Shostakovich: Symphony No 10 in E minor, Op 93

Reviewed on Tue 25 Jun, 2013

Vasily Petrenko presides over a masterly performance of one of the 20th century's greatest symphonies. Not only does he secure playing of stunning discipline and unstinting commitment from his excitingly rejuvenated Liverpool band, his interpretation possesses unswerving concentration, extraordinary organic power and hair-raising cumulative intensity. Rarely can the epic opening movement have unfolded with such massive inevitability, while the ensuing scherzo – staggeringly tight in ensemble – is, to put it bluntly, scary as hell. The third movement, too, is properly disquieting, its strutting climax fairly glowering with menace. Most remarkable of all is the finale, its ominously expectant introduction yielding to the frenzied high-jinks of the Allegro with its clinching return of the symphony's pervasive autobiographical motif containing the notes D, E flat, C and B (D-S-C-H). In sum, a wholly gripping experience, and arguably the most compelling instalment yet in this team's on-going Shostakovich symphony cycle for Naxos. Given the temptingly low price-tag, you'd be crazy not to investigate.
–Andrew Achenbach