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Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7- Leningrad

Shostakovich , Vasily Petrenko , Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Audio CD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Price: $10.83 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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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: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,653 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

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

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.'

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:MP3 Music
Vasily Petrenko's supporters call him the greatest young conductor in the world, and there aren't many serious rivals for the title. Trained in the rigorous system of Russian musical education from a very young age, his talent represents the best of post-Soviet culture. He has an inbred reverence for Shostakovich, which makes the ongoing cycle from Liverpool exciting. I only wish that the "Leningrad" Sym., the longest that Shostakovich wrote (Petrenko's timing is 79 min.), wasn't poised precariously between inspiration, empty rhetoric, and patriotism. Despite its dedication to Russian heroism in a battle that Shostakovich knew personally, major chunks were already written before the finished symphony became movingly associated with the terrible siege of Leningrad and its mass of starving victims.

For a decade and a half after its wartime premiere, Sym. #7 was relegated to obscurity in the West, with Leonard Bernstein almost a lone voice to defend it. But Petrenko treats the score seriously, even reverently. To be frank, unless the "Leningrad" is given an exceptional reading, such as the two that Bernstein recorded, its dross can't be turned into gold, and the egregious "Nazi march" deserves the lampoon that Bartok delivered in the Concerto for Orchestra. But if it is sometimes brass-plated junk, there are long stretches of the symphony, mostly the quiet, somber ones, that strike a sympathetic chord.

Unfortunately for Petrenko, he doesn't have a world-class orchestra at his disposal, and the Mariinsky Orch. in their recent release under Valery Gergiev soundly outplays the Royal Liverpool Phil., with better engineering giving the score an epic dimension and Gergiev himself applying more authority, which isn't to deprive Petrenko of many exciting moments.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacks lustre July 31, 2013
Format:Audio CD
This is my first full-length encounter with Petrenko's Shostakovich. The louder, more driven parts of the symphony are fairly effective, but the slower, quieter sections are very slow and extremely quiet, without enough rhythmic interest or emotional intensity to stop the music becoming soporific (also, in the 2nd movement the bassoon soloist is quieter than the orchestral accompaniment, which is an odd choice). Possibly Petrenko is reacting against the ferocity of his forebears, who were apt to overlook some opportunities for nuance; regardless, he's gone too far and failed to compensate.

Petrenko's timings are generally much longer than the Kondrashin and Yablonsky recordings which are my benchmarks, and tempos often felt to me like they were testing the limits of slowness. But as I said above, I don't think he does what he needs to to make the gentler parts interesting. Anyway, I'll give this recording a couple more listens, but at the moment am unable to give it a recommendation.

For reference:
Petrenko-- 28:36 12:57 18:38 19:01
Yablonsky- 25:49 11:25 18:05 19:57
Kondrashin 26:29 10:31 16:40 17:26
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible Modernity 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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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