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  • Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8 ~ Petrenko
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Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8 ~ Petrenko


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Audio CD, May 25, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A third of a century after his death the symphonies of Dmitry Shostakovich have moved to the absolute centre of the repertoire. Written during World War II, the unusually constructed Eighth Symphony is a powerful work built on striking contrasts betwee

Review

"...My first encounter with Vasily Petrenko's Shostakovich cycle has proved to be a rewarding experience. It seems to me that he really has the measure of this epic work and he's conveyed his vision to the orchestra who reward him with consistently top quality playing. The recorded sound is very good, as is the documentation, including an evocative photograph on the booklet cover, showing the composer at work on this very symphony in 1943. This powerful, stirring performance would be a leading library contender at full price. At the Naxos price its claims on collectors' attentions are even greater. I eagerly await further instalments in this cycle, especially the Fourth and Tenth symphonies." -- Music Web International - John Quinn

The Eighth Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was composed in the summer of 1943 as Soviet forces turned the tide of war with their decisive victory at the Battle of Kursk. Though it is less well-know than its much-hyped predecessor, the garish "Leningrad" Symphony, it is in all respects a far superior work. The epic five-movement structure of the Eighth is balanced on a pair of memorable Scherzo movements that move from biting sarcasm to sheer terror, flanked by a poignant 25-minute opening movement and a finale terminating in an atmosphere of serene resignation. The ambiguous, highly personal language of the work was criticized for its dearth of overt patriotism and was poorly received. Christened the "Stalingrad" Symphony by Soviet propagandists, performances of the work were officially banned in 1948 and the work was not heard again in Russia until 1956.

This superb Naxos disc marks the third installment of a very promising series of Shostakovich symphonies conducted by Vasily Petrenko with the Liverpool Philharmonic. Though a mere 34 years old, the Russian maestro clearly has the Liverpool ensemble in his thrall. With his uncanny knack for drawing together the disparate elements of Shostakovich's prolix language into a coherent argument and an equally fine ear for subtle interpretive details, Petrenko makes a very strong impression indeed. The recording is bright and spacious, the performance is excellent, and the price can't be beat. -- The Whole Note, Daniel Foley


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Symphony No. 8 in C minor, Op. 65: I. Adagio - Allegro non troppoRoyal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra25:12Album Only
listen  2. Symphony No. 8 in C minor, Op. 65: II. AllegrettoRoyal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 5:55$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Symphony No. 8 in C minor, Op. 65: III. Allegro non troppoRoyal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 6:12$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Symphony No. 8 in C minor, Op. 65: IV. LargoRoyal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 9:34Album Only
listen  5. Symphony No. 8 in C minor, Op. 65: V. AllegrettoRoyal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra14:47Album Only

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Vasily Petrenko
  • Composer: Dmitry Shostakovich
  • Audio CD (May 25, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B003DQWPEM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,654 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
91%
4 star
0%
3 star
9%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 11 customer reviews
Petrenko captures the angst, the hysteria, the tragedy, and the hope of this war inspired music brilliantly.
Leni Bogat
This disc, very well recorded in 2009, is an impressive follow-on to Petrenko's earlier symphony 11 which garnered considerable critical acclaim.
I. Giles
Resuming with the 3rd movemnt, the music opens in a similar manner in which it just ended in the Allegretto.
NUC MED TECH

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Leni Bogat on July 12, 2010
Format: Audio CD
A youthful, insightful and exuberant Shostakovich 8th

Shostakovich is a giant of a composer, arguably the greatest composer of the 20th century, certainly one of them. When one considers that his entire creative life was spent under the crushing oppression of the Soviet system, his achievements are doubly impressive.

The 8th Symphony is a magnificent, intensely dramatic work composed during World War II. Why this work is rarely to be found on concert programs in lieu of yet another performance of the Beethoven or Brahms symphonies is incomprehensible to me. Yes, it is a bit more difficult to program a 62 minute work, but as in the case of Mahler's great symphonies, it can be done.

This NAXOS CD with Vasily Petrenko conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra is, in a word, outstanding. Petrenko captures the angst, the hysteria, the tragedy, and the hope of this war inspired music brilliantly. And the orchestra is more than up to the task.

Whether you are new to the Shostakovich 8th Symphony or you already have this symphony in your collection, this modestly priced CD is a must. It is a first rate performance of a great work.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 11, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Shostakovich's greatest war period symphony has been lucky on disc clear since its premiere recording, given by Yevgeny Mravinsky decades ago. From those earlier years, Kondrashin and Svetlanov have given better than serviceable accounts as well. Recent additions from Andrew Litton (Dallas Symphony/Delos) and Mariss Jansons (Pittsburgh S.O./EMI) have exploited the sonic potentials of the work. All this brings forward to this latest contender from Vasily Petrenko.

I won't go as far as to say that Petrenko is a throw-back to Mravinsky, but he does imbibe the piece with the same strong emphasis on structure and form that was very much the hallmark of the great Russian maestro. As Dave Hurwitz from Classicstoday put it, Shostakovich symphonies can often times sound like a series of, quote, "hair-raising climaxes interspersed between acres of nothingness". That doesn't happen here. But that's not all: Petrenko acquires the same sort of tangy, appropriately Russian flavor from his Liverpool woodwind section, as well as a heavy yet intense vibrato from his strings where appropriate (Norrington, this ain't). Even the almost Mariachi-like trumpet solos in the Tocatta (third movement) sound as though they're played on old-fashion Bb trumpets, instead of the slimline sounding C trumpets that are so much in favor these days. Perhaps perception is everything. Regardless, the results are marvelous and thoroughly idiomatic. Even amongst a crowded discography, this one pushes its way towards the front. Given Naxos' bargain basement prices, it's pretty much a steal.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Wolf on November 23, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Milky Way of five-star reviews here is testimony to the success of the promotional campaign Naxos mounted for its replacement Shostakovich symphonies set, using a relatively inexperienced conductor and a less-than-world-class orchestra. Endorsed by British music scholar David Fanning as being "a natural Englishman" for his conducting of music by British composers, the Leningrad-born Vasily Petrenko was named Young Artist of the Year in the 2007 Classic FM Gramophone Awards (the British version of the American Grammy awards), and his first recording -- Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony by Naxos with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra -- was singled out as the 2009 orchestral recording of the year by Gramophone, the eminent British publication.

The first release in Petrenko's Shostakovich cycle, the 11th, received mixed responses. The second -- the Fifth and Ninth -- was so bland I gave away my copy. Some critics called it "limp and unconvincing" and "overly cautious." The Eighth was the third to be issued, and judging by these reviews, Petrenko and the Liverpool orchestra improved enormously. My ears tell me differently.

One reviewer describes Petrenko's opening as "discreet," praising him for being innovative. What I hear, after a 12-second silent runoff, is a willful misreading of the score -- being different merely for the sake of being different. If you set your sound controls thinking the opening chord is fortissimo as Shostakovich indicates, you'll have a hard time hearing the pianissimo 10 bars later at rehearsal No. 1. Petrenko starts closer to mezzo-forte, a change for which I discern no justification.

In this first movement -- and throughout the recording -- the strings sound thin, undernourished.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David N. Loesch on July 13, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A beautifully paced and emotionally harrowing performance. The orchestra performs magnificently and the recording quality is exemplary. Balances are near perfect and orchestral details emerge as never before. Petrenko does full justice to one of Shostakovich's true masterpieces. At a bargain price, this recording goes right to the head of the class.
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The old, former Naxos series of Shostakovich symphonies had Ladislav Slovak as their experienced, knowledge-able conductor. His readings were engaged and serious, hampered perhaps only by relying on a less than first-rate regional band?

Now Naxos looks to be radically enhancing their catalog via an ongoing Shostakovich symphony cycle from no less than rising Russian star conductor, Vasily Petrenko, and his Liverpool band. The previously released fifth, ninth, and eleventh symphonies were plenty treasure in their way, and the current eighth symphony keeps all the composer's banners flying high.

A compelling chemistry seems operative, among the composer, the band, and the conductor. To tell the truth, I wouldn't have necessarily predicted that the next alluring round of a complete Shostakovich symphony set would arrive from Liverpool. But Petrenko has them playing as well as many competitors in these works, and the inspiration is hot, palpable. Each instrumental department is very strong, with the strings showing an intense discipline and precision. The recording venue is the band's home hall in Liverpool, and so far it is also serving the music well.

Petrenko and company do very nicely at melding and balancing the narrative core strength of the composer's characteristic musical voice with its subterranean codes, obscurities, tortures, mysteries. Lights and dark darks are deftly contrasted and integrated. The threads of manic-crazy despair are not slighted, though lament also rings out, true. Those infamous middle fast movements have more than enough brutality to go round, and then some. In the midst of bludgeoning tyranny, forward motion still carries us into some kind of somewhere else where hope is not quite yet, completely and finally extinguished.
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