Shostakovich: Symphonies, Vol 8: Symphony No 7 "Leningrad"

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DMITRY SHOSTAKOVICH
Shostakovich: Symphonies, Vol 8: Symphony No 7 "Leningrad"
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko

[ Naxos / CD ]

Release Date: Friday 5 July 2013

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"Is the Leningrad a pastoral symphony? Petrenko would like us to think so. Throughout the performance he looks for pockets of expressive intimacy quite as much as sheer excitement, although he is also capable of eruptive urgency." (Gramophone)

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.' Shostakovich's epic Seventh Symphony is a study in defiance and survival, written largely in the ruins of the besieged city in 1941. Its reputation has fluctuated over the years, with its immediate post war reputation largely low. But in recent years it has taken its rightful place in Shostakovich's symphonic canon. As one of the Twentieth Century's most recorded symphonists, the composer has been the subject of many recordings.

The award-winning Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra is the UK's oldest continuing professional symphony orchestra, dating from 1840. The dynamic young Russian, Vasily Petrenko was appointed Principal Conductor of the orchestra in September 2006 and in September 2009 became Chief Conductor.

"Petrenko draws our attention to how much of the Symphony is marked pianissimo. No one has rendered more hauntingly the hushed writing for bass clarinet and flutes...Fresh, beautifully phrased and vividly recorded - if with a touch of the cathedral about the acoustics - Petrenko's Symphony No. 7 clamours to be heard." (BBC Music Magazine Orchestral Choice - June 2013)

"Is the Leningrad a pastoral symphony? Petrenko would like us to think so. Throughout the performance he looks for pockets of expressive intimacy quite as much as sheer excitement, although he is also capable of eruptive urgency." (Gramophone)

"for sheer volume, Petrenko and his forces can stand up to anyone...[he] will keep you riveted from first note to last - and while the reading is never aggressively controversial, it does consistently reveal new aspects along the way. The orchestra plays brilliantly throughout, with superlative work from the soloists (special praise due to the first oboe)... A high point in an already exceptional cycle." (International Record Review)