Shostakovich: Symphonies No 6 & 12 / Petrenko, Royal Liverpool PO
The Twelfth is not Shostakovich's best symphony, but it's not as bad as its detractors would have us believe. The first two movements in particular are effectively structured and, respectively, cinematically exciting and quite atmospheric. The finale, especially its coda, is so telling an example of Socialist Realist triumph that it can only be accepted as a parody; and played without apology, as here, it works very well. Indeed, Vasily Petrenko leads a first movement that beats just about everyone in terms of sheer excitement, and the same holds true of the transitional third movement, "Aurora". As for that problematic finale, it has an appealing lightness (before the coda) that avoids any impression of facile note-spinning. If you don't like this symphony, give this performance a shot. It may change your mind.
The Sixth is far less troublesome, but Petrenko's vision is no less probing. At nearly 20 minutes the first movement is very slow, but wholly gripping. Petrenko takes the scherzo dazzlingly fast, but paces the finale moderately to give it the necessary weight (without sacrificing the music's irony and wit). Through it all the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic plays splendidly, and is excellently recorded. This Shostakovich series is shaping up as one of the best, make no mistake.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Catalog Number: 8572658
Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor: Vasily Petrenko
Orchestra/Ensemble: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra