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.