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Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3 / Petrenko

Album Summary

>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Symphony no 1 in F minor, Op. 10
>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Symphony no 3 in E flat major (The First of May), Op. 20
Conductor Ensemble
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Notes & Reviews:

Shostakovich's First Symphony propelled the teenage composer to international prominence, its emotional range and innovative orchestration marking him as a daring and precocious talent on the scene. The Third Symphony, 'The First of May', originally intended as part of a symphonic cycle inspired by dates on the revolutionary calendar, has been described as "a reckless and at times chaotic accommodation between modernist intent and revolutionary [fervor]." ClassicsToday proclaimed the Naxos recording of Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony (8572461) "thrilling, perfect, essential... the modern reference recording."

"Even more than on their previous Shostakovich discs, the playing is fabulously crisp and committed, while the interpretations combine atmosphere and a sense of proportion - much to the benefit of the youthful First, which receives an eerily effective performance, free of exaggeration." Financial Times, 19th February 2011 *****

"How good to be reminded by this fine addition to Vasily Petrenko and the Liverpool Philharmonic's lauded Shostakovich cycle of just what an achievement the First Symphony really was...Both symphonies are given fabulously vibrant - and beautifully recorded - performances here." Sunday Times, 6th March 2011 ****

"This series... is developing into something really special. These RLPO Shostakovich recordings withstand comparisons with some of the greatest performances on disc." Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times

MusicWeb International
Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpudlians give us as fine a performance... The conducting is thoughtful... The chorus is excellent, with good body and diction. The orchestra sparkles... All the instrumental soloists here do an excellent job... this is another excellent disc in Petrenko's impressive undertaking.

Positive Feedback Online
Volumes 5 and 6 of an ongoing series of the composer's symphonies that is likely to be the definitive one when complete.

... Vasily Petrenko's exceptional Shostakovich cycle is especially valuable for its illumination of the First Symphony, an interpretation that - as well as any I know - celebrates the music's violations of musical decorum: its timbral awkwardness, its structural transgressions, and its whiplash emotional trajectory. It's coupled with an equally compelling reading of the even more radical Third.

MusicWeb International
The recorded sound in both performances is very good. As I've already indicated, both pieces are very well played and they're also nicely illuminated in the booklet note, which is extremely important in the case of the unfamiliar Third. This is another impressive instalment in Vasily Petrenko's Shostakovich cycle.

This would be an impressive work from a composer of any age...

Petrenko and Liverpool have turned me around on numbers 1 and 3. I haven't heard their other discs, but you can bet I will. I simply haven't heard such command over Shostakovich's musical narration. The sound is excellent. On the basis of this single disc, I believe we have what may become the great Shostakovich recorded symphonic cycle.

American Record Guide
I'm glad this review has forced me to reconsider the Third - seeds were planted here that bore fruit later. Petrenko draws some thrilling sounds from the orchestra; he must have communicated the seriousness of this piece to them, because they go all-out. The sound is huge leading into the climax before the low growls, and there's not a single bad note (there is a jarring out-of-tune brass note shortly after that). The choir sings well, too, if the part-writing isn't complex. I'm happy to keep this recording for the Third Symphony.

Classic FM
This latest instalment in Petrenko's Shostakovich cycle with the RLPO more than maintains the superb standard they've set already. The quality on offer in the First Symphony is outstanding

Sound is excellent, with good resonance that doesn't overwhelm, and excellent balance between soloists and sections.

Film Music: The Neglected Art
Both the EMI (5 55361 2) and the Naxos (8.572396) are good digital recordings, offering excellent treble, bass and a good feeling of presence. The nod goes to Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic as he is continuing his cycle of recording the Shostakovich symphonies. It is coupled with his third symphony... Naxos is always a staple in the industry for value and performance. Recommended

My Classical Notes
This CD gives us both of these symphonies, and it allows us to study these works further, particularly the 3rd, which is rarely performed.

The single-movement Third Symphony, subtitled 'On 1 May 'is actually divided into two parts: of the six parts of which five are entirely held in the experimental style, the Shostakovich was then owned and was conditioned by storylines. The last movement is a choral piece to a revolutionspropagandistischen text that hangs like an appendix to the work, really disjointed and not stylistically in his solemn passion connected with the rest. Petrenko does not care, and he gives the whole drama and maximum efficiency. The zeal of his orchestra is as remarkable as the technical quality of play.

Audio Video Club of Atlanta
The First Symphony (1924 - 25) was Shostakovich's graduation-piece at the Leningrad Conservatory. It is astonishingly mature for the 19 year old composer, being his most regularly classical symphony, though the sonata form he employs says nothing about the emotional range of the music. The form may be conventional, but not the content. The way the opening movement begins, with a lazy theme on solo trumpet and bassoon which is taken over by the woodwind section, then passed on the clarinet and strings in almost balletic fashion before erupting in the first of a number of climaxes that will characterize this work, continually puts the listener on the edge of expectation. Here, the music is breathtakingly executed by the RLPO, whose professional prowess is put to the test all through this work.

MusicWeb International, January 2012
Petrenko and the Royal Liverpudlians give us as fine a performance of the Third as we are likely to hear, and if they can't make something more loveable from this symphony, it's not their fault. The conducting is thoughtful, but with the salt of spontaneity. The chorus is excellent, with good body and diction. The orchestra sparkles.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, England.


Splendid Dynamics! What an Excellent Performance!
This album was really excellent! Such a brilliant production. I especially loved the rise and falls of both the dynamics, the tempo and the overall emotion of the pieces. I highly recommend this album.
Submitted on 04/20/11 by SRA 
More superb Shostakovich from Petrenko
The Naxos series of Shostakovich symphonies with Vasily Petrenko conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic goes from strength to strength. I was mightily impressed with the most recent releases, symphonies 8 and 10. The First Symphony is an amazing achievement for a teenager, but we're down a level in terms of the composer's inspiration from those great, mature works, and then down another level in the Third, an experiment which doesn't quite come together. But Petrenko and his Liverpool orchestral and choral musicians make the best possible case for both works. And both are certainly worth the time to listen to, and listen closely. The musicians are ably supported, as usual, by the Naxos production team. The Shostakovich symphonies are one of the 20th century's great artistic accomplishments. Vasily Petrenko and Naxos may be this century's best guide to the series.
Submitted on 06/15/11 by Dean Frey 
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Works Details

>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Symphony no 1 in F minor, Op. 10
  • Conductor: Vasily Petrenko
  • Notes: Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, England (07/28/2009/07/29/2009)
  • Running Time: 33 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1923-1925

>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Symphony no 3 in E flat major (The First of May), Op. 20
  • Conductor: Vasily Petrenko
  • Notes: Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, England (06/22/2010/06/23/2010)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1929