Shostakovich’s Fourteenth, more song-cycle than symphony, is not for the faint-hearted. A sequence of 11 settings of Lorca, Apollinaire, Wilhelm Küchelbecker and Rilke, it is overwhelmingly dark, introspective and acerbically death-obsessed.
But, in a performance as taut and unsparing as this, it has a power that transcends its nihilism. The bass, Alexander Vinogradov, is outstanding, and soprano Gal James also impresses with her mix of artlessness and allure.
All in all, a valuable addition to Petrenko’s already impressive Shostakovich cycle with his Liverpool orchestra.
Symphony No 14
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko