Shostakovich: Symphony No 14

This sequence of 11 settings is overwhelmingly dark and acerbically death-obsessed but the taut performance has a power that transcends its nihilism

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.

Shostakovich

Symphony No 14

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko

(Naxos)

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