Russian National Orchestra

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Shostakovich: Symphonies No. 5 and No. 9
Part of the RNO/PentaTone Shostakovich Cycle
Symphony No.5 in D minor, Op. 47
Symphony No.9 in E flat, Op. 70, for violin and orchestra
Yakov Kreizberg, conductor
Alexei Bruni, concertmaster
Pentatone SACD
Choc du monde de la Musique (May 2007)
Edison Award Nominee, 2008 (Holland)
PTC 5186 096 (2007)

Acclaim for Shostakovich: Symphonies No. 5 and No. 9

"Splendid readings... An integral part of the Pentatone series, in which the interpretive and sound quality are very high."

Scherzo (Spain) (January 2008)

"This recent release from Pentatone Classics can hold its head very high among competition. The Fifth Symphony...benefits greatly from the superb playing of the Russian National Orchestra. Spiky, arrogant woodwind and rich, firmly bowed strings characterise a performance of great orchestral colour. The percussion are never overdone, yet their presence is momentous and powerful; the brass excel. The recording quality here is flawless... the Ninth Symphony is given no less involving a reading, the dark, tragic irony of its CD companion swapped for a gleeful giddiness and cheeky warmth of expression. The outer movements are played with such snap and ingenuity that I laughed out loud on more than one occasion, yet the work's darker centre, found in the mysterious, deathly Moderato and the terrifying Largo, is equally strongly conveyed. This is, all in all, a very fine disc."

musicOMH.com (December 2007) [more]

"Kreizberg clearly feels that the emotional core of the [5th Symphony] is the Largo, but his approach is not at all heavy-handed. It is more of an elegiac lament characterized by transparent... string sonorities. The ending of the movement, with its remarkably blended harp-celesta notes, is stunning. [The] solo violin, harp, and celesta at the end of the [9th Symphony's] first movement are exquisite, and the harp solo just before the finale has never been more clearly realized. "

Fanfare (July 2007)

"Superbly played, Kreizberg's [Fifth Symphony] is yet the more integrated performance, as well as being less consciously 'classicizing' than Bernard Haitlink's and more involving in consequence... as the first choice for this coupling, Kreizberg's lucid performances will take some beating."

International Record Review (June 2007)

"Leading the Russian National Orchestra, Yakov Kreizberg offers an expressive and powerful vision of the Fifth Symphony. His lively, inspired conducting is a fitting homage to these indispensible works. A necessary recording. "

Opus haute définition (May 2007) [more]

"As with the other discs in this series, the accounts and recording are both superlative and must be considered amongst the top choices even in this popular pairing. The fifth symphony is given a most searing and intense account. I have never heard such a dramatic climax to the third movement allied with clear and precise playing – it is a wonderful but tragic moment that makes the heart ache with sorrow... The ninth symphony is given an astonishingly contrasted reading under Kreizberg’s baton... The recording is a model of its kind and has extended Pentatone’s heights to further elevations. The sound-stage is vast and is so-well balanced that even with such large forces, the walls of one’s own home vanish completely – no mean feat!"

SA-CD.net (May 2007) [more]

A Perfect 10/10
"These are two of the most brilliant and insightful Shostakovich performances to come along in quite a while, and that’s saying a lot given the excellence of the recent competition. Certainly if you’re looking for this coupling, which is becoming a popular one, this is the disc to have. Yakov Kreizberg’s account of the Fifth Symphony is simply the most grimly intense since Sanderling’s.... What makes this disc even more special is the fact that the Ninth Symphony is every bit as good....Throughout, the Russian National Orchestra plays with 100 percent conviction, and PentaTone’s sonics, whether in stereo or SACD surround, are extremely natural and well-balanced.... Do not miss this release."

Classics Today (April 2007) [more]

"Matches Bernstein's super-emotional recording, and in much-improved sonics and surround in the bargain. "

Audiophile Audition (April 2007)

From Russia With Drama [++++]
"The Russian National Orchestra, which is not even 20 years old, has vaulted into the forefront of the world’s great orchestras – as it amply demonstrates on its new SACD recording of Shostakovich symphonies. The playing is simply remarkable: no rhythmic or tempo change seems to hold any difficulty; attention to detail is outstanding; and every solo, however brief, is handled as if the player is performing a major concerto. "

Infodad.com (April 2007) [more]

"The sound of this disc will blow you away, this has such an awesome dynamic range that it will drive your system to its limits. And the realism is absolutely stunning. The performance is excellent.... the musicians of this splendid orchestra play like angels! "

SA-CD.net (March 2007)