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Symphonies Nos 5 & 9
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Shostakovich, D.: Symphonies, Vol. 2 - Symphonies Nos. 5 and 9
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The Russian revolution in Liverpool continues. There's a cliché for you, but there's nothing remotely hackneyed about Vasily Petrenko's Shostakovich. Here again is that string-led Soviet sound that he found in his recent Tchaikovsky disc and drama found through lyricism. -- Gramophone Editor's Choice , December 2009
Top Customer Reviews
I was in for a major disappointment. Virtually everything that was so right about the Eighth is wrong with the Fifth. To say that the tempo choices are eccentric would be an understatement. I am not going to join the great debate among musicologists and conductors about the proper tempi in the fourth movement other than to say that Petrenko slows the tempo to a crawl much earlier than in any other performance I have heard, and the effect is disconcerting.
Where the choice of abnormally slow tempi is most annoying is in the first movement. It is so slow at one point early on that a beautiful long melodic line completely loses its definition. The opening motif in the strings is curiously devoid of drama, nor does any dramatic tension develop as the movement progresses. In this first movement, Shostakovich masterfully manipulates the simplest thematic material into a tight, complex and convincing structure filled with tension, contrast and surprises. Petrenko renders the whole thing limp and shapeless. An unusually wide dynamic range doesn't help. This first movement is practically fool proof in its ability to engage the listener from beginning to end, but somehow Petrenko manages to make it boring. It doesn't get much better. The scherzo lacks bite, and the largo is devoid of all pathos or passion. If nothing else, the finale is "interesting"--judge it for yourself.Read more ›
Many years ago I had the good fortune to be present at an unforgetable rehersal of the symphony our National Radio Orchestra had with the no longer active (but still with us at the tender age of 97!) German conductor Kurt Sanderling, who was in the audience at its first performance back in 1937, and who knew the conditions of Stalin's Russia first hand having fled there from Nazi Germany the year before. His many instructions to the orchestra regarding the numerous instances of the music tapping directly into the oppressive every-day life during the purges of the mid-thirties was a wonderful insight into this awsome piece of music, and with so many of those hints present in Petrenko's version, I all but feel that he must have been there on that occasion as well. Especially the many life-like details in the Party day persiflage of the second movement are done to perfection, and the stumbling, pleading notes of the little violin solo - according to Sanderling the musical likeness of a little girl attempting to recite a short thank-you speech to Stalin while handing over a bouquet of flowers - is moving in the extreme. The Largo movement is rather slow (too slow, I'm sure many would say - but then again the tempo is Largo, so how could it be?!Read more ›
As it happens, I received this second volume right after watching Michael Tilson Thomas and San Francisco do the Shostakovich fifth in their new video-music series, Keeping Score. That media piece lays out a compelling vision of what the music captures, with lots of intermittent flash back contextualizing from Soviet history in general, and from the composer's life and work in particular. The MTT keys to this symphony are demonstrated to be quite apt. With that juxtaposition, it was a bit of shift to next spin the new Petrenko reading of the famous fifth symphony.
MTT makes much of the ta-da figure that many different composers have used to announce heroic motifs and attitudes in their music across different music history periods. Many readings open with the instant recognition of a forceful interval and oscillation in this famous string flourish. Petrenko?
Well, he down plays the flourish, alternatively, in favor of clear line, and perhaps already suggesting that - as we all know from the composer's life and the Stalinist era - not all is well. Given such touches of clarity and simultaneous unease, this opening call or gesture is less heroic and more palpably questioning? An association perhaps would be the "Muss es sein" motif.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You must buy this. You owe it to yourself to listen to this. Petrenko nails it. He resolves it. He makes sense of it. He makes it right. He did what should have been done. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Benjamin R. Garrison
Recently, I collected all eleven discs in Naxos’ 2009-2014 traversal of the Shostakovich symphonies with the exciting young Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko and the Liverpool... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Terrance Aldon Shaw
This release in Vasily Petrenko’s series of Dmitri Shostakovich symphonies is coming in for some criticism from Amazon reviewers and I want to state upfront that the criticism,... Read morePublished 11 months ago by jt52
Having heard many performances, live and recorded, of the 5th Symphony, I was thoroughly consumed with this performance. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Michael M. Keyton
Two things first: The sonic quality of this recording, like others in the series, is fabulous. Second, the 9th Symphony is exceptionally fleet, detailed, and full of humor. Read morePublished 17 months ago by KenOC
12-29-13 Vasily Petrenko continues his fine Shostakovich cycle with his most popular symphony, the d-minor 5th , Op. 47, written in between April and October of 1937. Read morePublished on December 29, 2013 by NUC MED TECH
I have 17 versions of this great piece and have had 4 others. He keeps his tempos very slow throughout, which is how I like this symp. played. But he is unable to draw the orch. Read morePublished on April 28, 2011 by hangingtreebird