Je prédis l'effondrement depuis plus de cinq ans. Ma prédiction est que les États-Unis s'effondreront financièrement, économiquement et politiquement dans l'avenir prévisible…
The good news is this recording of Shostakovich's Eleventh Symphony is in the same class as the best ever made. The even better news is it's the start of a projected series of recordings of all the Soviet master's symphonies. Vasily Petrenko has demonstrated before this disc that he is among the most talented of young Russian conductors with superb recordings of Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony and of selected ballet suites. But neither of those recordings can compare with this Eleventh. Paired as before with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Petrenko turns in a full-scale riot of a performance that is yet tightly controlled and cogently argued. Said to depict the failed revolution of 1905, Shostakovich's Eleventh is not often treated with the respect it deserves, except, of course, by Yevgeny Mravinsky, the greatest of Shostakovich conductors whose two accounts have been deemed the most searing on record. Until now: Petrenko respects the composer's score and his intentions by unleashing a performance of staggering immediacy and violence, a virtuoso performance of immense drama, enormous tragedy, and overwhelming power.
This disc is the first ever to offer the complete Shostakovich score to the 1964 Grigori Kozintsev film Hamlet. Actually, it contains a bit more: track 6 for example, "The Ball," presents music not heard in the film, music the composer wrote apparently because he wanted to reach a logical ending, even if in the film the music just fades away. There are 23 numbers in all, with a total timing of over 62 minutes. Stylistically, the music is related to the Eleventh (1957) and Thirteenth (1962) symphonies, but is of course less developmental and more programmatic, coming across as a sort of tone poem made up of many short movements. While there is a fair amount of bright, even happy music in the score, the mood is generally dark and intense, appropriately so considering the subject matter: Shakespeare's Hamlet is, after all, hardly a comedy. The music doesn't skim surfaces, either – it haunts, it sasses, it laughs, and it plumbs the depths.
This performance goes right to the top. Not since the amazing mono Ancerl recording has there been a version of this work of such intensity, such expressive urgency, and (yes, believe it or not) such incredible orchestral playing. It’s impossible to praise the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic enough: they put their London colleagues to shame. The cellos and basses have a dark, tactile presence in pianissimo not heard since the old Kondrashin Melodiya recording. The horns play the daylights out of their solos in the first and third movements, while Petrenko has the violins sustaining, articulating, and phrasing the climax of the first movement with a passion and grit that’s beyond praise. Indeed, as an essay in Shostakovich conducting alone this performance deserves an honored place in every collection. Petrenko has the players digging into the second movement with unbridled ferocity at an ideally swift tempo.