Blistering Shostakovich from Vasily Petrenko and the London Philharmonic

Rachmaninov/ Shostakovich: LPO/Jurowski ****

Royal Festival Hall, 13th February 2015

Vasily Petrenko © Mark McNulty

Vasily Petrenko
© Mark McNulty

Blistering Shostakovich crushed Rachmaninov in this uneven pairing, the London Philharmonic’s latest exploration into “Rachmaninoff: Inside out”. Self-imposed exile after the Russian Revolution saw Rachmaninov settle in the United States, where the Fourth Piano Concerto was his first composition (apart from a few piano transcriptions) since leaving his homeland. Shostakovich remained, but hid his Fourth Symphony away for years, withdrawn before publication after Stalin denounced the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. It wasn’t heard until 1961, during a brief cultural thaw eight years after Stalin’s death. The symphony’s coruscating power rather left Rachmaninov trailing in its wake.

Read the full review on Bachtrack.

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