composition presented in this recording with a presence that I can only imagine is close to how it sounded in its premiere 70 years ago. The large number of both brass and percussion this piece calls for (requiring, we are told in the notes, recalling brass players from the front in 1942 to give the premiere performance in 1942), making up half of the orchestra, gives the piece a brash quality, and visualizes, through music, what Russia was going through during this stage of the war.

Each movement has a different "feel," with none sense of patriotism virtually required of Soviet music of the time, but evocative of the battle raging in and around his native Leningrad. Shostakovich dedicates the symphony to the struggle against fascism, with the certainty of victory, and clearly the music is filled with a sense of hope and, if not optimism, the ultimate representation of what the album notes describe as "defiance."

Vasily Petrenko, a native Russian himself, clearly feels what Shostakovich has created.
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