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Symphony No. 8

Petrenko; Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra , Shostakovich Dmitry Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 10.01 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Symphony No. 8 + Symphonies Nos. 5 & 9
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Product Description

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

Product Description

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra - Vasily Petrenko, direction

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A youthful, insightful and exuberant Shostakovich 8th July 12 2010
By Leonard Bogat - Published on Amazon.com
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.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very Mravinsky-like in terms of structure and shape June 11 2010
By B. Guerrero - Published on Amazon.com
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.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A searing performance! July 13 2010
By David N. Loesch - Published on Amazon.com
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.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Petrenko, Liverpool: Shostakovich Sym 8: An outstanding reading ... vivid colors, drama, tension, nearly inerrant pacing? May 29 2010
By drdanfee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
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. The concluding Largo is chilling, consonant, and impersonal enough - we survivors do not yet comprehend very much of all that it means and can mean, to have survived.

Nary a cheap shot moment, then, across all the movements of this odd and remarkable modern symphony. Petrenko as guest conductor has been taking his reading of the eighth on the road, with spectacular concert reviews published in Baltimore, San Francisco, and by now, probably elsewhere. Fortunately, if you missed one of these outings with the eighth symphony, you still have this new disc, the third so far released by Naxos in an ongoing cycle.

If Petrenko and Liverpool can keep this sort of high quality Shostakovich up, they might just achieve one of the most compelling and consistently well-played complete sets. Okay, then, grab this one as soon as possible. The disc really ought to be nominated for something.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Petrenko revises Shostakovich, to compelling effect Sept. 8 2010
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The boyish-looking Vasily Petrenko has a mature musical gift and astonishing command over the Royal Liverpool orchestra, already a fine ensemble that is now more coherent than ever. Having heard Petrenko in concert, I've been a bit disappointed at times with his revisionist Shostakovich, which seems too underplayed and over thought. No doubt when you grow up with Shostakovich as a steady diet, the new generation of Russian conductors wants to offer some new angles. In this new Eighth Sym., Petrenko takes a risk from the first bars by avoiding the massive monolithic style that made the versions by Soviet conductors, especially Mravinsky, so compelling. Compared to their heroic gloom, Petrenko's starts out in discreet melancholy, almost privately. His beautiful phrasing saves him from understatement; he tries to mesmerize us by spinning a continuous line that extends forever without a visible break. Solti had much the same idea, and in both cases it feels like a more breathable, less oppressive way.

As he feels each sinuous turn of events in this long movement, Petrenko succeeds in proving that his intuitions are deep, but I do think that the listener needs to be quite familiar with the Eighth already. Otherwise, the effect overall could be too pallid, like remembered tragedy rather than immediate tragedy. (The recording medium also loses a good deal of the remarkable intensity one hears form this orchestra when Petrenko is in full command. Some might sorely miss the crushing virtuosity of the Chicago Sym. in this music when Solti reaches the most devastating climaxes.) The two central scherzos are the easiest movements in the whole symphony, and I think Petrenko was wise to lighten them up and remove some of their bite compared to Mravinsky and Kondrashin. He adds an alert, mercurial quality that makes its effect with the point of a knife rather than a bludgeon. The faster than usual tempos are heady, especially in the runaway carnival ride of the second Scherzo.

The mystery of the Eighth doesn't fully arrive until the Largo and finale, where Shostakovich reassembles some of his earlier material but in fragmented, hopeless form, as if music-making can be only the most transitory refuge form ruin. No other composer with the exception of Mahler achieves such a strange but exciting ambivalence toward humor, violence, and hope. But Shostakovich is more enervated than Mahler, no doubt because real terror, of the sort imposed by Stalin, is so exhausting. The banality woven into these last two movements alternates with eerie jitters that salvage tedium through intermittent shocks and lonely musing.

It's in this music and some of the preceding parts of the Scherzos that the revisionist in Petrenko justifies his instincts. What are we to do with Shostakovich's soul after it burns to ashes before our eyes? What feeling emerges after boredom and numbness take their toll? Petrenko has good ideas about both issues, and although one cannot deny the terrifying glories of Mravinsky, this is utterly compelling in a new way.

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